Tag Archive: United Land of Nigeria


OCTOBER 22, 2017

Government has accepted offers by the Turkish authorities to set up new schools and hospitals in Nigeria.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed this development in a special feature tagged; Key Takeaways from President Muhammadu Buhari’s 4-day engagement in Turkey.

The Government of Turkey, on July 28, 2016, had alerted the Federal Government on the existence of schools and hospitals owned by suspected “terrorists” in Nigeria and demanded that the facilities be shut down.

The Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Hakan Cakil, who gave the alert when he received the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, said the owners of the schools allegedly sponsored the July 15, 2016 failed coup in Turkey.

Cakil said the institutions, which ranged from schools to hospitals, were allegedly owned by the Fethullah Gulen Foundation, adding that similar schools established in Turkey had been shut down.

The presidential aide, however, stated that a new investor, the Maarif Foundation for education was introduced to the Nigerian delegation to take up the establishment of schools and hospitals in Nigeria.

He disclosed that a delegation from the foundation would visit Nigeria to commence the process of registration as well as following the procedures of establishing the new schools.

“The two countries agreed to expand cooperation in exchange of scholars, exchange of students and exchange/sharing of ideas, skills and education technology and to improve scholarships for Nigerians to study in Turkey,’’ he added.

Shehu revealed that Nigeria and Turkey also agreed to resolve the issues relating to Nigerian students in Turkish universities that were facing exclusion due to visa challenges.

He said: “Nigeria and Turkey have equally agreed to strengthen and promote investments in health institutions and this, as promised by the President will proceed quickly.

“That is as soon as the details of the various agreements reached in the bilateral discussions are laid on his table.”

On defense, the presidential spokesman said the two countries agreed to strengthen defense and military cooperation initiated a few years ago.

“This had already led to the establishment of the Defense section in the Turkish Embassy, Abuja in 2013 and Nigeria’s Defense section in Ankara in 2016.

“In the latest rounds of discussions, Nigeria and Turkey penned an agreement on military training,’’ he said.

Shehu said the two countries also agreed to collaborate towards the upgrading of the Defense Industries Corporation (DIC) in Kaduna into a Military Industrial Complex of Nigeria.

He said that two Turkish companies were already collaborating with the DIC in the production of arms and ammunition.

“Of the two companies, one is establishing a rifles production line and the supply of raw materials, technical assistance and training.

“The second one is partnering the DIC in the conceptualization, designing, consulting, invention, manufacturing, marketing, sale, exportation and sale of military industrial products.”

On the just concluded ninth summit of the D-8 member countries, Shehu said the members also used the event to mark the 20th Anniversary of the organization.

He said the event witnessed the handover of the baton of its leadership from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sahid Khaqan Abbasi to President Recep Tayyep Erdogan of Turkey.

“At the end of the Summit, the Heads of State and Government adopted a communique which spelt out the direction of the organization for the coming two years under Turkey.’’

Source: Vanguard.

Link: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/10/gov-tambuwal-appoints-committee-sale-govt-quarters/.

Advertisements

OCTOBER 19, 2017

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday vowed to ramp up security and and economic cooperation between Ankara and Africa’s most populous nation.

Speaking after talks at Erdogan’s palace, Buhari and the Turkish leader vowed to increase investment and cooperate in the fight against extremist groups including Boko Haram jihadists.

“There are a lot of potentialities in terms of investment. Already a lot is being done in the education and the health sectors,” said Buhari.

“This will be strengthened and Nigeria is prepared to receive Turkish business people to come and explore more of Nigeria’s potentialities,” he added.

Erdogan said he believed both sides would push trade volumes above $1.245 billion. “Turkish business people are ready to take on the development of Nigeria,” he said.

At a time of tense relations with the European Union and the United States, Turkey has been moving to broaden its influence in Africa, opening new diplomatic missions and air links.

Erdogan has himself been a frequent visitor to the continent, most recently travelling to Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar in January.

Erdogan said Turkey saw no difference between Boko Haram and Islamic State (IS) and the group of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 failed coup.

“These organizations are the killers who feed off the blood of the innocent,” he said. Asked how Turkey could help Nigeria defeat Boko Haram, Erdogan replied that intelligence cooperation was of the utmost importance.

Boko Haram’s quest to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left at least 20,000 dead and threatened regional security.

Buhari will on Friday travel to Istanbul to attend a summit of the Developing-8 (D-8), a grouping of growing mainly-Muslim countries first envisaged by Erdogan’s late political mentor and former Turkish premier Necmettin Erbakan.

It comprises Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

Source: Vanguard.

Link: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/10/erdogan-buhari-ramp-nigeria-turkey-cooperation/.

October 13, 2017

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian court has convicted 45 Boko Haram members in the largest mass trial in the Islamic extremist group’s history. The closed-door proceedings have raised the concerns of human rights groups about whether the trials of the 1,669 people will be fair.

These are the first results of the mass trials that began early this week at a military barracks in northern Nigeria. The judges are drafted from civil courts, while the barracks are being used for security reasons.

The 45 people were sentenced to between three and 31 years in prison, the country’s information minister said in a statement Friday. Another 468 suspects were released, but the court ordered that they undergo deradicalization programs.

The government has not said what exactly the hundreds of suspects are charged with. Nigeria is trying to show it is making progress against the extremist group that has killed more than 20,000 people during its eight-year insurgency. Boko Haram has yet to comment publicly on the mass trials.

Nigeria has arrested thousands of suspected Boko Haram members in recent years, and military detention facilities are overcrowded. Human rights groups say most of those detained have been picked up at random and without reasonable suspicion, including women and children.

Former detainees have described malnutrition, mistreatment and deaths in the facilities. Boko Haram’s attacks have spilled into neighboring countries and displaced more than 2.4 million people in the Lake Chad region, creating a vast humanitarian crisis. Some fighters have allied with the Islamic State group.

While Nigeria’s military has arrested many Boko Haram top fighters and last year declared the extremist group had been “crushed,” leader Abubakar Shekau remains elusive. The group in recent months has carried out a growing number of deadly suicide bombings and other attacks, many carried out by women or children.

May 17, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Camps for tens of thousands of people displaced by Boko Haram will have to stay open beyond the end of this month as Nigeria’s military continues to fight the extremists in so-called liberated areas, officials say.

The governor of the northern state of Borno, Kashim Shettima, told reporters on Tuesday that it is not yet safe to return people to their homes in many places across the region. The government’s goal was to close all of the camps by the end of May. The humanitarian crisis is considered one of the worst in the world.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari late last year declared Boko Haram “crushed,” but the military now says operations continue to clear the extremists from their strongholds. “What we are doing now is mop-up of the fleeing Boko Haram terrorists who are running into the fringes of the forest as well as border areas,” said Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, who commands the counterinsurgency operation in the northeast.

Boko Haram continues to carry out suicide bombings in the Borno capital, Maiduguri, and has attacked the military in more remote areas. Hundreds of people have been killed since Buhari’s declaration. On Monday, police said three female suicide bombers detonated on the route between Maiduguri and the city of Bama, killing two people and injuring six.

Maiduguri is home to more than a dozen camps for those displaced by Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency. Tens of thousands of people have been killed over the years. The United Nations refugee agency says 1.8 million have been displaced within Nigeria, with roughly one-third of them living in camps.

The insurgency also has spilled into neighboring countries. “We will not wait till eternity. We are very optimistic that very soon the entire Borno will be safe enough for full habitation,” Shettima said.

May 11, 2017

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Nigeria’s government is negotiating “seriously” for the release of more than 110 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls still held by Boko Haram and will exchange more detained members of the extremist group for them if needed, an official said Thursday.

“We will not relent until all are back,” the minister of women’s affairs and social development, Aisha Alhassan, told reporters in the capital, Abuja. The mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls from a boarding school three years ago brought world attention to Boko Haram’s deadly rampage in northern Nigeria. Thousands have been kidnapped or killed in the group’s eight-year insurgency, with millions driven from their homes.

On Saturday, 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls were released. Nigeria’s government exchanged them for five detained Boko Haram commanders, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to reporters on the matter. Negotiations with the extremist group, mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government, also resulted in the October release of a first group of 21 Chibok girls.

Alhassan said Nigeria’s government had no regrets about exchanging Boko Haram commanders for the schoolgirls’ release. “We’ll do it again if needed,” she said in comments tweeted by Nigeria’s government.

Families in Chibok were meeting with community leaders to identify the newly freed schoolgirls from photos to determine if they will travel to the capital to meet them. The young women were joining those released earlier in government care in Abuja, where they were undergoing medical screening that will take a couple of weeks, Alhassan said. Some must undergo surgery, she said.

The government has been caring for 24 previously released girls and four babies, Alhassan said. A small number of the schoolgirls managed to escape on their own. The group of girls released in October were in “bad shape” and spent two months in medical care, the minister said.

Human rights groups have criticized the government for keeping them so long in the capital, far from their homes. Alhassan said they traveled to Chibok for Christmas but upon their return to the capital said they were scared to go back to their community.

The girls said they wanted to go back to school so a nine-month reintegration program was designed for them, the minister said. The newly released girls will join the program. The parents of the freed Chibok schoolgirls “are free to visit them at any time. We will never prevent them from seeing their daughters,” Alhassan said.

Some of the girls who escaped shortly after the mass kidnapping said some classmates had died from illness, and others were radicalized and didn’t want to come home. Human rights advocates have said they fear some of the girls have been used by Boko Haram to carry out suicide bombings.

May 07, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls seized three years ago by Boko Haram have been freed in exchange for detained suspects with the extremist group, Nigeria’s government announced early Sunday, in the largest release negotiated yet in the battle to save nearly 300 girls whose mass abduction exposed the mounting threat posed by the Islamic State-linked fighters.

The statement from the office of President Muhammadu Buhari was the first confirmation that his government had made a swap for the girls. After an initial release of 21 Chibok girls in October, the government denied making an exchange or paying ransom.

The April 2014 abduction by Boko Haram brought the extremist group’s rampage in northern Nigeria to world attention and, for families of the schoolgirls, began years marked with heartbreak. Some relatives did not live long enough to see their daughters released. Many of the captive girls, most of them Christians, were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts without ever knowing if they would see their parents again. It is feared that other girls were strapped with explosives and sent on missions as suicide bombers.

As word of the latest release emerged, long-suffering family members said they were eagerly awaiting a list of names and “our hopes and expectations are high.” Before Saturday’s release, 195 of the girls had remained captive. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.

The freed girls were expected to meet with Buhari on Sunday in the capital, Abuja. A Nigerian military official with direct knowledge of the rescue operation said the freed girls were found near the town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon.

“The location of the girls kept changing since yesterday when the operation to rescue them commenced,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement.

Boko Haram remains active in that area. On Friday, the United States and Britain issued warnings that the extremist group was actively planning to kidnap foreigners in an area of Borno state “along the Kumshe-Banki axis.”

The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in 2014 are among thousands of people abducted by Boko Haram over the years. The mass abduction shocked the world, sparking a global #Bringbackourgirls campaign supported by former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and other celebrities. It has put tremendous pressure on Nigeria’s government to counter the extremist group, which has roamed large parts of the north and into neighboring countries.

“This is a very, very exciting news for us that we have over 80 of our girls coming back again,” Bukky Shonibare with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign told Sky TV. “Their life in captivity has been one that depicts suffering, it depicts the fact that they have been starved, abused, and as we have seen before some of those girls have come back with children, and some of them have also come back with news of how they have been sexually abused.”

The latest negotiations were again mediated by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Nigeria’s government said. At the initial release of girls in October, the government said the release of another 83 would be coming soon. But at the three-year anniversary of the kidnapping in April, the government said negotiations had “gone quite far” but faced challenges.

Buhari late last year announced Boko Haram had been “crushed,” but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries. Its insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation.

Larson reported from Dakar. Associated Press writers Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria, and Hilary Uguru in Warri, Nigeria, contributed.

25 December 2016 Sunday

Nigeria Sunday will reopen at least two major roads in the country’s northeast previously closed due to repeated attacks by Boko Haram militants, the government announced.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed Mohammed said the Maiduguri-Gubio-Damasak and the Maiduguri-Mungono-Baga roads, both strategically important for international trade among Lake Chad nations, would be reopened at a ceremony attended by top government and military officials.

The reopening follows Saturday’s announcement that the army has finally dislodged Boko Haram from the vast Sambisa forest, including the so-called “camp zero” known as the militants’ stronghold.

President Muhammadu Buhari had announced the victory in a statement, claiming it marked the final defeat for Boko Haram.

Mohammed said the reopening ceremony will be witnessed by military chiefs, followed by a lunch with the troops who crushed the insurgency.

Most analysts welcomed the announcement of Boko Haram’s “final defeat” with cautious optimism, warning that security forces letting down their guard could lead militants to exploit this and launch costly attacks on civilians.

Nigeria’s December 2015 announcement of a so-called technical defeat of Boko Haram was followed by rising militant attacks and suicide bombings.

Ambushes on military targets have claimed the lives of dozens of soldiers, including three lieutenant-colonels, although the group’s ability to launch physical attacks is thought to have waned considerably.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/182215/nigeria-to-open-major-roads-after-strike-on-boko-haram.

24 December 2016 Saturday

Nigeria’s army has driven Boko Haram militants out of their strongest hideout in the dreaded Sambisa Forest, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday, claiming a huge blow has been dealt to the insurgents.

“I am delighted at, and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on receipt of the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram mlitants in their last enclave in Sambisa Forest,” the president said in a goodwill message to the troops.

He said the militants were driven out of the notorious “camp zero” located deep inside the vast northeastern forest, a day after an army spokesman alerted Nigerians of the need to be vigilant and report strange persons to security agencies.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the camp fell at about 1:35pm on Friday, Dec. 23, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide. I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice,” said the president.

“I, therefore, call on all Nigerians to cooperate and support the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies by providing useful information that will expose all the terrorists hiding among the populace.”

He added, “Further efforts should be intensified to locate and free our remaining Chibok girls still in captivity,” referring to 276 female students abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

Boko Haram occupied Sambisa – a huge colonial-era forest reserve estimated at the size of Lagos – shortly the 2009 crackdown which led to the killing of their leader Muhammed Yusuf. The militants have used various camps in the forest to launch attacks across the northeast region.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/182178/nigeria-army-claims-capture-of-boko-haram-stronghold.

12 September 2016 Monday

Around 5,000 people who had been displaced by Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria celebrated Eid al-Adha at home for the first time in six years on Monday.

The town is at the heart of territory dominated by Boko Haram during a terror campaign that began in 2009 and has seen at least 20,000 killed and 2.3 million displaced. Over that period the group seized territory the size of Belgium before being pushed back by the military.

“Praise be to Allah that we can gather to pray at Eid this year, six years after Boko Haram forced us out of our town,” resident Babagana Ali said.

Lawan Goni Hassan, the town’s chief imam, added: “Allah has ended Boko Haram’s evil agenda.”

State Governor Kashim Shettima was present in Konduga to observe Eid and inspire confidence among the local population.

“My coming to this place with other officials is to inspire confidence in the multitude of our people who have been traumatized by the insurgency,” he said.

Over the last week, buses organized by the state government began transporting people from Maiduguri to newly liberated areas.

However, Boko Haram remains a threat in the area. On Saturday, a man was killed and three passengers injured when gunmen fired on vehicles 50 km (31 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Vanguard news website reported.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/haber/177307/nigerian-refugees-return-to-celebrate-eid.

August 31, 2015

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Three Canadians, a Pakistani and a Nigerian were among those killed in a fire that engulfed parts of a residential compound in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich east, a Saudi official said.

The blaze began early Sunday in a sprawling, multistory housing complex in the city of Khobar that accommodates workers for state oil giant Saudi Aramco. Col. Ali bin Saad al-Qahtani, a civil defense spokesman for the kingdom’s Eastern Province, provided the update in comments carried by the official Saudi Press Agency early Monday.

He said a total of 10 people died and 259 were injured in the blaze. The civil defense directorate previously said 11 people were killed. Al-Qahtani did not provide the nationalities of the other five people killed.

Diana Khaddaj, a spokeswoman for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department, said consular officers in Riyadh are in touch with Saudi authorities “to gather additional information and are providing consular assistance to those affected and their family during this difficult time.”

Of those injured, 179 have left the hospital after receiving treatment. A preliminary investigation suggests a short circuit in an electrical transformer in the building’s basement sparked the blaze, which quickly spread through 130 cars parked in the basement, al-Qahtani said.

The complex, known as Radium, is a gated community of eight six-story buildings with a total of 486 residential units as well as swimming pools and other leisure facilities, according to Aramco’s website.

Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed reporting.