Immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh has confessed that when he assumed office as the CDS, he headed a armed forces that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an enemy (Boko Haram terrorists) that was invisible and embedded with the local populace.
Badeh made the confession just as he pointed out that the decision of certain countries, to deny Nigeria weapons to prosecute the war against Boko Haram, added to the challenges the military faced.
But how come Nigerian military can’t produce weapons like those other countries military?
Delivering his valedictory speech at his pulling out ceremony in Abuja on Thursday, Badeh said: “Notwithstanding the modest successes we recorded in the fight against terror, I must say that the task or coordinating the military and other security agencies in the fight against the insurgents, is perhaps the most complex and challenging assignment I have had in my 38 years in service”.
Other challenges he said he faced included “the exploitation of a serious national security issue by a section of the media and the political class to gain political mileage.
“Furthermore, the activities of fifth columnists in the military and other security agencies who leaked operational plans and other sensitive military information to the terrorists, combined to make the fight against the insurgents particularly difficult”.
He added, “The activities of these unpatriotic members of the military not only blunted the effectiveness of the fight, but also led to the needless deaths of numerous officers and men who unwittingly fell into ambushes prepared by terrorists who had advanced warning of the approach of such troops”.
“Permit me to also add here, that nation’s militaries are equipped and trained in peace time, for the conflicts they expect to confront in the future. Unfortunately, that has not been our experience as a nation. Over the years, the military was neglected and under-equipped to ensure the survival of certain regimes, while other regimes, based on advice from some foreign nations deliberately reduced the size of the military and underfunded it.
“Unfortunately, our past leaders accepted such recommendations without appreciating our peculiarities as a third world military which does not have the technological advantage that could serve as force multipliers and compensate for reduced strength.
“Accordingly, when faced with the crises in the North East and other parts of the country, the military was overstretched and had to embark on emergency recruitment and training, which were not adequate to prepare troops for the kind of situation we found ourselves in.
“It is important therefore for the government to decide on the kind of military force it needs by carrying out a comprehensive review of the nation’s military force structure to determine the size, capability and equipment holding required to effectively defend the nation and provide needed security.”
The managing director, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company, Saidu Mohammed, on Friday said the refinery will hit 90 per cent production of its 110,000 installed capacity.
It was gathered that the refinery had been operating at 60 per cent production capacity before commencement of the turn-around maintenance in October 2014.
Mr. Mohammed, in an interview after a tour of the refinery with journalists, said the refinery has undergone turn around maintenance.
He said it will attain 90 per cent of its 110,000 installed capacity by March 2015.
He said, “The 80-90 per cent resumed production of the 30-year-old refinery is equivalent to 3-5million liters of petrol, which is 150 trucks of 30,000 liter capacity truck per day.”
The MD said the KRPC resumed refining following the completion of its first phase of facility rehabilitation that began in October 2014.
“We have opened every column, changed what we can change to give us that level of production,” he said. “What is outstanding is crude supply but with the volume we have in stoke, we have started production three days ago. We undertook phased rehabilitation because we do not want to completely shut down the refinery.
“Crude Distillation Unit was tested, Units are running. Basically, we are retracing our steps, one unit after the other. Other essential unit like the FCC will follow by the end of the week.”
He urged the Federal Government to declare the NNPC pipelines “no go area” to curtail the activities of vandals, which if continued, would hamper the transportation of crude oil from Warri to Kaduna.
“I am also urging the Federal Government to deploy the military to provide maximum security to the pipelines to tackle the activities of vandals,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said apart from addressing fuel scarcity in the north, the resumption of production at the KRPC would attract employment opportunity in both the formal and the informal sectors.
Thousands of transporters would resume lifting of the product thereby providing employment to truck drivers and other stakeholders.
“The development will also boost the economy of the region business activities in Kaduna state and availability of products will fully resume,” he said.
“The banking sector would also be a major beneficiary because of the financial transactions involved in product transportation and a chain of similar business activities.”
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that, KRPC had embarked on the facility upgrade in line with NNPC’s 18-months refineries Phased-Rehabilitation Strategy which began in October 2014.
The strategy entails phased and simultaneous rehabilitation of all refineries using in-house and locally available resources and man power in line with the Nigerian Content Law.
It also involved the use of Original Equipment Manufacturer representatives to effect major equipment overhaul and rehabilitation.
The NNPC on Wednesday July 29 said the Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries had resumed production after the phased rehabilitation which started in October 2014 had been completed.
The NNPC had said with the successful re-streaming of the PHRC and WRPC, attention had moved to ensure completion of the second phase of rehabilitation work at KRPC which has 110,000 barrels per day installed capacity.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Head of Service of the Federation, Danladi Kifasi, to facilitate the immediate release of the N5 billion pledged by the Federal Government since August 2014 for the Victims Support Fund (VSF), the presidency announced Friday.
The fund was created to support victims of bomb attacks.
President Buhari gave the directive after receiving a briefing from the VSF Presidential Committee headed by former defence minister, Theophilus Danjuma, at the Presidential Villa.
Mr. Danjuma told the president that out of the N55.92 billion pledged at the fund-raising dinner for the fund in August last year, N33.54 billion was still outstanding, including N5 Billion from the Federal Government.
He said the VSF currently has N23.33 billion in four bank accounts.
Mr. Danjuma urged the president to use his office to persuade all organizations and individuals to honour their pledges to the Committee.
The directive came two days after PREMIUM TIMES reported how the funds had not been deployed to provide needed help to victims, nearly a year after.
The committee had also told PREMIUM TIMES how several wealthy Nigerians who made pledges failed to redeem them, and how former President Jonathan directed that the funds should not be released for operations already handled by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
Mr. Danjuma told President Buhari that the former president gave approval for the funds to be incorporated into a Trust Fund, to “insulate it from political interference”.
President Buhari urged the Committee to ensure proper coordination with other government agencies providing support and assistance to victims of terrorism.
The president assured Mr. Danjuma and members of the VSF Committee that his administration was taking proactive steps to defeat terrorism in the country.
He said that despite the challenge of acquiring much needed strategic equipment and weapons to confront the terrorists, the Nigerian military has recently gained much ground in its effort to defeat and degrade Boko Haram.
He added that the full deployment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), under the auspices of member-states of Lake Chad Basin Commission, will further boost ongoing military operations against the insurgents.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has insisted that the DG of DSS, Lawal Daura, is not a card-carrying member of the party, saying nothing short of producing Daura’s membership card or evidence of his membership registration will convince discerning Nigerians that he is indeed a member of the APC as alleged by the PDP.
“While it amounts to rabble-rousing and crass politicking for the PDP to have wrongly accused Daura of being a member of the APC without a scintilla of credible evidence, the PDP has weakened its argument by using the pictures in which Daura appeared with the President and the fact that he served in an election committee as evidence of his membership of the APC,” the party said in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.
“Possession of an APC membership card by Daura or evidence of registration as a party member at his ward, local government or state will be the only conclusive evidence of his membership of the party,” it said, adding that “Until such an evidence is produced, we are sorry we have to tell the PDP to shut up!”
APC said the PDP is jittery because it is keenly aware of the kind of impunity perpetrated under the federal government it sired from 1999 to 2015.
“PDP has forgotten the saying that he who must come to equity must come with clean hands. When Mr. Mike Okiro chaired the security committee of the PDP campaign in 2011, did that prevent him from being appointed the Chair of the Police Service Commission, which is responsible for issues concerning the welfare, promotion and discipline of all police personnel, in 2013?
“When the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri, was appointed into the Jonathan election committee in 2015, did he resign his appointment as head of the agency or did he automatically become a card-carrying member of the PDP?
“Did retired Col. Kayode Are not become the DG of the DSS despite being a close confidante of Gen. Obasanjo during his electioneering campaign to become President? Was this not under a PDP Federal Government?
“In any case, even in the world’s most advance democracy, United States, was a card-carrying Democrat, Mr. Leon Panetta, not named as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by President Barack Obama in 2009? Here in Nigeria, the APC-led FG has not even gone that far, and the PDP is blabbing.
“It is an irony that the APC-led Federal Government, which has continued to conduct the affairs of state with a strict adherence to the law, is the one being accused by the immoral, irresponsible and grossly hypocritical PDP.
“A party that should cover its face in shame for wasting all of 16 years in the life of our country, a party whose members should show penance by hunkering down has continued to assault the sensibilities of a decent nation. What a shame,” APC said.
Theofficial visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Cameroun to discuss joint efforts to curb Boko Haram in the region has thrown up an indictment of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
A very credible Presidency source told Daily Sun that in the anti-terror war, Jonathan did not do much in forming a synergy with leaders of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries.
The source said during Buhari’s interaction with his Camerounian counterpart, Paul Biya, he disclosed that Jonathan isolated himself from the leaders of Cameroun, Chad and Niger. “The major complaint, according to Biya, is that Jonathan never or seldom, at best, picked his calls. He said most times he called, Jonathan neither picked nor returned his calls. And as a result, the integration of efforts that should have stopped Boko Haram’s foray and unchallenged run was lacking.”
Biya, according to our source, said he was sure that leaders of other neighbouring countries had the same experience, and therefore, questioned how Nigeria alone would have contained Boko Haram, knowing it is an international terror group with roots and connections in some other countries from where they get into Nigeria and carry out attacks.
“This solo handling of the problem did not enable the neighbours put in much to solve the problem until it got this bad,” he said.
The source also indicated that the Jonathan administration was lax and reluctant to bring under control people very close to that government who are flagrantly involved in crude oil theft and diversion.
According to the source, while Jonathan was in power, he was aware that certain persons close to him and coming under the guise of the protection of his government were involved in high scale oil theft.
Another source from the security outfit currently interrogating some key personalities of the past administration disclosed that one of them that was detained and later released told security agencies the Jonathan administration was quite privy to crude oil theft using some government agencies and individuals as fronts.
Daily Sun was told that the administration acted in compromise while the theft lasted and never did much in checking the agencies, individuals and security fronts used in the theft.
“There is no individual that would have access to the crude oil loading terminals, bring in a vessel and load the product and set sail to the high seas without being caught. We have several agencies of government from the petroleum corporation to the conventional security bodies like the Navy and other government bodies that patrol the territorial waters, even private security outfits.
“So it is practically impossible that someone would beat all these hurdles unaided and sail out with loads of crude oil. The government was aware of the people involved and when or where the crude oil was taken. The neighbouring countries we share common sea boundaries with also knew that the Nigerian government under Jonathan merely compromised in the theft,” our source said.
Contrary to the position of the Ife Royal Council, SaharaReporters can confirm that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has died at St. Mary's Hospital in the Paddington area of London.
Family sources told SaharaReporters on Tuesday that the Oba, who was diabetic, was rushed to London last Friday after his health deteriorated.
The Royal Council of Ife today issued a statement describing the Ooni as being “hale and hearty", but that claim is untrue, one of our sources said. According to tradition, only the Council has the right to announce the passing-away of the Ooni.
The 85-year old Royal Father assumed the post of Ooni of Ife in 1980 as the 55th Ooni of Ife.
Controversy has trailed the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II as the Royal Traditional Council,RTC, of the town, Wednesday, said the paramount ruler is alive and in good state of health.
The RTC, which comprises of all traditional chiefs and title holders in Ile-Ife, said Oba Sijuade is not only in a good state of health but added that the royal father was preparing for his son’s wedding holding Sunday, next week, in Lagos.
Sources close to the foremost traditioner ruler told Vanguard at the palace that the traditional wedding of the new couple took place last weekend in London.
Addressing newsmen in the House of Chiefs located within the premises of Ile-Oodua palace of the Ooni, Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola who spoke in Yoruba, said the report in the media that the monarch died in a London Hospital of an undisclosed ailment,was untrue.
Also speaking, the secretary Royal Traditional Council of Ife, who is also the Ladin of Ife, High Chief Adetoye Odewole, said the Ooni is hale and hearty and he even spoke to the chiefs on the phone few hours earlier.
He added “those behind the death story are enemies of Ife and as I speak with you, the chiefs have not heard anything like that. This is not the first time such rumour will be carried about our father.
“They did it in 1984, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Oba Sijuade remains in sound state of health”.
Chairman, Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, said Ife as a town with a rich tradition has its way of managing its affairs.
Opeloye maintained that the royal father was preparing for his son’s wedding, urging people not to panic and go about their normal daily activities.
Meanwhile, the entrance of the Ooni’s palace was shut to visitors, as only newsmen, chiefs and relations of Oba Sijuade were allowed into the premises.
Many indigenes and residents of Ife had converged on the palace but were prevented from going in by the guards.
Meanwhile, the Osun state government is yet to make official statement concerning the demise of the monarch.
But the Osun State House of Assembly has expressed its sympathy to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, state council of Traditional rulers and chiefs, the good people of ancient city of Ile Ife and the immediate and extended families of the late Oba Okunade Sijwade Olubuse, the Ooni of Ife as the great King joined his ancestors.
In a statement issued by the Speaker’s spokesman, Mr. Goke Butika, the parliament “in a condolence message by the Speaker, Mr Najeem Salaam “expressed his regret and shock over the transition of the natural ruler to the silent land of his forebear, saying the engine room of royalty and the custody of Yoruba cosmology has just been temporarily grounded by the clog of death”.
“We celebrate the life and time of the great king, Oba Sijuwade, attesting that the monarch exuded unique royalty almost equivalent of imperial culture that could not be rivaled while he called the shot on the revered stool of his fathers”.
“The parliament then sent its condolence to the governor over the loss of the monarch and prayed that the Supreme Eludumare, the Cherisher of Aiye would rest the late natural father”,the statement added.