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Why Nigeria is bleeding – Defence Minister



Why Nigeria is bleeding - Defence Minister

Minister of Defence, Major-Gen. Bashir Magashi, retd, said on Thursday, Nigeria is currently bleeding., following the state of insecurity in the country.

Addressing State House correspondents at the presidential ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the minister also said government is compiling a comprehensive list of identified enemies of the country, although he refused to make clarifications on those on the list.

He said while incidents of domestic terrorism had reduced due to measures put in place by government, other problems arising from intolerance had heightened.

He cited the emergence of herders/farmers clashes, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB issues, banditry, among others, who he said see violence as a legitimate alternative.

He also confirmed that some individuals who fund Boko Haram had been arrested, particularly in Kano State, adding that some of them had contacted him for his intervention but he turned down their request, insisting that due process had to be followed.

Magashi said the military will not be deterred but will focus on eliminating all perceived threats and expressed the hope that this objective could be achieved with the deployment of new military assets that would soon arrive.

With the myriad of problems facing the country, the Defence minister said: “Make no mistake about it, our nation is bleeding now. It is bleeding because of the self-interest and other primordial considerations underlying decisions, which quite a number of our elite; political, ethnic and religious, make so.

“Such elites are quick to attribute blames to groups other than theirs. The whole idea is to exploit the social division for their political gains and it is because of this divisiveness that Nigeria lacks a national consensus or common comprehensive understanding and the interpretation of what national security is.

“Example is Boko Haram, farmers/herders clashes, IPOB and other political associations that are coming up with different mandates and concerns. All these can encourage groups to seek violence as a legitimate alternative.

“From here emerges a narrow vision of national identity and vision which threatens our country’s prospects of social cohesion and stability.

“This is why we are seeing the rise of self-help syndrome, often endorsed by states and local elites seeking violence as a legitimate alternative.

“The rise in vigilantism and identity-based militia, who claim to be working for the political and ethno-religious emancipation of their people, a.k.a resource control, secession and regional self-determination, define the potent threats to national security in our country.

“I would have loved to make a few comments because I will soon be addressing a press conference by three ministers; Minister of Police Affairs, Internal Affairs and myself.

“We have made a comprehensive brief as far as the security of this country is concerned and the methods we want to use in ensuring that we strategically and tactically get rid of all enemies of this country, be it religious enemies, ethnic enemies and all the political enemies of this country.
‘We’ve taken position on insecurity’

“We have made a comprehensive report or research on that and we have taken our position, which I don’t want to preempt here, but certainly we are coming back with that.

“What is important is that we are just trying to inform you of our impression and our concern as far as the security of this country is concerned.

“The latest is the burning of our soldiers, brutal murder of about 11 soldiers and one officer and the military is not taking kindly to that, let me just tell you this. I have been to Benue State Government, I have seen the governor and we have told him the blatant truth about the position of the military in this country.

“Whoever touches the military has no regard for this country and this country is governed by the rule of law and we have accepted democracy as a solution to the liberty of individuals in this country.

“We have been very firm, we have succeeded in reiterating to them what we actually want and we have got some answers that the weapons that were captured from the soldiers have been retrieved, at least we have nine of them out of 12 and the perpetrators have been captured and taken to the police for proper interrogation and subsequent prosecution.”

On killing of bandits

The Defence minister also commented on the killing of all bandits as had been proposed by Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.

Asked whether he shared the same sentiment with the Kaduna governor on killing any bandits wherever they were sighted, he said: “I don’t share that opinion. With my little experience as a lawyer for 37 years, I think I know the rule of law. I know how decisions are taken. Everybody is innocent till he’s found guilty.

“We’ll try to administer justice to all of them, but where we catch them with weapons, somebody trying to kill you, what do you do? Will you allow him to kill you before you make complaint? That area we will not compromise, anybody we pick using arms, we’ll deal with.

“If he fires one round, we’ll fire artillery weapons, lethal, so it can destroy the whole radius, not only himself, even his farm should be exterminated.”

Nigeria badly hit by Deby’s death
The minister said the Federal Government is beefing up security in the country, especially the border areas because of the political crisis in Chad.

He said: “When we heard of this unfortunate killing of the Chadian President, we knew problem was bound to be created among neighbouring countries and Nigeria will be most hit by his absence. If there is insecurity in Chad, there will be problem.

“But thank God, a lot of military activities with the Chad, Niger, Cameroon, are in progress, so, in the name of Multi-National Joint Task Force, all these countries, including Chad, are contributing for the operation.

“What we hope is that very soon, we will find a secure situation for the continuation of this thing. We are beefing up security in our borders to ensure that no bandit comes into Nigeria after the killing of Chad President. All we have prayed is that African countries will find a solution to the problem of Chad.

“The problem of Chad is now going to be aggravated because we are not sure of the direction the country is going to face but I assure you that we are mindful of our borders, and we are mindful of the development, and politically, the government is putting its heads together to see how best it can restore peace in that country.


Ban foreign football matches so that Nigerians can watch their League – Shehu Sani to FG



Ban foreign football matches so that Nigerians can watch their League – Shehu Sani to FG

The former Senator who represented Kaduna Central at the 8th Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani has lamented that Nigerians are not showing interest in the Nation’s football league.

He observed that last week’s match between Kano Pillars and Enyimba FC was not discussed by Nigerians. He said neither the people in Kano nor those in Abia showed interest in that match but if it were to be an English Premiership or European Football matches, countless Nigerians would have been interested.

The former senator suggested banning of foreign football match broadcast so that Nigerians can start watching the local teams.

“Yesterday, Kano Pillars defeated Enyimba FC by 2:1 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium kaduna; neither the people of Kano nor those of Abia showed any interest in the match. If it were English or European Football matches, the madness could have been immeasurable. What about banning the broadcast of foreign football matches so that we can all be patriots and watch our local teams”, Shehu Sani said.

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Insecurity: Time running out on Nigeria – Onaiyekan warns



Insecurity: Time running out on Nigeria - Onaiyekan warns

Some Nigerian leaders of thought have urged urgent action to address the country’s present challenges and stave off impending doom, saying it is no longer a time to just complain and do nothing.

The leaders who came under the Nigerian Inter-Faith Initiative for Peace (IIP), under its Tripartite Consultation (TC), called for reconciliation, peace and national cohesion for a prosperous nation under God.

The group made the call during the TC joint consultation meeting on the “State of the Nation” in Abuja, Wednesday  June 9.

The convener of the meeting, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said that as heavy clouds of impending tempest hang over the nation, people should not just sit back and complain.

“Nigerians cannot just sit back, complaining or merely waiting for the worst to happen. Many are thinking aloud, speaking out clearly, discussing and dialoguing to seek a way out of our impasses quickly.

“This tripartite consultation is one of such many voluntary fora for positive conversations on the state of the nation.

“We must find our way back as a country from the brink of chaos and look forward to reconciliation, peace and national cohesion, for a prosperous nation under God,” he said.

According to the Archbishop of Emeritus of Abuja, the state of the nation calls for major concern as the challenges facing the country were many, serious and well known to all.

Cardinal Onaiyekan noted that Nigerians were talking, often complaining and, at times, even threatening to quit a dysfunctional state in which they had lost all trust and faith.

He said that in the midst of the voices, the government should come out with a clear position and explanation why certain things that ought not to happen were happening in a modern and civilised state.

The clergyman also said that the National Assembly, which is the institutional forum for fruitful dialogue and conversation, should try to live up to expectation.

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I alone can’t guarantee security in Imo, says Uzodimma



I alone can't guarantee security in Imo, says Uzodimma

The Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, has declared that he cannot guarantee security in the state if left alone.

After meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Uzodimma told newsmen that stakeholders, including traditional, religious and political leaders, must engage more with the people to restore normalcy in the beleaguered state.

According to him, former political office holders, who fail to speak against the activities of trouble-makers, have questions to answer.

“If they speak out against the unwholesome activities of those destabilising the country, things would be different,” he said, adding that he was at the Villa to brief the President on the situation in the state.

While acknowledging that all is not well with the country, the governor warned that those destroying government property must be ready to face the consequences.

Although insecurity is prevalent everywhere in Nigeria, the authorities in Imo were doing their best to tackle the situation, he stated.

“So far, the situation is relatively okay in Imo State than it was. People can come around and do business. Normal life has resumed in the state. Security agencies are on top of the situation,” he said.

The governor dismissed the allegation that his recent utterances foreclosing dialogue were part of the problems fuelling the seemingly hopeless situation in the state.

His words: “That is their thinking. I don’t know the kind of utterance that I have made that suggests that I closed the door. If you have monitored what is going on in Imo of late, you would have seen me receiving leadership by leadership according to the local council, trying to find a common way of resolving these security challenges in the state.

“It is not only Imo that has security challenges. In fact, I can even tell you that Imo’s case is better, apart from one or two cases that involved Very Important Personalities (VIPs). There has never been a time 20 persons died simultaneously or school children were kidnapped, and all that.”

On why it was difficult for him to mention names of politicians behind the insecurity in the state and get them arrested, he said: “It is not only in Imo; I didn’t limit it to Imo. I am saying, and I want to say it again, that cases of insecurity here and there in the country have not been helped by the posture of the opposition party and some aggrieved politicians.”

According to him, anybody worth his onion as a leader should be able to speak out.

“How many of them are speaking out? How many of them are condemning what is going on? Rather, what you see are leaders fanning the embers of insecurity, blaming the only government.”

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