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Elections: Media reports on NAF deployment misleading – official

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Media

by Doris Esa

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says a media organisation’s headline on its operational deployments for the March 9 governorship and State House of Assembly elections was misleading.

NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, made the disclosure in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

He said the headline “Air Force: Fighter Jets, Attack Helicopters on Standby Against Election Violence” on the front page of a national newspaper was misleading and misrepresented facts about the NAF operational deployments for the governorship elections.

“The headline was not only misleading but a misrepresentation of the facts about the NAF operational deployments for the 2019 Gubernatorial Elections.”

According to him, NAF on March 6, issued a statement on its plans to support the Nigeria Police in ensuring peaceful conduct of the forthcoming Governorshio and States’ House of Assembly Elections on March 9.

“The statement highlighted that the CAS directed AOCs and field commanders to ensure safety of lives and properties in their various locations in addition to the deployment of NAF aircraft, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.

“The NAF ISR platforms and light utility helicopters are deployed to provide surveillance over potential flash points across the country to ensure peaceful conduct of elections.

“For instance, today, March 8, 2019, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE carried out an air interdiction mission against a terrorists’ hideout on the fringes of Lake Chad in Northern part of Borno State,” Daramola said.

He said that NAF, as a professional fighting force, would continue to operate within the ambit of its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the country and protecting the rights and liberties of all Nigerians.

The statement urged all eligible voters to come out to vote for the candidates of their choice as their security was assured.

Defence/Security

Nigerian Army decorates 23 new generals

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday, decorated the newly promoted Major Generals and Brigadier Generals with their new ranks.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the decorated generals comprising one major general and 22 brigadier generals are among the recently promoted officers by the army authorities.

About 34 brigadier generals and 47 colonels were recently promoted to the next rank of major general and brigadier general respectively.

While congratulating the newly decorated generals, Buratai urged them to remain responsive in the discharge of the constitutional duties.

He said that the new ranks had placed the officers in position to take higher responsibilities, adding that they must be responsive to their troops as well as the training needs of their units.

Buratai also urged them to remain steadfast for the tasks ahead of them, advising them to see their promotion as call to more service.

“You must remain responsive to your duties, responsive to your troops, responsive to the training needs of your units,” he said.

The Chief of Defence Intelligence, AVM Mohammed Usman, told the newly promoted generals to see their new ranks as gift from God.

Usman urged them to continue to uphold the constitution in the discharge of their duties, adding that new ranks comes with additional responsibilities.

“I want you to know that God gives promotion and it comes with additional responsibilities. To whom much is given; much is expected,” he said.

Also, the Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, enjoined the new generals to be prepared to face more tasking challenges.

“You are now a problem solver not just identifying problems and making suggestions but you must be ready to solve problems. As generals you must be dedicated to service,” he said.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Defence/Security

Nigeria enjoys relative peace, stability -IGP

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The Federal Government says the nation has continued to enjoy relative peace and stability in the ember months.

The Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, made this known after the meeting of the National Security Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to him, the meeting reviewed the nation’s security situation and noted that the situation across the country is stable.

He said: “The meeting reviewed the security situation all over the country and we realised that it’s stable, banditry has been reduced to the barest minimum, kidnapping had been reduced significantly.

“The epic center of this kidnapping as you know in the north western part of the country – Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, they are all very calm now.

“The insurgency in the northeast on daily basis they are being degraded and many of the insurgents are surrendering to the authority. They are giving up their arms and for that reason we have been encouraged to sustain the tempo.

“All the successes recorded was as a result of the cooperation received from members of the public, including the press because most of you have objectively assessed the actual security situation in the country, which your followers agreed to.

“So, we have been encouraged to continue with the tempo so that insurgency can be greatly eliminated from the country.

“Politicians and the hunters have been working with us and other stakeholders.

“As such we have been encouraged to work more closely with such groups of people so as to have the information that we require.

”We therefore have all the support that we need to defeat any form of criminality within the country.’’

On the pockets of unrest recorded during the Nov. 16 Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections, Adamu disclosed that some arrests have been made by the police in the two states.

According to him, the ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the elections in some parts of the two States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.

He said that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.

“Before the elections, there was threats assessment of the two states and we realised that there was going to be violence in two states.

“Because, during the campaigns we saw how the opponents were fighting themselves, so we prepared so much for that. During one of the stakeholders meeting, I went to Kogi with the chairman of INEC and I also went to Bayelsa.

“Even at the point of signing the peace accord to conduct the election without any problems, after signing the peace accord in Kogi, within the hall there was problem by the parties.

“So we knew that it was not going to be easy and so we had to prepare heavily for the elections.

“During the elections, anybody you saw either in police uniform or military uniform that does not carry the tag that has been given for the election, that person is not genuine police officer or military officer or that he was not on official duty.

“We were aware of the fact that some politicians were going to sew police and military uniforms, so we devised some other means of identifying those that were on elections duty. We gave them tags,’’ he said.

On why the Police allowed violence during the elections even with security reports to the police before the exercise, he said: “You see, it depends on the way you choose to interpret.

“We did our assessment, we knew these things will happen but what we needed to do was plan to prevent it, or if it happens, to arrest. That explains why the number of policemen we sent to those states were so massive.

“Now, when you get the information and you did your assessment and you did your plan, the bad guys are also planning, and the people we are dealing with here are politicians. So, for us to be able to distinguish the bad from the good, one of the strategy was to create a situation that will enable us identify the good ones, genuine personnel.

“Then anyone without identification tag, is a bad guy and then we pick him. They came out as they planned but then, we made some arrests on the spot where we saw them, those that escaped through information and intelligence we also picked them.’’

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Commander urges officers to intensify effort at ending insurgency

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Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, has charged the 13 newly decorated Brigadier Generals to intensify effort in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.

Adeniyi gave the charge while decorating the newly promoted officers at the Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri on Tuesday.

He urged them to declare total war against the insurgents in their various Areas of Responsibility (AOR) until they permanently decimate the insurgents from thier enclaves.

“When I assumed office as a Theatre Commander, I promised to take the fight to the enemy. Those of you that are still remaining in the Theatre, we need to intensify our fight against Boko Haram, they are grumbling but we need to route them completely.

“I, therefore, urge you to go and start a fight with Boko Haram in your respective Area of Responsibility. I am now sending you back as brigade Commanders. If Boko Haram are feeling the heat, let them come for negotiation but if they don’t I urged you not to relent in eliminating them completely.”

Adeniyi urged them to be humble and show empathy to soldiers, society and all Nigerians in discharging their duties.

Brig.-Gen. Abdul Ibrahim, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, tasked the officers to discharge their duties deligently when they are posted in various brigades in the Theatre.

“As newly promoted Generals you have bigger task ahead of you. If you are tasked to go and occupy a territory, you should do so.“

Ibrahim urged them to provide the needed leadership that would reinvigorate the effort of fighting troops to completely wipe out the insurgents and restore sanity in the North East.

Speaking on behalf of the newly promoted Generals, Brig.-Gen. Ifeanyi Otu, Chief of Staff 7 Division of the Army, promised to rededicate efforts to uplift the Theatre.

“In the course of moving Nigeria forward, we promised to give more by providing the needed leadership to defend the country and ensure that it is secured,” he said.

Otu thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai, for finding them worthy for the promotion and promised to uphold the confidence bestowed upon them.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Defence/Security

Zamfara killings: APC condoles with victims’ families

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, The Zamfara Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has condoled with families of victims of Sunday’s bandits’ attacks in Karaye village, Gummi Local Government Area of the state.

The state APC Chairman Alhaji Lawal Liman, in a statement issued in Gusau on Tuesday, described the attack as unfortunate and worrisome,

The Nigeria News Agency reports that 14 persons were killed and 10 others injured in the attack.

“On behalf of the entire members of APC in the state, I am using this medium condole the families of those who lost their lives to the incident.

“I pray to almighty Allah to give the families of the victims the fortitude to bear the loss and make it easy for those who were injured”, he said.

Liman urged people of the state to continue to pray to God for sustainable peace and stability to the state.

Edited by Buhari Bolaji/Maharazu Ahmed

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ICPC uncovers N18.62bn padding scam by MDAs

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The Independent Corrupt Practices  and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it has uncovered gross abuse of personnel budget and inflation as well as padding of nominal role by some Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) amounting to N18.62 billion.

The Chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made the disclosure at the National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector and presentation of integrity awards, organized by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in collaboration with ICPC, in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, the discovery of the scam followed the launching of the commission System Study and Review of MDA Practices, involving over 300 MDAs.

He said: “As at the time we went to press we had covered about 300 MDAs and the amount inflated was about N12billion.

“As at today your Excellency we have discovered additional N6b making a total of N18.624b restrained by ICPC.

“The exercise is still ongoing but we can confidently report that culprit MDAs are mostly academic and health institutions. For example preliminary findings show the following –

University of Benin Teaching Hospital N1.1billion; Federal Medical Center, Bayelsa N915million; Nnamdi Azikwe University N907million; University of Jos N896million; University College Hospital Ibadan N701million; Usman Dan Fodio University N636million and University of Ibadan N558million.

“These institutions and all those implicated will be given the opportunity to explain themselves however, while investigations are on to confirm any credible explanations they may have, we have alerted the Minister of Finance of our findings and appropriate steps are being taken to ensure that implicated MDAs will not be able to spend the excess built into their personnel budget.

“Let me note with regret sir that in the 2017-2018 fiscal year the balances recorded for personnel were wrongfully utilized by MDAs for other purposes due to lack of pro activity by late enforcement and related agencies. That sum amounted to N18.39b.’’

In light of these findings, the ICPC Chairman stressed the need for full implementation of the presidential directive that MDAs not on IPPIS should not be paid as the commission’s review had shown that most of the guilty MDAS were not on IPPIS.

He added: “In a similar vein, we found that some MDAs spent N9.2billion of capital funds on overhead related items contrary to extant financial regulations.

“We found to our surprise that some MDAs fail to remit tax and divert pension and NHIS deductions for unrelated payments thus aggravating the sufferings of other Nigerians.

“Some MDAs abused the e-payment policy of government thus making payments through staff accounts instead of to actual beneficiaries. Most egregious in the current cycle of review is the Federal Ministry of Water Resources where N3.3billion was paid out in about a month through the accounts of staff.

“ICPC arrested 59 directors from the ministry and investigation is ongoing.’’

The chairman expressed the hope that the conversation at the two-day summit would lead to concrete suggestions towards reducing these “anomalous practices and processes that fuel corruption and undermine the development aspirations of the country’’.

He pledged that the ICPC would take enforcement actions including recovery of diverted funds, name and shame and prosecution of the most egregious cases of infractions while putting some MDAs on a watch list due to their vulnerability and propensity to corruption.

“We recommend that diversion or non-payment or remittance of tax, pension, health insurance or any statutory deduction should attract dismissal of head of the agency and immediate prosecution.

“Should government accept this recommendation ICPC will furnish government with list of defaulting MDAs,’’ he said.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Defence/Security

NA Women’s Corps takes medical, sanitation outreach to Edo communities

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The Nigerian Army Women’s Corps on Tuesday carried out free medical outreach and sanitation exercise in Uholor and Ugbighoko communities as part of activities of the ongoing Exercise Crocodile Smile IV in Edo.

Col. Dorothy Ojie, the Chief of Staff of the Corps and Officer incharge of the activity in the South South and South East said this was to showcase women in the Army who had trained to be responsive to National engagements.

Ojie said that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai in his vision for a more professionally responsive Army had provided platforms for female soldiers and officers to rise to the peak of their career.

She explained that it was in view of this that the corps was created in 2018 for professionally trained women soldiers and officers who could be deployed for operations to any part of the globe.

She noted that the free medical outreach and sanitation exercise which was ongoing across the six geo-political zones of the country was to further boost civil and military relationship.

Okie said that the issue of health and sanitation could not be overemphasised as both go together, adding that the human body could fight off diseases and sicknesses with good health and proper sanitation.

The traditional ruler of Uholor Community, Mr Jackson Igbinoghene, commended the Nigerian Army for bringing the services to his domain.

He, however, appealed that the exercise should be more regular as not all persons in the community could afford good medical services.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the medical services provided includes medical consultation for hepatitis, Blood Pressure, Diabetes and general health care.

NAN also reports that free drugs as well as laboratory service were also provided, while sanitation exercise was carried out at Uholor community and the Ugbighoko market.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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