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Final Onslaught – Troops Wipe Out Boko Haram Camps (allAfrica.com)

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that troops have destroyed all known Boko Haram camps and cells within the troubled North East region.

The director of defence information, Col. Rabe Abubakar, who made this known to newsmen at his maiden media interaction at the DHQ, Abuja, declared that the terrorists had been vanquished.

He said the terror group had been mortally wounded, adding that the sect’s members would never hold or capture any part of Nigeria’s territory again.

“These terrorists have been subdued, even if they are adopting other means, and as they are re-strategizing, we are also doing same.

“We have been coordinating air and ground assault to make sure that these terrorists’ hideouts are completely decimated. As I am speaking to you, all the terrorists’ camps have completely been wiped out. So, right now, they are completely in disarray, having no command and control from where to plan.

“We have even taken over their camps; most of them have even abandoned their bases and blended within towns and communities. We have also apprehended some of them and very soon displaced persons will move back to their communities,” he said.

The army spokesman noted that the military was making a lot of headway, and insisted that the Nigerian people must come to the realization that Boko Haram is no longer strong enough to hold ground.

“We must begin to think of the nation. I am assuring you that they will never again recapture the territory taken from them, because what is happening right now with the deployment of troops, equipment and morale will ensure that,” Abubakar said.

The military chief explained that the progress made was as a result of new strategies adopted by the new service chiefs, which include visit to the troops on the front line and constant morale boosting measures.

These strategies, Abubakar said, had introduced a new dimension in the military.

LEADERSHIP reports that the deployment of sophisticated weapons has really boosted the morale of the troops, giving them a combating edge against terror in the North East.

The Nigerian army recently deployed 8,700-strong regional forces at designated sectors, under the newly-restructured multinational joint task force (MNJTF), in a bid to totally annihilate Boko Haram.

Cheers, tears as Army chief hoists Nigeria flag in reclaimed Gamboru town

Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai

It was a moment of redemption and glory for Nigerian soldiers and residents of Gamboru village on Wednesday when ‎the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, supervised the hoisting of the Nigeria Flag in the reclaimed town of Gamboru in Ngala local government area of Borno State.

Gamboru, a town now total state of ruin, has been under the boot of Boko Haram for over one year.

Chadian forces had early this year helped to reclaim the town from Boko Haram after killing nearly 200 of the terrorists, only for the insurgents to return immediately and retake the town.

Gamboru, a former bubbling commercial border town, was was rendered desolate with virtually everything destroyed by Boko Haram terrorists. Houses are in ruins and overgrown by tall grasses while social amenities and infrastructure, including telecommunication masts, were all wrecked.

Gamboru town shares boundary with Fotokol, a Cameroonian town just across a bridge running over a river that separates the two countries.

After a trip that lasted about eight hours, covering a distance of 145km roads that was heavily mined by explosives, the Army performed a brief flag hoisting ceremony to signal the reclamation of the territory.

On the other side of the bridge, thousands of Nigerians chased away by Boko Haram from Ngala and Gamboru towns rent the air with cheers to the soldiers as the beautiful green and white Nigerian flag glided gently up the pole as patriots, both military and civilians, sang the country’s National Anthem with tears of joy and triumph trickling downs from their eyes.

The flag was hoisted at the exact spot where Boko Haram terrorists had their flag flying for nearly a year.

Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai delivered an emotional speech at the spot where the flag was hoisted: “We are here today to observe this significant and symbolic ceremony of hoisting the Nigeria national flag. If you could remember, this town of Gamboru was occupied by the Boko Haram terrorists for almost one year. The Chadian troops came to help recapture it but could not hold the town, so they later withdrew and the Boko Haram returned again.

“In line with my vision, which is to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army that is abreast of its constitutional roles, one key underlying phrase in my mission is the ‘constitutional role’. Today, under my command, we are here to discharge and redeem our territorial integrity as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Today we are hoisting our flag and we will never allow any bunch of criminals in the name of Boko Haram to come and take an inch of our territory again. “I will like to commend officers and soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole, especially the officers and men of 7 Division and indeed the 7 Div Strike Group, who have proved to be resilient, dedicated and highly patriotic. Nigerians are proud of you, Nigerian Army is proud of you and indeed Mr President is very proud of you. We have to maintain the momentum and from now on you must maintain an aggressive posture to constant patrols along this routes and all other routes into this area.”

He, however, urged the troops to remain vigilant in order to stop Boko Haram from taking advantage of any slack.

“The incident of mines being laid along the routes must be stopped! Troops are not here to come and sleep at night while Boko Haram bury mines on our roads.

“We still have a lot to do. The war is not over. The terrorists have changed their tactics, from moving out from their camps to attacking communities, to now moving in pockets, planting IEDs via humans or vehicles.

“On our way to this place, we saw how some IEDs were uprooted from the road by our troops and, unfortunately, one of the mines got detonated and affected our vehicles, and some soldiers got wounded.”

“We once again, thank Mr President for reposing his confidence in us to help deliver his mandate. We are making progress and, definitely, we would achieve that mandate within the time given by Mr President. On this note I have the singular honour and pleasure to present the Nigerian Flag to the Commander Operation Lafiya Dole for hoisting and never to come down again.

Shortly after the flag was hoisted and the mini parade disbanded, the COAS, accompanied by the Theater Commander of OLD, Major General Yushau; the GOC 7 Div Lamidi Adeosun; the Commander, National Joint Task Force, Major General Iliya Abba; the Cameroonian Colonel Fonkon Djio Venerd Richard; and Lieutenant Colonel D’ Aviation, Mohammet Yahaya of Chad walked over the bridge to address the cheering Nigerian refugees down the bank of the River.

Their voices of joy shook the serene environment as General Buratai spoke to them in Kanuri, a language most of them from both villages speak as major lingua franca.

The GOC passed the night with the troops in the open battle field in Gamboru where he spent time with excited troops that continued to praise his courage for being the first army chief in Nigeria to visit and spend the night with troops at the frontlines.

Crude Oil Theft: PMB, Eyadema Decries Loss Of $7bn Annually

President Muhammadu Buhari and his Togolese counterpart, President Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema, lamented yesterday that the Gulf of Ginuea loses $7 billion to piracy and other illegal businesses on the waterways.

Accordingly, Nigeria and Togo have pledged to expedite bilateral action with a view to ending crude oil theft, piracy, illegal migration and drug trafficking within the Gulf of Guinea.

The agreement will be sealed at a regional summit which would hold in Togo in November this year.

Eyadema who was in Aso Rock, Abuja, to formally invite President Buhari to the summit, said the November event had become necessary to arrest some illicit activities on African high seas.

In a joint press briefing by both leaders after a closed-door meeting at the presidential villa, they agreed that Nigeria was the worst hit by the activities of the pirates.

Asked why there had to be too many summits before common problems could be solved, Eyadema said, “It is not only applicable to Africa but the whole world. But the challenge of maritime security in Africa is so much that we cannot allow it that way.

“For instance, piracy alone costs Gulf of Ginuea $7billion for not combatting it, and without cooperation you cannot combat piracy, but the first stage is to come together and talk. If all the African countries are on the same page, it would be easy to tackle the security challenges.

“So, we have to keep holding summits because individual countries cannot combat piracy effectively without cooperation. If you try to fight them in Togo, they go to the next country. So, summits are necessary; they are not even sufficient.”

On his part, President Buhari said there was a need for collaboration among the African countries and indeed the world to tackle common issues facing them.

He said, “Bilaterally, we are trying to see how we can come closer together as he has explained, because having been there longer than myself, he is more exposed both in regional and on African Union level. But first and foremost, we must identify our problem and the first thing is security.

“We must secure our region, otherwise sustainable development will be impossible. You have just heard him say how much is lost to piracy and Nigeria cannot afford to lose that. So, there is need for cooperation amongst the African countries. We will continue to discuss and do our best to resolve regional issues.

“The most important thing is that we must pay attention to agriculture and manufacturing so that everybody can be employed and then we will have much less problems.”

Buhari thanked Eyadema for the concern for the victims of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria.

He said, “I appreciate the visit of his excellency, especially his concern about regional security, Nigeria’s security and the issue of Boko Haram, oil theft, illegal fishing and the dumping of toxins, including oil pollution.

“His concern about regional security made it imperative for him to organise a summit on maritime security and development in November to examine a lot of issues. As for Nigeria, we are grateful for the sympathy and the goodwill expressed, touching on the performance of our armed forces and law enforcement agencies since this administration came into being.

“It is not easy trying to fight on so many fronts – the North East, the South South – and then trying to provide infrastructure in our country.

“Since the cooperation of the regional countries comprising Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Benin Republic, we’ve identified our problems and achieved positive results in terms of isolation of Boko Haram and giving a chance to peace.”

Earlier, President Eyadema told journalists that he was in Nigeria to pay condolences to the victims of the terror attacks and to formally invite President Buhari to the event, even as he commended President Buhari for his reforms in the oil sector, saying that it had started bearing fruit.

The Togolese president said: “I am in Nigeria to congratulate the president on his victory at the elections and to condole with the president for the victims of terrorism. We continue to pray for those who lost their lives with the hope that God will console their families.

“I am also here to commend the president and the Nigerian security forces for the work they are doing to combat terrorism in West Africa. What we are doing here to fight terrorism in Nigeria is to promote security on the African continent.

PMB Sacks Chairmen Of 3 FCTA Boards

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate sacking of Mr. Ari Isa Mohammed, Dr. Moroof Akinwande and Alhaji Usman Ningi, chairmen of the Boards of the FCT Internal Revenue Service, Secondary Education and Universal Basic Education (UBE).

The notice of the sack of the three board chairmen was contained in a letter with reference (NO. SGF.19/S.81/T1/97) sent to the FCT permanent secretary, Engr. John Obinna Chukwu, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 by the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).

This follows the refusal of the affected board chairmen to vacate office even after a presidential directive on the dissolution of the governing boards of all federal government-owned companies, institutions, parastatals and agencies.

Part of the letter read: “That the federal government’s directive as contained in Circular Ref. No. SGF.19/S.81/XIX/964 on the dissolution of the governing boards of the federal government parastatals, agencies, institutions and government owned companies remains extant.

“That the directive applies to all the Boards of the Federal Capital Territory parastatals, agencies, institutions and government owned companies.”

According to a statement by the deputy director of press in FCTA, Muhammad Sule, the FCT permanent secretary, Engr. John Chukwu, had, following the directive, directed the former chairman of the of the FCT Internal Revenue Service to hand over all duties and responsibilities of his office as well as government belongings in his possession to the Director of Treasury, FCT; and the chairmen of the Secondary Education Board and Universal Basic Education Board to hand over all duties and responsibilities of their offices as well as government belongings in their possession to the directors/secretaries of SEB and UBEB respectively.

The statement also conveyed the appreciation of the FCT Administration to the sacked board chairmen for their contributions to the development of the territory and wished them success in their future endeavours.

PMB Mourns Babankowa, Jibrin Ahmed

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the family of the late commissioner of police, Alhaji Ibrahim Babankowa.

A statement by the senior special assistant on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, noted that the president joined them in mourning the retired commissioner of police “who will be long remembered for the role he played in crushing the Maitatsine uprising of 1980.

Shehu added that Buhari also recalled the late Babankowa’s “discovery of the body of Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa after the January 15, 1966 coup d’état.”

In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, the presidential spokesman said the president “who had a long and close association with Alhaji Babankowa, believes that even in death, he will remain a model of integrity and steadfastness to all who knew him.”

Shehu further announced that President Buhari similarly extended his personal condolences to the family of the celebrated farmer and bookseller, Jibrin Ahmed, who also died recently.

He said, “The president is saddened by the death of Ahmed with whom he also had a close relationship over many years, and who he greatly respected for his exemplary humility and belief in the dignity of labour.

“President Buhari will forever treasure his memories of Ahmed as one of the most hardworking and humble Nigerians he has had the privilege of knowing. He prays that Almighty Allah will grant Babankowa and Ahmed eternal rest, and comfort their grieving families, friends and associates.”