Thursday 28 February 2013

NSUK Students Shot Dead: Army Denied Involvement

At least four protesting students of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) were shot dead and four others injured, Monday 25th February, 2013. It was widely reported that the four students were cold-bloodedly murdered when soldiers and policemen fired shots to disperse students who were protesting over lack of water at the university.  

According to the Student Union leader, Rabiu Omame Tijani, the protest started impulsively at about 7.30am by few students at their hostels but soon snowballed and spilled into the street.

 “The protesting students who were chanting “No Water, No Road”, blocked the Keffi – Akwanga road and disrupted traffic for hour”, Tijani disclosed. He said that all efforts by the University’s Registrar, Mamma Dalhatu and the Chief security Officer, John Aboh to calm the irate students proved abortive, until armed security personnel came in to break off the riot and disperse the crowd.

Confirming the shooting, an official of the Federal Medical Center Keffi, Jamilu Nagogo told newsmen that six people were brought with gunshot injuries, one of them already dead while one other person died later at the hospital.

The Nasarawa State Police Spokesman, DSP Michael Ada, confirmed that there was shooting but said he was only aware that two students were injured. The University Spokesman, Jamil Zakari on his part disclosed that he heard of the shooting but could not confirm by who or any deaths.

In a rather stanch statement, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the government to hold those who participated directly or indirectly in the cold-blooded murder of the four students.

In the statement, the NLC President, Abdulwahed I. Omar said, “The government should fish them out immediately and prosecute them in line with the laws of the land”.

But, in its official reaction, the Nigerian Army has denied reports that its troops killed four students of the Nasarawa State University who were protesting lack of basic amenities in the institution, adding that its soldiers did not shoot any of the students during the protest.

Speaking after the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, received the Indian Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Krishna Singh, in his office, the director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Ibrahim Attahiru said the Army killed no student.

He narrated that, “On February 25, 2013, students of Nasarawa State University came out en mass and barricaded the Keffi-Akwanga expressway, which is part of the 177 Guards Battalion patrol routes. This road was blocked with logs of wood and burning tyres which hampered vehicular movement, leaving travellers stranded for hours and numerous vehicles damaged by the violent crowd.

“It was also reported that the irate crowd were looting travellers’ belongings and throwing stones, bottles and metal objects at the security operatives. However, it is believed that the protest was hijacked by some hoodlums and cult members who are students of the university.

“As a result, the violent crowd burnt down two vehicles at the Police Station located across the campus and seized a tanker loaded with fuel with the intention of burning down the Police Station.

“The combined efforts of 177 Guards Battalion with others security operatives prevented the hoodlums from this act. The violent action of the crowd led to three soldiers of 177 Guards Battalion sustaining various degrees of injuries from the stones, bottles and metals thrown at them.

“It is important to note that the combined efforts of the troops in conjunction with other security agencies assisted in dispersing the crowd and removing the blockades from the road to ease movement of vehicles. Presently, law and order have been restored in the area and troops are closely monitoring the situation.”   

When asked why soldiers and not police were called to quell students’ riot, Attahiru said “You are aware of the problem of communal clashes in Nasarawa State. Troops are on patrol to checkmate the killings and violence, so the Vice Chancellor did not need to invite soldiers on patrol who ran into the blockade on a major highway and were engaging in violence,”

“In any case, let me repeat, our troops did not shoot any student during the protest. We are very well trained professionals. Since we did not use live ammunitions, I do not know how we would have shot anybody. Our troops were not in any way involved in the shooting”, he emphasized.

Over the years the problems associated with police capability to control crowd have continue to mount. Whenever an initial incident erupts into a major crowd control problem, most police divisions in Nigeria are confronted with a difficult manpower problem. To hide the shortfalls in number and quality of uniformed personnel available for swift deployment, the military is always beckoned and the fallout disastrous because military orientation and training is not to control crowd or quench riots by armless citizens.  

Dispersal is also a factor. Normal police operations require personnel to be distributed over the entire geographical area of a state or city. When disorder erupts, the task of mobilizing all available manpower becomes enormous. The Commissioner of Police in charge of the State or Divisional Police Officer in charge of the division, as the case may be, must weigh the need for police to control the riot against the risk of leaving vital areas of the city or state without police protection in the meantime.

Most cities in Nigeria do not have enough policemen quickly available to assure control in the event of a sudden large disorder, coupled with poor training, discipline and command deficiencies, undefined police tactic which is responsible for most use of deadly force when the situation did not call for it are among the very problems that the authority must address if we must witness less of fatalities during peaceful protests in Nigeria.

As the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Abdulwahed I. Omar said, “the nation must invest in lasting and durable facilities early enough in order to avoid some ‘fire brigade approach’”.

That is, government must place high premium on the capacity of the police to prevent disorder through the provision of appropriate quantity and quality of personnel, technology and welfare as well as the promotion of security and welfare of the citizens. Towards this end, “government must re-discover its values and inspire its younger generation….”

Emergencies are anticipated in police planning. They range from natural threats like the recent floods that devastated many states of the country to man-made incidents like the recent protests by the students of Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
In the civilized world, only law enforcement agents with the appropriate temperament, education and training relevant to students’ psychology are usually deployed to campuses.

To get to the root of the matter the Nasarawa State House of Assembly yesterday Thursday, 29th February, 2013, set up a committee to investigate the killing of the University students.

The house’s decision followed the motion by member representing Udege Constituency in the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Mohammed Ibaku under matter of public interest. The law maker said that students had the fundamental human rights to protest against water scarcity on their campus.

 He condemned the killing of the students, stressing that, “what happened in Keffi leading to the killing of the students was unfortunate, uncalled for and ungodly. The students have the right to protest against lack of water, as it is legitimate.

“It is better to use the police to maintain law and order when students are protesting than to use the military personnel.

“I condemned the killing of the students in its totality, the perpetrators of the act will not go unpunished”, he said.

Member representing Kokona East Constituency Hon. Dogara Sa’aka seconded the motion, adding that the investigation would identify the perpetrators of the act and recommend appropriate punishments.

Sa’aka said that water was essential to human life, adding that, “he who provides water provides life”.

Honorable Sa’aka queried the rationale behind sending soldiers to the university’s campus in place of the police.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the house for the setting up of the probe committee.

In his response, the Speaker of the House, Alhaji Musa Ahmed, directed the House Committees on Education, Security and Water Resources to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incident.

The House also condoled with the families of the deceased for the irreparable loss of their loved ones; and observed a minute silence for those who lost their lives during the fatal protest. 

In the same vein,  on Tuesday, 26th February, 2013, the Federal House of Representatives, charged its Committees on Army, Security and Police Affairs to undertake a thorough investigation into the killing of the four protesting students of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi by soldiers deployed to quell the protests. The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, asked the panel to report to the chamber within two weeks for further legislative action.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

JTF in Borno State Making Progress in War against Terrorism

There are indications that the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State is making progress in the war against terrorism. The Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, Borno State capital said they have recorded a major breakthrough in its war against terrorism with the killing of a top commander of the Boko Haram insurgents and three of his lieutenants, Monday, 25th February, 2013, in Maiduguri. Also reported was the arrest of three other members of the terrorists group by the JTF during its operation “cordon and search” at the Kasuwan Kaji areas of Maiduguri.

In addition, the JTF recovered an accumulation of arms and ammunition after the two hours operation in the area.  According to the Spokesman of the JTF, Lt-Col. Sagir Musa, the killed commander of the Boko Haram Islamist sect was behind the recent bomb blasts and attacks on JTF patrol vehicles at the Post Office Areas and Gambouru areas of Maiduguri, which killed and injured some civilians, soldiers and policemen.

Lt-Col. Musa disclosed in a statement that the recovered arms and ammunition include three each of AK47 rifles and magazines, two Dane-guns, 36 rounds of ammunition, two bows and 18 arrows, and assorted materials for making of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The statement read in part, “The operation was intended to arrest a top Boko Haram terrorist’s commander and his group believed to have come into Maiduguri from Kano to cause havoc. The commander and his three lieutenants lost their lives during an exchange of gunfire. Three other terrorists were arrested and are in JTF custody undergoing interrogations”.  

In the meantime, gunmen on Monday night invaded the Ngelzarma Motor Park in Fune Local Government Area of the State, killing seven members of the community vigilance group and injuring three others.

Yakubu Yahaya, an eye witness, narrated that the gunmen stormed the Motor Park while the vigilance group was holding its inaugural meeting. He said that the Ngelzarma community recently constituted a vigilance group to compliment security agencies’ efforts towards protecting lives and properties in the area.

Also speaking on the incident, the Chairman of Fune Local Government Area,Digma Gana, added that apart from the seven dead victims, three others were injured. 

MOPOL Commander Assassinated in Kano

Similarly, bandits, on Tuesday, 26th February, 2013, killed the Commander the Mobile Police – MOPOL 9 Kano, Superintendent of Police (SP) Dahiru Musa Magiya, at his Sabo Wargandu Quarters in Kano.

An eye witness revealed that the five-man gang invaded the commander’s residence in a dramatic manner at about 8.40pm. “We saw them (the gunmen) walking inside the compound and they were received by the gateman. Most of us thought they were visitors or the commander’s friends. But suddenly, we heard gunshots. In a short while, they all came out of the compound and started shooting sporadically before they fled”.

The Kano State Police Commissioner, Musa Daura, who confirmed the incident, nevertheless, assured that the assailants would soon be apprehended, noting that the commandant’s death was most regrettable. 

Bomb Scare in Kaduna State

Meanwhile, there was confusion in Kaduna yesterday, 26th February, 2013 following a bomb scare in Kachia Local Government Area of the state. It was gathered that an object suspected to be bomb exploded at a refuse dump in the area and forced residents to scuttle for safety in Kachia. The incident came on the heels of last Saturday’s attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen at the Aduwan Gida Village in Zango-Kataf Local Government Area of the state killing five people, including a 6-year-old child and his mother. The bomb scare occurred just as the Governor of Kaduna State, Ramallan Yero was visiting residents of Aduwan village on Saturday to condole with the victims of the recent attacks.


Ex-Militants Protest in Yenagoa Bayelsa State

In the same vein, there was pandemonium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State as ex-militants who claimed that they have been short-changed after surrendering weapons to security agencies took to the Melford Okilo highway, attacking innocent people and destroying properties. 

Eye witnesses told newsmen that some of the ex-militants that believed the method being adopted by the Inter Agency Task Force set up by the Chief of Defence Staff to verify weapons surrendered to security agencies so that those who turned in their arms could have their names sent to the Amnesty Office would affect them, mobilized and started violent protest.

It took the intervention of the armed policemen attached to the security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo, to save the situation as they dispersed the protesting ex-militants. 


Recently, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim said the news that some countries are sponsoring terrorists against Nigeria is fact that must be treated with caution in order not to create confusion.


He disclosed that the security situation deserved to be properly managed as such challenge is not to be celebrated in the media.


While answering questions from pressmen at the Aguiyi Ironsi Sports Complex, Brigade of Guards Headquarters, Asokoro, Abuja, Admiral Ibrahim said, “We are keeping close to our chest what is being done. We are the victims and what you should note is that, it pains this country especially, when some elements begin to create an environment that appears unsafe for foreigners in this country”.  When confronted with question concerning the abduction of expatriates at Bauchi, he said, “We are doing something about it and in due course you will get to know of the outcome”.  


The Chief of Air Staff (COAS), Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh has equally reassured Nigerians that the Nigerian Air Force was ready to combat the challenges of terrorism in the country as well as the low intensity conflicts rocking some parts of the West African sub-region.


Air Marshal   Badeh spoke to reporters at the weekend in Kano, shortly after a two-day working visit to the Nigerian Air Force Units in the state,  where he commissioned a golf course, held Durbar with the officers, inspected the Air Force Comprehensive School in Kwa, Kano State, and visited  the 349 Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Kano.


He said that the Nigerian Air Force was prepared and ready to carry out its constitutional duties at any given time, while urging Nigerians to be rest assured of their safety. In his words, “What is happening in Nigeria (terrorism) is actually new but we are up to the task. How prepared are we? We have our airplanes deployed. We have our men deployed too. Wherever there is a small problem, they tell us and we dash there with our airplanes and merge up with the army and take care of the situation” he emphasized.


In a related development, a source close to one of the security agencies revealed that the Presidency has directed that proactive measures be taken to preempt further abduction of expatriates in the country.  

Not long ago, the Chief of Army Staff Azubike Ihejirika revealed, that our security agencies are aware that Nigerian insurgents are already working with their Malian counterparts.


Recently, in Abuja, the State Security Service (SSS) disclosed that it has uncovered a terror cell operated by Iranian-trained Nigerian terrorists in Lagos State.  Parading the suspects, the SSS said that the three men; 50-year-old Berende, Sulaiman Saka and Saheed Adewunmi were working for Iranian terrorists planning to attack American and Israeli interests in the country. The report also said that on the hit list of the terrorists are prominent Nigerian citizens including former military President – General Ibrahim Babangida, the deposed Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki and others.


The chief suspect, Berende was quoted to have told reporters at the SSS Headquarters on Wednesday that he had carried out surveillance for the Iranians.

But, in a rather swift reaction to the allegation on Friday 22, February, 2013, Iran denied the allegation that it had trained militants arrested in Nigeria on charges of planning attacks on American and Israeli targets in Nigeria.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran Deputy Foreign Minister said such allegations were "made up as the result of the ill will of the enemies of the two countries' good relations", Iranian State Television reported.


"Iran and Nigeria have friendly and close relations and despite the vast efforts of the two countries' enemies in recent years, relations and cooperation have always improved," Amir-Abdollahian said.  


In 2004, Israeli sources said an Iranian diplomat was arrested on suspicion of spying on the Israeli embassy in Nigeria's capital Abuja. Tehran denied any arrest.

In 2010, authorities at the Lagos port found a hidden shipment of rockets, rifles, ammunition and other weapons from Iran, supposedly bound for Gambia. A Nigerian and an Iranian face criminal charges over the shipment.

No one claims or accepts an agent whose cover has been blown. But, as Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim warned, “the news that some countries are sponsoring terrorists against Nigeria is fact that must be treated with caution in order not to create confusion”. (Emphasis mine).


A terrorist does not actually have to explode a bomb or hijack a plane or kidnap a President in order to carry out a terrorist attack. A false bomb threat can be a terrorist attack. A sham or misleading information concerning existence of an imaginary terror cell can be a terrorist attack.


In 2002 there was a false alarm about “Five Illegal Men”. It all started on December 29, 2002, when the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) issued an alert to law enforcement agencies across the United States of America to help find five (5) Middle Eastern men who were believed to have recently entered the country illegally. The bureau posted photographs of the men and said they had come to the attention of the authorities in connection with current investigations.


The five men identified as having entered America sometimes around December 24 were Abid Noraiz Ali, 24;  Iftikhar Khozmai Ali, 21; Mustafa Khan Owasi, 33; Adil Pervez, 19; and Akbar Jamal, 28. By New Year’s Eve, the FBI’s website had the photos of the five illegal men with the words in all uppercase letters, “SEEKING INFORMATION, WAR ON TERRORISM”.


On January 2, 2003, President Bush got into the act, saying that he had personally authorized the “all-points bulletin” for the five men who might have been smuggled across the Canadian border in connection with a terrorist plot. In New York City, the police increased their counterterrorist efforts as a result of the warning.


The President told Americans that, “We need to know why they have been smuggled into the country, what they’re doing in the country. And the American people need to know there’s a lot of good people working hard, whether it be on New York’s Eve or any other time, to protect the American people”.


But, the “Case of the Five Illegal Men” started to fall apart when a man in Pakistan said that one of the photos could not be of a terrorist who had illegally entered the United States, because the photo was of him, and he had the mole on his cheek to prove it.


A week afterwards, authorities concluded that the tale was a fabrication, the invention of a man arrested in Canada on charges of trafficking in stolen traveler’s cheques and running a passport counterfeiting ring. The truth was that, no such group had attempted to enter the United States of America.


It was thorough intelligence operations and examination of the polygraph of Michael John Hamdani, the man who started the hoax, an alleged immigrant smuggler in Canadian custody, that led senior FBI officials to conclude that the entire episode had been false. 


Yet the damage had been done. America and Americans were put on their toes for as long as the mastery surrounding the “five men” was unsolved. Security was stretched, citizen’s fear was elevated, movements were restricted, and businesses were somehow paralyzed for the time being of the hoax.  


It is in view of the foregoing that we should all take the advice of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim seriously by treating the news that some countries are sponsoring terrorists against Nigeria with caution in order not to create confusion.


Tuesday 26 February 2013


The “Lawful Interception of Communications Regulations” of the Federal Government of Nigeria permits the National Communication Commission (NCC) to tap telephone lines with the goal of monitoring communications in the country. It empowered the Police State Security Services (SSS) and other security agencies to intercept phone calls, internet, SMS and other electronic communications to filter information that may be useful to security operations.

The regulation is designed to make it easier for the Nigeria intelligence community and law enforcement agencies to prevent terrorists’ attacks in Nigeria and against Nigeria interests abroad.

This regulation was received by Nigerians with two contending and conflicting feelings – that of hope of being safe and that of concern for surrendering his freedoms to feel secure.   A provision of the regulation states clearly that, “It shall be lawful for any law enforcement agency to intercept communications pursuant to any enactment for the time being in force and these regulations, if the interception relates to the use of a communication service provided by a licensee (network operator) to persons in Nigeria; or the interception relates to the use of a communication service provided by a licensee to a person outside Nigeria”.

The NCC said that any network operator by these s shall not be liable in any criminal proceedings of any nature for any damage, loss, cost or expenditure suffered or to be suffered (whether directly or indirectly) for any act or omission done in good faith in the performance of the duty imposed under these regulations.  The agency bears all the responsibility alone but however warn licensees (network operators) that noncompliance with this regulation would attract serious penalty. “If a licensee or any of its officers, managers, chief executive officer, secretary or other similar officers of the licensee or its officers shall be liable to a fine of N5,000,000 and if such an offence is continuing, such a licensee or officer shall be liable to a daily penalty of N500,000,” NCC stated. What this means is that the security agencies can kick off demand as may be considered necessary from any network operator to intercept conversation of any suspect in the course of criminal investigations.  

Nigeria is not alone in this race to protect its citizens both at home and abroad from terrorists’ attacks. Several civilized countries of the world with higher security awareness have adopted similar practice.

The USA Patriot Act passed by the 107th Congress otherwise known as “Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” allows more electronic surveillance and wiretapping of private citizens. The law although strongly criticized by civil liberties advocates broadened America security agencies’ phone and electronic surveillance authority and made it easier for the government to obtain phone, Internet, and even business records. This legislation which was passed less than two months after the 9/11 is considered to be a vital tool to help prevent terrorism directed at America citizens and American interests.

The America Homeland Security Act passed in 2002 which created the Department of Homeland Security designed to protect critical national infrastructure and focus US resources on protecting the safety of US citizens and respond to emergencies, shielded Internet service providers from customer lawsuits if providers share private subscriber data with law enforcement agencies. The Act empowered law enforcements to obtain information regarding private Internet subscribers without warrant. It also allowed law enforcement agencies to trace the location and identity of an Internet user suspected of posing an “imminent threat to national security interests”, or perpetrating attacks on “protected computers” both government machines and any system used in “interstate commerce or communication”.

In the United Kingdom the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 empowered security agencies to carry out surveillance and investigation; it covers the interception of communications, technological changes such as the growth of the Internet and strong encryption, and gives unlimited powers to security agencies who on  the grounds of “national security”, and for the purposes of detecting crime, preventing disorder, public safety, protecting public health, or in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom intercept any information that may be useful to security interests and operations.

Today, Nigeria is a growing global market for the communication industry. Nigeria is also a fast growing social media hotspot. Nigeria is also fast attracting a lot of religious extremists that are accelerating terrorist activities in the country. The number of telephone lines is rising by the day. By 2012 counts, there are 109 million telephone lines in Nigeria. Reports also have it that Nigeria had 48, 366, 176 number of Internet users and 6, 630,200 Facebook fans, and the highest in Africa. Nigeria is said to be the third largest users of twitter globally.

No doubt, the right to privacy, long cherished by Nigerians and guaranteed by Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is being compromised by the Lawful Interception of Communications Regulations and more of such legislations that will be unfolding from time to time as terrorists and criminals expand their scope and modus operandi the government device new means and laws to check them and their activities in the country.   

Again, there is this fear that political opponents and those considered radicals will be unfairly target for surveillance.

Besides, what is the guarantee that network operators will not intercept private communication or give such information to wrong persons? Many Nigerians have continued to border. There is need for appropriate regulations to ensure that the privacy of Nigerians, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, etc are protected from dubious elements in the system who may like to use this method to collect information about innocent people to victimize or target and attack.

 The Lawful Interception of Communications Regulations is the Federal Government of Nigeria’s counterterrorism and crime prevention strategy that should be welcomed by all, in view of the emergent trends in insecurity and criminality in the country. Governments at all levels on their part should make sure that this strategy is leak-proof, the procedure well defined and operators trained to protect innocent people from being victims of this good intention.

While we depend on our military and law enforcement to defend and protect us, we also must do our part. We must give a little of our freedom to get more of protection! Safety comes before freedom! One cannot be free in the face of danger!

Youth Council Donates Sanitation Materials to Community

The Ebgalor Youth Council in Eleme, Saturday , 23rd February, 2013,  donated sanitation materials worth over N1 million to Egbalor Community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Presenting the materials which include Refuse-Bins, Waste Baskets, Shovels, Wheelbarrows, Rakes, Reflecting Jackets, etc., Egbalor Youth Council President, Comrade Trust Nkporon  said the materials was donated “ fulfillment of his electioneering campaign promise” and expressed the conviction that the materials would go a long way towards making Egbalor Community “a ‘little paradise’, here on earth.” 

Responding, the Women Leader of the Community, Chief Mrs. Charity Nchoo-Obo Ngbonwi thanked the youth for embarking on community services. In her words, “We are glad that while youths of other communities engage themselves in cult activities, violence and other vices, Egbalor youths have continued to contribute meaningfully towards community well-being and rendering of selfless services to both citizens and residents of Ebgalor”.

 The Chairman of the occasion, Engineer Simeon Nwaforllor while praising the youths for contributing the sanitation materials to the community, urged the beneficiaries, especially the traders to put them into appropriate use so as to keep the environment clean and healthy.

Also speaking, the special guest at the occasion and representative of the Professional Protectors Platform – 3Ps GROUP 101, Chief Osaro Ollorwi commended the community youths for “choosing wise counsel and good direction”, and advised them to always  “work with the community leaders to effect positive change,  promote peaceful coexistence and social order, and uphold the culture of cleanliness and healthy living”, stressing that the “critical roles of youths as pivot upon which community development and growth as well as leadership succession nurturing revolves cannot be overemphasized”, he reiterated.  

The occasion which attracted dignities across Eleme was witness by His Royal Highness Emere Obariwite Nchimonwi, the Oneh Eh Odido in Council, representatives of the Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Hon. Oji N. Ngofa and Hon. Josaiah Olu, Member representing Eleme Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, and other dignities.  

Sunday 24 February 2013

Costs of Nigeria’s Military Campaign in Mali

Counting the cost of Nigeria’s participation in the ongoing African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) now may appear premature or untimely but, periodic reviewing of the costs of any project or program guides the operators to work within limits, points out odd areas and allows for appropriate adjustments to accommodate deviations. Nigeria’s foreign policy must be Africa centered and driven by eco-military strategy for her to assume her rightful place in the committee of nations. This strategy may not be appreciated by all and sundry now but soon all will applaud it.

It could be recalled that recently President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan revealed that the Federal Government of Nigeria has already committed a total of US$34 million, about N7 million to the immediate deployment of troops and logistics in crisis ridden Mali.

President Jonathan disclosed this at the end of the Donors’ Conference organized during the 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently. He also announced another donation of US$5 million, about N800 million, as further assistance to halt the advance of Islamic terrorists in Mali, restore law and order and return the country to normalcy, bringing the total amount spent on Mali crisis to N7.8 billion.

According to President Jonathan, Nigeria has already deployed 900 combat soldiers and 300 Airforce personnel to Mali as part of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).

He unveiled that Nigeria had before now used about US$2 million of the amount spent so far for humanitarian relief and supplies. He told the august-gathering that the additional US$5 million pledge which was in response to the call for more donations was a further expression of Nigeria’s commitment to the international effort to restore normality in Mali.

“Nigeria has also undertaken the reconstruction and refurbishment of a number of medical clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention to the tune of US$5.5 million”, he revealed.

Outside the financial cost of Mali operation, Nigeria has continued to pay in irreparable human currency; reputation and security rating as the Islamic terrorists – Boko Haram disclaimed ceasefire and intensify destruction of lives and properties across northern Nigeria.      

On January 19, at 6 am, in Kogi State, the Mujahideen of Jama'atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (JAMBS) attacked Mali-bound Nigerian troops, killing 2 army officers and wounding 8 others. Military vehicles were blown up.

The decisions of the leadership to commit Nigerian troops and resources to Mali did not go down well with all Nigerians. Many have questioned the rationale while others have bluntly condemned both the decision and the actions that followed it. And one Nigerian nationalist who will never hide his feelings is the first civilian governor of the old Kaduna State and leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa. He did not only condemn the war against the Malian Islamic terrorists group but described it as imperialist war. To the elder statesman, “We already have enough problems here….We have already over 20 million graduates who are unemployed, it is a very large number and it can pose a serious problem for the country. The money that should be used in creating jobs for the youths is now channeled to an adventure overseas.” He told Dominic Uzu of the National Daily that, “Nigeria government…spent more than one quarter of the annual budget on security and with our involvement in Mali war, the vote for security may be larger. If that happens, it means we will have very little left for social welfare and development. That again can create larger problems more than the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency”.

The real cost of Nigeria’s military intervention will be emerging in the coming months and this includes the cost of manning our porous borders in terms of additional manpower, training, technology, and welfare or motivation; the cost of keeping off the retreating Malian Islamist insurgents who may want to join their Nigerian counterparts – Boko Haram in northern Nigeria; the cost of protecting Nigerians and Nigeria interests abroad, etc.

The disclosure by State Security Service (SSS), recently in Abuja that it has uncovered a terror cell operated by Iranian-trained Nigerian terrorists in Lagos State is a pointer to more items of increment in the cost of emerging security threats.  Don’t ask me why because parading the suspects, the SSS said that the three men; 50-year-old Berende, Sulaiman Saka and Saheed Adewunmi were working for Iranian terrorists planning to attack Americans and Israelis in the country. The report also said that on the hit list of the terrorists are prominent Nigerian citizens including former military President – General Ibrahim Babangida, the deposed Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki and others.
The revelation that there are presence of Sudan, Yemen, and Somali terrorists cells in Nigeria will also add to the cost of not only containing these cells but eliminating them.
Not long ago, the Chief of Army Staff Azubike Ihejirika revealed, that our security agencies are aware that Nigerian insurgents are already working with their Malian counterparts and the threats emerging from Mali as a result of the possible final dislodgement of the Malian insurgents (Tuareg separatist) comprising the three Islamist groups now active in northern Mali – Ansar Dine, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad that were beefed up by an influx of mercenary fighters from Libya following the fall of Gaddafi but failed to tell us how this threats are to be managed, perhaps, for security reasons. And if I may ask, how prepared are our security forces to contain the likely upsurge in insecurity in the next few months? How will the country foot this bill? How will the rising cost of security be managed visa-vise social welfare and developmental pursue?

The answers to these questions are necessary as we prepare for the days ahead!

Saturday 23 February 2013

Nigeria Government Raises Panel on Commercial Explosive Control


Following current security challenges facing the country and especially the recent explosives induced blast in Lagos, the Federal Government of Nigeria has constituted a panel to check lapses in the importation, transportation, storage, sale, use and handling of “commercial explosives” in the country.

The Honorable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada said that the Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee consisting of relevant ministries and security agencies has been mandated to review control of importation of ammonium nitrate and blasting accessories used in the formation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) by terrorists.

Speaking Thursday 21 February, 2013 in Abuja, the Minister said at a meeting that is was imperative that explosives, hitherto regarded as indispensable materials used in the mining sector do not get into the wrong hands. He blamed the private sector for the indiscriminate proliferation of such sensitive commodities while citing the tragic explosive detonations in Lagos recently.

“You are all aware; IEDs have been widely applied by terrorists in causing considerable damage to lives and properties especially in Northern part of the country”, he disclosed.

Although the impacts of the Government’s decision will be great on industries, especially those that rely on “commercial explosives” for their businesses, consumers of their products and services and the general public, but, I want us to share the concern of the Government and the move to guarantee the “welfare and security” of the people, not minding whose toes are stepped upon.Although the impacts of the Government's decision will be great on industries especially those that rely on "commercial explosives" for their businesses, consumers of their products and services and the general public, but we share the concern of Government and the decision to guarantee public safety and security irrespective of whose toe is stepped upon. Although the impacts of the Government's decision will be great on industries especially those that rely on "commercial explosives" for their businesses, consumers of their products and services and the general public, but we share the concern of Government and the decision to guarantee public safety and security irrespective of whose toe is stepped upon. Although the impacts of the Government's decision will be great on industries especially those that rely on "commercial explosives" for their businesses, consumers of their products and services and the general public, but we share the concern of Government and the decision to guarantee public safety and security irrespective of whose toe is stepped upon.    

Nigerian Security Agencies Intensify Search for Abducted French Nationals

Nigerian security forces have said they have narrowed in on the area where the Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, have held the French hostages, kidnapped earlier this week.
Members of a Joint Task Force (JTF), in-charge of maintaining the peace in the lawless region, also moved into the area in order to conduct the rescue operations.
Sources said that the hostages are being held somewhere in the north-eastern part of the country, close to its border with Cameroon.
"I can confirm based on intelligence that the kidnappers are currently in some bush enclaves between Dikwa and Gamboru-Ngala border village," said a security officer who did not want to be named.
"We have given the JTF squad all the necessary intelligence and they are working seriously towards rescuing the French nationals without any incidence of losing anyone of them," he added.

Some residents of Dikwa have also confirmed sighting the abducted French nationals. A Dikwa community resident, who spoke under anonymity, disclosed that the French nationals were seen being transferred into an unmarked vehicle on the Dikwa-Gambouru road when the one they were being transported broke down. “I cannot tell which direction the vehicle zoomed off to on the Dikwa-Gambouru road, but seven white people were among those coming down from the broken vehicle and entering another”, the source said.


The seven French tourists were abducted in northern Cameroon while on tour and later taken into Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.


While we commend the efforts of the Nigerian security agencies to track down the perpetrators of this deadly disgraceful act, we urge them to do everything humanly possible to rescuing the seven French nationals as soon as possible without losing anyone of them.


The world is one global village and it is our conviction that mankind have the rights to walk the nooks and crannies of this global village without molestation or victimization of any kind. Nigeria is a safe country with the exception of some few disgruntled elements masquerading to cause havoc in some parts of Northern Nigeria and Government is doing everything to contain these criminals.   

Monday 18 February 2013

Boko Haram's Many National Embarrassments

Boko Haram will never stop to embarrass Nigeria. The Islamists jihadists will never end to shock the international community.  Boko Haram terrorists have continued its deadly attacks despite declaration of ceasefire.

On Sunday 17th February, 2013 gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents stormed the premises of a Lebanese construction company SETRACO, in Jama’are Local Government Area of Bauchi State, killing a security guard and kidnapping eight foreigners. Among those kidnapped were a Briton, an Italian, a Greek, and five Lebanese workers, including a woman and a child.

Apart from confirming the incident, the Bauchi Police Commissioner, Mohammed Ladan said that the gunmen attacked a police station and a prison overnight before storming the construction company’s premises.

“We repelled the attack on the police station and the security men at the prison yard repelled the attack, but they burnt two vehicles in Jama’are Police Station”, Ladan disclosed. “They then attack SETRACO Construction, killed a security guard and succeeded in kidnapping people”, he confirmed, but declined to disclose the identity of the people kidnapped, adding that he will only give details of the kidnapped workers of the company after investigations.

The Chairman of Jama’are Local Government Area, Alhaji Adamu Aliyu, revealed that the eight people kidnapped in SETRACO Construction Company are expatriates.

Speaking to pressmen in Bauchi on the incident, Aliyu said, “Among the workers kidnapped were one from Britain, one from Greece, one from Italy, while the remaining five are Lebanese”.

Earlier this month, nine polio vaccinators were shot dead at two health centers in Kano State; one at the Kauyen Alu Primary Health Care, Unguwa Uku in Tarauni Local Government Council and Hotoron Haye in Nasarawa Local Government Council of the State. The suspected Boko Haram terrorists who rode on a tricycle popularly known as “Keke NAPEP” simultaneously opened fire on the health workers, killing nine of them, mostly women, and injuring six others.

On Monday, 18th February, 2013 gunmen invaded Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, killing a number of policemen and burning down the Divisional Police Headquarters.


The attack was reported to have started at about 6.30p.m when the armed terrorists stormed the town and took the policemen on duty by surprise, shooting and throwing some Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) into the police station. They sacked the police station, set the Kondugal Divisional Police Headquarters ablaze and killing an inspector and two others. The report also disclosed that the official vehicle of the slain police inspector alongside several other vehicles at the station were burnt. Although there has not been any official confirmation of the incident and the details of the casualty, the development is as worrisome as it is embarrassing. The report that the Divisional Police Headquarters ran out of ammunitions with which to repel the attacks tells much of the sorrowful state of our police in the face of rising terrorists operations in the country.

On Tuesday, 19th February, 2013, the Boko Haram fundamentalist group also kidnapped seven French citizens, all members of the same family on holiday in the Cameroon village of Dabange near Nigeria border. Those kidnapped include a couple, their four children aged 5, 8, 10 and 12 years and an uncle employee of GDF Suez, a French utility giant based in Yaoundé, the Cameroon capital.  

The French president, Francois Holande blamed the Al Qaeda allied Boko Haram fundamentalist group based in Nigeria for the kidnapping of the seven hostages taken from Cameroon’s far north close to the Waza National Park and Lake Chad – both popular tourists’ attraction sites.

Holande disclosed during a visit to Greece that “They have been taken by a terrorist group that we know and that is in Nigeria”. He emphasized that, “I see the hand of Boko Haram in that part of Cameroon”.

The Boko Haram’s continual attacks in northern Nigeria proceeding the 28 January, 2013 unilateral ceasefire declaration has put a big question mark on the group’s sincerity and preparedness to end hostility.

On the other hand, close observations revealed that, perhaps, both the press and the authorities are conniving to exonerate the Boko Haram terrorists group from the ongoing atrocities in northern Nigeria.  Not Boko Haram then who? What is the difference between JAMBS and Boko Haram? Is it not the same Islamists fundamentalist group masqerading with both names? Or, who are these so-called “unknown gunmen”? The truth must be told. These ongoing attacks are the handiwork of Boko Haram insurgents and not mere criminal gangs as some of us would want to infer. Except Boko Haram’s leadership proves otherwise.

Furthermore, the attacks are replica of Boko Haram’s – multiple attacks in succession; attack on law enforcements (such as the assault on police station and burning of vehicles and attack on prison yard), and kidnapping of expatriates – all revealed traces of Boko Haram’s modus operandi.        

These recent attacks coming few days after the ceasefire declaration are not only embarrassing to Nigeria but shocking to the international community who we will want to believe that there is ceasefire and perhaps ongoing dialogue to end hostility for good.  

Saturday 16 February 2013

Reducing the Risk of Workplace Violence

Over the years, efforts have been made to establish Industrial Estate System (IES) in Nigeria. By this development, large number of hectares of land is set aside, developed and stuffed with amenities such as water, light and roads so that industrialists can conveniently operate from there at cheaper rate to the economy.

Apart from concentrating facilities in such areas for the convenience of the industries, security is assumed to be provided for protection of company assets to maximize profit. Most of such places are fenced round, huge gates are installed, guards and police dogs are planted at the entry points to control intrusions and so on. In some places, the level of security has been increased to include outreach communications, police posts, strike forces, close circuit televisions (CCTV) system, etc.

Some of the prominent industrial estates in Nigeria established years ago include the Trans-Amadi Industrial Estate in Port Harcourt, Ikeja Industrial Estate in Lagos, Ekulu Industrial Estate in Enugu, etc.

Of late, Nigeria began to experiment with the Free Trade Zone concept which is aimed at creating an industrial zone with international conditions of manufacture. The Calabar Export Processing Zone in Cross Rivers State became a pioneer zone in this regard while the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone in Eleme, Rivers State was created in terms of import facilitation and manufacture of support products either for local oil and gas consumption or for export to the African region.

With over 192 multinational companies and government agencies operating in Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone territory including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Custom Service (NCS) and still counting, there have been constant reports of security breaches, skirmishes and threats attracting attentions of both local and international stakeholders.

The attempt to poll companies in one location as in the estate system has however brought its own peculiar problems especially in terms of security. As presence of banks often attracts robbers and violent criminals, the presence of oil and gas based multinational corporations who play their games in hard currencies must be expected to draw the nefarious attention of most criminals and hoodlums from within and without.

The workers in the Free Zone are used to being blocked most often on their way to work; gun-toting youths have often jumped from the corners to disrupt job processes and hold up those either going to work or going to carryout assigned functions.

The nearness of the Free Zone to the Onne Ports and Sea has also increased the Estate’s vulnerability rating; and any serious risk evaluation exercise would indicate high premiums. The long standing feud between communities of Eleme and Okrika is another factor worthy of serious security consideration.

Although employers are under obligation to prevent workplace violence and a legal and ethical duty to promote a work environment free from threats and violence, knowing to protect yourself, your property and your asset is crucial. In this age when anything can happen, anywhere, at anytime, it is important we get prepared, individually and collectively, to handle any situation. It takes real awareness of planning and diligence to stay on task and remain alive. The workplace is not only becoming more risky due to threats from outside but also as a result of threats from members of the workforce.


Effects of Workplace Violence

Workplace violence affects society as a whole. The economic cost which is difficult to measure with any precision is certainly substantial for employers. Violence can lead to poor morale and a poor image for the company, making it difficult to recruit and keep qualified staff. It can also mean extra cost with absenteeism, high insurance premiums and compensation payments.

To the employees, workplace violence can cause pains, distress and even disability or death. Physical attacks are obviously dangerous but serious and persistent verbal abuse or threats can also damage employee’s health through anxiety or stress. The ripples created by a single unfortunate act of violence can go beyond what is done to a particular victim to also damage trust and sense of security that affects every worker on the job.

In other words, the effects of violence do not disappear after the violent act and the harm is not only to the person attacked. Both the victim and other employees not directly affected by the crime, disaster or troubling incident may deserved counseling, help, comfort, information, and support to cushion the short and long term psychological trauma, fear of returning to work, changes in relationships with co-workers and family feelings of incompetence, guilt, powerlessness and fear of criticism by supervisors or managers.   

Prevention is better than Cure

Unfortunately, as with other security risks, it is easier to persuade Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to focus on the problem after a violent act has taken place than it is to get them to act before anything has happened. In any company, large or small, it is advisable to spot potential dangers and defuse them before violence develops. To manage workplace violence, it is better for management to plan for crisis, put appropriate policies, practices and structures to deal with them in place. These policies should incorporate pre-employment screening procedure, workplace culture, organizational settings, physical work environment, trade unions, procedure for dealing with victims and perpetrators, forging alliances and dissemination of best practices among the company publics.


What is Workplace Violence

When a person is abused, threatened, or assaulted or subjected to other abusive behavior in circumstances relating to work it is referred to as workplace violence. The workplace could be a shop, factory, hospital, filling station, office, bank, oilrig, school and so on.

Workplace violence which takes the form of assault, attack, threat to person or property, abuse, harassment, bulling, mobbing etc. can be categorized into the following:

1.      Violence acts by criminals who have no other connection with the workplace – complete outsiders like armed robbery.

2.      Violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, subjects, inmates or any other person for which an organization provides goods/services.

3.      Violence against co-workers, supervisors, or managers by a present or former employee or group of employees.

4.      Violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there but has a personal relationship with an employee – an abusive spouse, a domestic partner, a community member and so on.

Early this year, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Hazeem Shehu attached to Ajagba Divisional Police Station in Irele, Ondo State shot dead Inspector Adelakun Lawal at a beer palour in Ondo town after engaging each other in an argument that degenerated into hot verbal assaults.

Another example of fatal workplace violence is the havoc created by Adam Lanza, aged 20, in the USA on December 14, 2012. Reports have it that the young man first killed his mother at their shared home before taking her guns and driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, where he killed 20 school children aged six and seven, along with six adults, including four teachers, the Principal and the School Psychologist. Two others were injured in the attack. He then took his own life with one of the handguns as police arrived at the School

In 2012 alone, at least 67 journalists were killed globally in direct relation to their work. Recently, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the global labor group revealed that 15 million children work in Nigeria often in dangerous jobs, and many live in fear of violence from police and employers.

Sexual harassment is common place occurrence in Nigeria. Most sexual harassment results from sexual lust or passion. The history of our entertainment industry, manufacturing and service institutions, schools and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) etc. is replete with stories of sexual harassments. Suan Akande, a popular model captured this vividly, “I am very much aware that some models are victims of sexual harassment”. She reiterated that it is desperate models that “get sexually harassed”.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is one aspects of workplace violence that is on the rise, yet hardly reported due to socio-cultural and economic implications. The twist in the celebrated romance case involving Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, a then 21-year-old unpaid intern is a living example of big clouds surrounding sexual harassment at workplace. Apart from Lewinsky refuting having sexual relationship with Clinton on oath, Clinton on his part publicly denied the allegation, saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky”.

Reports also indicate that over 2 million workplace assaults occurred in Nigeria yearly. Preceding the two million workplace assaults annually are six million instances of employees being verbally threatened.

Causes of Workplace Violence

Several factors have been advanced as causes of workplace violence. However, the most common reasons are disgruntled past or present employees that have stressfully gone awry due to redundancy layoffs;  dissatisfied customer/client angered at the quality of service or delay/denial of service;  host community/company relations problem leading to a spillover to workplace, dissatisfied workforce, corruption and passion among others.

Workers everywhere experience acts of workplace violence. Hostilities such as physical and verbal assaults, sexual harassment, coercion and intimidation, also constitute acts of workplace violence. The way and manner you response to an act of violence determines the outcome.

In Case of an Act of Violence

1.      Defuse the Anger: Endeavour to help defuse the person’s anger so that he/she can cool down and talk calmly and rationally.

2.      Maintain your Composure: Do not panic, be calm and unshaken.

3.      Motion for Help: Signal for help from a coworker who can contact management, security, the police or paramedics.

4.      Listen Attentively: Hostile individuals who feel that they have your attention are sometimes less likely to act out physically.

5.      Maintain Eye Contact: This also helps to calm the person down because the individual feels that he/she has your attention.  

6.      Be Polite: Be courteous and patient until help arrives. Be slow and friendly in your speech and act to buy time and space.

7.       Follow Instructions: If the person is threatening you with a weapon, follow his/her instructions and stall for time.

8.      Do not be Aggressive: Never try to intercept the weapon or act aggressively against the individual. Do not risk harm to yourself or others.   

Warning Signs of Violence

The following are some warning signs of workplace violence:

Ø  Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees.

Ø  Statements indicating desperation over family, finances, or other problems.

Ø  Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior.

Ø  Direct or veiled threats of harm.

Ø  Reference to weapons.


Report Threats

Talk to your immediate boss as soon as you observe unusual behavior in others. Never underestimate the potential for a coworker to act out violently. Being proactive can help prevent an incident of workplace violence. Be mindful of the fact that no crime against the person or property can be carried out without premeditation. Certain indications or utterances should trigger your concern for the safety of your life.

When a coworker displays violent tendencies reporting is one of the best ways to prevent a workplace tragedy. Unfortunately, many workers prefer to ignore their instincts and disregard their fears of a coworker possibly turning violent.

Many workers also do not usually believe that a coworker’s empty threat may be carried out until it is too late. Instances abound where after an incident you will hear the offender’s coworkers say, “I know for long that he will do something stupid”. Or, “I know he was a tragedy waiting to happen”. Or, “He said it but I never believe he can go that far”. But, the harm has been done.

There is always a lot of warning signals; unfortunately, many employees fizzle out when it comes to reporting the warning signals to management for fear of retaliation by the suspected coworker. Report the threat and err in caution. Take that threat serious and reduce the risk of being victimized by reporting the threats to appropriate authority for thorough investigation and solution bearing in mind that:  

1.      When the threats are accompanied by specific plans to carry them, they are serious,

2.      When the threats of violence are directed at, or include, members of the intended victim’s family, they are serious,   

3.      And that threatening gestures also add power and credibility to verbal threats.

It is advisable to take a threat seriously than not. Irrespective of the circumstances of the person threatening (family problem, financial crisis, history of mental illness) threats should not be tolerated.  

In reporting threats endeavor to state precisely the When, Where, and at what Time the threat was given or received and the exact wording of the threat, if possible. Your initial response to the threat is also essential as well as whether there has ever been previous incidents of violence involving the person threatening or whether he/she has ever made any other threats in previous employment(s).