After prominent northerners and politicians caught with Boko Haram - ACF wants sponsors of Boko Haram exposed
• Military to sustain offensive against insurgents
• Naval chief warns ex-militants regrouping in Niger Delta
• Akure youths demand end to nomadic herding
INSISTING that the powerful sponsors of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria should not be spared, Arewa leaders yesterday asked the military authorities to expose the prominent northerners and politicians who have links with the terror group in the north east and treat them as criminals.
In a related development, the Nigerian military has vowed to sustain the offensive against the Boko Haram terrorists until they are completely incapacitated and “totally impaired.”
The Acting Director Defence Information (DDI) Col. Rabe Abubakar said yesterday in Abuja that the guerrilla tactics adopted by the insurgents require an all out sustained offensive to completely bring the menace to an end.
He said: “The coordinated operation and capabilities of the terrorist group would intensify because the guerrillas should not be given any breathing space to regroup and re-strategise their campaign.”
Meanwhile, the new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, yesterday warned former militants, whom he said are re-grouping in the Niger Delta for another round of sabotage and attacks on oil facilities and vessels in the water-ways and creeks, to forget such plans or face the full wrath of the Navy.
He said the Nigeria Navy would not treat with kid gloves any act capable of breaching the prevailing peace in the region and in his area of operation.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital, a coalition of of youth organisations from four local councils under the aegis of Akure Youth Coalition (AYC), a national and socio-political movement yesterday protested the abduction of elder statesman, Chief Olu Falae, demanding that the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Akure metropolis and environs be checked .
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said that the statement credited to the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, that “the Nigerian Army wishes to inform the public and send a very strong and serious final warning to some prominent individuals and political groups who hail from Borno State in particular and Northeast generally, that there is information of plans by some highly placed individuals and political groups to undermine and scuttle the fight against terrorism and insurgency in this country,” must be taken seriously by Nigerians.
A statement by the forum’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Mohammad Ibrahim pointed out that Arewa leaders frowned at the activities of “the unscrupulous individuals and their cohorts who are determined to reverse the gains made and scuttle our efforts of achieving the Presidential directive to defeat Boko Haram terrorists within three months.”
According to him, the ACF considered the statement of the Army “very grave, disturbing and worrisome considering the efforts being put by the military and other security agencies to end the insurgency in the northeast region.”
“It is callous, wicked and unfortunate that some prominent individuals place their personal benefits above national interest, the daily killings of innocent lives and destruction of property as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in the last six years.”
“ACF urges the military to thoroughly investigate the clandestine activities and other diabolical efforts of these politicians, expose and prosecute them to serve as a deterrent to others. Nigeria cannot afford to treat such unscrupulous groups or individuals with kid gloves at this material time that all hands are on deck to restore peace and order in the Northeast sub-region and the country in general.”
The army statement may have corroborated similar allegations in the past.
It could be recalled that even before his sack and death, the then National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, General Andrew Azazi once alleged that Boko Haram insurgency was being sponsored.
Jonathan also made a similar allegation, when he said that there were Boko Haram sympathisers in his government.
Also the governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has said on several occasions that he knew the sponsors of Boko Haram, but will not name them.
Admiral Suleiman, who toured Naval formations in the Central Command area, warned the former militants that the Nigerian Navy has the capability to take them on and is fully ready for any eventuality.
“We are battle-ready and we can never be caught unawares. It is in their best interest to forget whatever plans they are nursing which are capable of causing serious disaffection in the Niger-Delta region.
“The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS)’s zero tolerance for oil bunkering and other criminal activities being practised in the creeks and water-ways must be implemented to the letter,” the FOC said.
He urged the former militants to channel their grievances through the coordinator of Federal Government’s Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boro (rtd) instead of taking the laws into their hands.
He equally reiterated his earlier statement on assuming his new position to deal ruthlessly with illegal oil bunkers, sea pirates, and all forms of criminality perpetrated in his areas of operation, saying he would do everything to achieve the feat.
The youths from Akure South, Akure North, Ifedore and Idanre local councils yesterday morning, marched to the Deji’s palace and Ondo State House of Assembly with placards proclaiming their grievances in inscriptions like: “Nomadic grazing must stop,” “Olu Falae is an elder statesman; respect our elders!” “Stop nomadic herding now!; “Give us a ranch in the state for the herdsmen!”
The President of the Coalition, Adekanbi Oluwatuyi said, as peace loving youths of Akure Kingdom, it was pertinent for them to express their dissatisfaction over the threats and acrimony allegedly being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in the capital city and its environs.
We are not unmindful of the fact that any Nigerian is guaranteed the freedom to live in any part of the country as enshrined in Section 41 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“We are however quick to state that this does not confer on them the right to intimidate and violate the rights of their host communities.”
The AYC leader narrated the hardship meted out to the Afenifere leader, Falae and his workers on the farmland, saying, “he was traumatised and turned a fugitive in his own native land for a period of four days. We wonder that if a man of his status could be subjected to this horrible experience, it then means that the likes of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Chief Alex Ekwueme, Chief Ogbonaya Onu, Chief Edwin Clarke and a host of our noble statesmen are no longer safe let alone the ordinary citizens.
“We are puzzled and cannot comprehend the intentions of these Fulanis, who want to constitute an internal threat, thereby, causing panic and unrest among their host.”
Oluwatuyi continued: “Having carefully reviewed the activities of Fulani herdsmen and more so, the recent kidnap of Chief Olu Falae , we demand that those behind this act be arrested and prosecuted without any further delay. We will not accept anything short this,” the youths said, enjoining the state government to initiate a bill to check the activities of rustlers and resist further attacks on their land.
The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, who addressed the youths, commended them for their high sense of maturity and peace-loving disposition during and after the Falae abduction, saying they averted what would have led to widespread ethnic crises.