Monday 26 May 2014

Army Generals Under Probe for Selling Arms to Boko Haram as Mutineers Face Court Martial

Army Generals under Probe for Selling Arms to Boko Haram as Mutineers Face Court Martial

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Kenneth Minimah is leading the investigation of 9 Generals and Senior Military Officers accused of selling arms to Boko Haram. It is also alleged that the Generals gave Boko Haram tips on troops’ movement, operations and were involved in illegal movement of weapons from the Nigerian Army armouries in various northern states.

Senior Military sources confirmed that during interrogation Boko Haram suspects named the Generals and senior officers as their arms suppliers. The Army’s investigation was prompted by loud accusations from independent foreign media and strong evidence provided by US/EU military intelligence sources that top Nigerian military chiefs were colluding with Boko Haram resulting in the terrorists gaining rapid offensive capability and upper hand over frontline troops.

Meanwhile, facts emerging from the Nigerian Army Headquarters in Abuja yesterday indicated that the soldiers who fired at the vehicle of the General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Major-General Ahmed Abdullahi, will be court-martialed this weekend.

 It was learnt that a preliminary investigation had been concluded and the military high command was set to try the soldiers.

 The investigation has already established the identity of the soldiers involved, and the extent of their involvement in the alleged mutiny.

 If they are found guilty of the alleged offences, they may be dismissed and jailed, while those with little involvement may be demoted.

 It was also learnt that soldiers have been complaining about poor welfare, low morale, poor strategy, poor equipment and poor leadership, and that the Wednesday’s incident followed a forced overnight trip that some soldiers were made to take, which led to 12 deaths in the hands of Boko Haram who had laid an ambush for the troops.

 The former GOC had instituted an inquiry himself, but he was overruled from Abuja and a new inquiry was set up instead.

 Military sources had claimed that there was a growing “disloyalty” and “indiscipline” on the Borno war front and therefore such insubordination must be checked to prevent a breakdown of order.

“We want to send a strong message to would-be mutineers,” the source said.

 The attacked GOC, General Abdullahi, escaped unhurt in the incident and has since been redeployed for his own safety, because of the hostility of the soldiers.

 The new GOC is Brigadier M.Y Ibrahim, who becomes the fourth commander since the creation of the 7 Division last year.  Major-General Obida Ethan was first, before Major-General Unsaid Bindawa and then General Mohammed.


Nigeria Internal Security Landscape


Nigeria inherited a security system that was oriented towards the promotion of the interests and objectives of colonial masters first, and secondly, Nigerian bourgeois on independence; employed largely in support of maintenance of law and order in aid of those in power, with policies centering on law enforcement and territorial protection. The above structure robbed the security system of the ability and capacity to think and act in an integrated strategic terms or develop necessary instruments and structures through which strategic and tactical doctrines could evolve over time.

Changing Perception of Security

Events occurring within the global community have changed the perception of security, so that security is now conceived as a comprehensive and total package with the socio-cultural and economic security aspects assuming the centre stage of importance. National security today is seen as a total security: encompassing security of life and property, security of the economy, security of the economic resources of the country, security of food and raw materials, security of industries, security of the general health of the people, security of the environment and security of national integrity and esteem.


Problems Militating Against Internal Security in Nigeria


The state of health of the nation’s economy is now an issue of concern not to Nigeria as a country but to the international community. It is a problem that threatens national security and undermines international peace.


The decline in the economy of Nigeria coupled with the impact of structural adjustment measures adopted to address these problems by successive administrations have resulted in social and cultural crises, which in turn is affecting national security. These problems confronting the social fabric of the Nigeria society have resulted in serious threat to internal security so that Nigeria finds herself faced with instability stemming mainly from internal sources and external conspiracy.


To treat this ailment, Nigeria had to allow the penetration of her economy by foreign interests to a level which is considered intolerable in many quarters.


Absence of Standard Defense Contractors’ Policy

Worse still, Nigeria lacks a standard defense contractor’s security policy. The nation’s security system is as porous as its borders. Anybody can be defense contractor in Nigeria and the operations unregulated.

Internal Political Fragility

Nigeria also lacks domestic cohesion and is suffering from chronic internal political fragility which combines to create the numerous vulnerabilities we are witnessing in the security sector. Ethnic and religious pluralism and their manipulations are pervasive and are not conducive for national stability and development.


Low level of internal cohesiveness and harmony is more worrisome than external threats. History is replete with examples of nations that failed to achieve organic integration and greatness due to activities of antagonistic nationalities. These nations do not only failed but dissolved into their component parts when confronted with serious security challenges. We should prove our enemies wrong and the prediction of disintegration by 2015 false by cementing and building bridges across our divides. There is unity in diversity and there is beauty in variety.  

Bad Governance

It is imperative therefore that the Nigeria internal security landscape be predicated on a socio-political environment of national stability, need for national cohesion and national development. The Federal Government of Nigeria own it a duty to provide the necessary infrastructural environment and motivations for Nigerians to, as a matter of patriotism, individually and collectively play down internal antagonisms, multifarious contradictions and dichotomies which our internal and external enemies do capitalize on from time to time to undermine our corporate existence through the enthronement of good governance and elimination of corruption in governance. Our interest and value systems must be reengineered to reflect believe in Nigeria and love for Nigeria.


The appreciation of the impact of the economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions on internal security is important in understanding both the security landscape as well as analyzing and planning an integrated security programme to achieve the primary aim of government which is the “security and welfare of the people” as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.


The containment of the economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of security is no longer optional but a major and compulsory strategy to achieving national cohesion and security. Any security landscape design that failed to incorporate socio-cultural, environmental and economic components is bound to fail. Internal security is the concern of everybody but the motivation comes from leadership! Leadership must at regular intervals consider the living standards of the followers and ensure that those things that cause hatred, anger, frustration and idleness are eliminated or reduced to the barest minimum. Because, idleness breeds frustration and frustration begets anger and anger leads to violence and violence perpetuates insecurity. Take away idleness, and frustration will die, anger will disappear, hatred will evaporate, violence will vanish and the people will become their brother’s keeper and live happily. Everybody wants to actually be happy!

What Internal Security Really Is and Is Not

T. A. Imobighe (1990) observed that internal security has to do with freedom from danger, or with threats to a nation’s ability to protect and develop itself, promote its cherished values and legitimate interests and enhance the wellbeing of its people. According to Imobighe, internal security is the absence of those tendencies which could undermine internal cohesion and the corporate existence of the nation and its ability to maintain its vital institutions for the promotion of its core values and socio-political and economic objectives, as well as meet the legitimate aspiration of the people.

Internal security, therefore, is the baseline of any nation’s security system. Internal security must provide freedom from danger to life and property and ensure the presence of a favorable atmosphere for the citizenry to pursue their legitimate interests within the society. However, it is regrettable that 54 years after independence, Nigeria lacks a well-articulated internal security policy in spite of the fact that security has continuously received the chuck of the nation’s annual budgets. There is also little or no intellectual work devoted to this all important aspect of our national life except intermittent official memoranda, commission reports, and individual write-ups on particular emergency situations. The absence of a workable doctrine for internal security paints the landscape in bad light.

Force Negates Internal Security

Past experiences at trying to manage internal security have been by ad hoc response with emphasis on developing coercive apparatus of government with little or nothing in the area of removing the main causes of socio-economic hardship, poverty, and citizenry alienation.


The police, SSS, NSCDC, NDLEA, Customs and Immigration Services and even the military have persistently been used to perpetrate crimes against the society, the radicals, the opposition elements and other deviants within the society in the name of internal security.


This negate the doctrine of internal security which is the articulated fundamental principles governing the management of internal security; a body of teachings, accepted beliefs, tenets, dogma, guiding rules, or principles that are recognized as valid and authoritative for managing a nation’s internal security. This principles or guiding rules must be widely accepted, nationally valid and legitimately applied.

In this aspect the internal security doctrine must answer questions like: Who and what constitutes national threat?  That is, what and what are the present and perceived threats; and who and who or what are the present/perceived adversaries or perpetrators? What will be the nature of government actions and what goals and missions will be assigned to the various agencies involved in it? What forces are needed to execute these missions, and what additional resources may be employed to improve capabilities and strengthen countermeasures? What steps will be required to prepare for counteraction? How would the counteraction be? If we have done this over the years, the involvement of America and its allies in our internal security won’t have been an option now.


Principle of Internal Security

The principle of internal security posits:


1.    That conservative and coercive approach to internal security management is not panacea to ensuring stability and law and order within the society but the creation and sustenance of conditions that guarantees fundamental rights of the citizens and removes causes of discontent and internal strife, alleviate socio-economic hardship and inequalities.


2.    That the essence of society is the maximization of the general well-being of all people within the society.


3.    That internal security is meaningful and succeeds only when it creates conducive atmosphere for the citizenry to pursue their legitimate interests and realize their basic needs.


4.    That good governance is the pivot upon which internal security revolves and thrives.


5.    That citizen’s participation and partnership among the police, public, elected officials, government,   and other agencies working together to address crime and safety is key to internal security.   

Lack of Equipment

Apart from total neglect of this principle, the Nigeria’s internal security landscape is also saturated with issues such as lack of relevant equipment, especially in the areas of transportation, communication for the effective security coverage of the country.

Poor Infrastructural Facilities

Similarly, poor infrastructural facilities in the country like bad roads, poor telephone services and absence of a technological culture to ensure local production, servicing and repairs of needed gargets have contributed heavily to weakening internal security operations.


Added to the above is manpower problem in terms of number, skill, orientation and incentive.

Misconception of Roles

It is worth noting that misconception of the roles of the various security agencies is another factor militating against performance in the internal security subsector. Our intelligence services are most affected by this problem. This misunderstanding has reduced our intelligence work to mainly witch hunting of government critics and the orchestrated deviates in society; thus robbing these agencies of the more important aspects of intelligence work which includes collecting intelligence information and monitoring the mode of the country to keep the nation’s leadership on the right and popular path.

Poor Coordination

Lack of synergy and coordination of activities on the part of the security agencies, and a clear definition of their powers coupled with claims and counter claims of supremacy have cost the nation many lives and unquantifiable amount in properties over the years. This has often led to grave conflicts between the police and the army, the police and the State Security Services etc. especially in the management of civil disturbances.

Underdevelopment of Security Knowledge

In most America Universities, Homeland Security is being popularized and studied as a course. This is borne of the fact that once the home-front is stable and secured, the nation’s ability to tackle external front will greatly be enhanced. In Nigeria, security knowledge and skill are grossly underdeveloped. Security is still seen as lacking academic ingredients and intellectual components. Only few Nigerian Universities run security courses and at Diploma level, or part-time basis. Let us grow up and join the rest of the world. Not every time we run to the US and its allies to lobby them to come to our aid in matters of internal security because we ignore to develop our own experts.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Communique of the Paris Summit on Boko Haram

Communiqué of the Paris Summit on Boko Haram

The Paris Summit on Boko Haram held yesterday in the French capital and had in attendance the Presidents of France, Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad and Niger.

Reports have it that the summit agreed on a number of initiatives to curtail the excesses of the insurgents and as well mobilize funds in support of women and girls in marginalized areas.

A communiqué issued after the meeting further said that countries are to establish an intelligence-pooling unit, create a dedicated team to identify means of implementation and draw up, during a second phase, a regional counterterrorism strategy in the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“The United States, the United Kingdom, France and the European Union will coordinate their support for this regional cooperation through technical expertise, training programmes and support for the border area management programmes.”

The participants committed to “accelerating the implementation of international sanctions against Boko Haram, Ansaru and their main leaders, within the United Nations framework as a priority.”

France, US, Britain and the European Union pledged to mobilize donors in support of programmes fostering social economic development of the regions concerned with particular emphasis on gender equality and the rights of women and girls.

The participants agreed that the United Kingdom would host a follow up meeting next month at ministerial level to review progress on this action plan. They have agreed to institute sanctions against Boko Haram and Ansaru within the framework of the United Nations.

It came as President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan explained that it was not necessary for him to visit Chibok, Borno State where over 200 girls were abducted in Government Girls Secondary School because the girls were not in the School, noting that his interest was to locate and rescue the girls.

At the end of the summit presided over by the French President, Nigeria and its neighbours, agreed to build analysis and response capabilities that will contribute to enhancing the security of all populations and the rule of law in the areas affected by Boko Haram’s terrorist acts.

In order to combat the insurgents’ threat “which manifested itself through several murderous attacks and the abduction of more than 270 school girls, Nigeria and its neighbours have decided to immediately on a bilateral basis implement coordinated patrols with the aim of combating Boko Haram and locating the Chibok girls.

They are also to establish a system to pool intelligence in order to support this operation, establish mechanisms for information exchange on trafficking of weapons and bolster measures to secure weapons stockpiles while also establishing mechanism for border surveillance.

Saturday 17 May 2014


The Search For Abducted Chibok Schoolgirls: Matters Arising

Sen. John McCain, a US Senator and former presidential candidate was wrong to have said that the US has the right to send its military into Nigeria to rescue the over 200 Chibok Schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, even if the Nigerian government disapproves.

In an interview with the Daily Beast newspaper, the senator committed diplomatic blunder by declaring that the US should feel no compunction to withhold sending special operations forces to find the kidnapped girls – especially in a country led by “some guy named Goodluck Jonathan”, just as he suggested last week in an interview with CNN. In his words:

“If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in US troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country,” McCain said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan,” he declared, in reference to our President. Thank God, McCain is not President of United States of America. By now, he would have instigated third world war. Besides, his confessions of not knowing the whereabouts of the abducted Chibok Schoolgirls expose his ignorance of the situation and handicap in matters of serious international concern like terrorism. That the entire world is worried and desirous to Bring Back Our Girls is no gainsaying. That the world must queue behind Nigeria in search and rescue of the Chibok Schoolgirls is undisputable. John McCain reasoning can be compared to that of John Adams, the greatest American Secretary of State, who eleven years before the declaration of independence captured America’s assumption that she has a redemptive mission not only in its own hemisphere but also throughout the world. In the words of Adams:

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of grand scene in Providence fir the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth”.

On the other hand, Alexander Hamilton, who can be said to represent the minority opinion in the US cautions against exceptionalism, a theory that tries to see America as different from the other nations, a people selected to SAVE the world. According to Hamilton, “Idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exception from the imperfection, weakness and evils incident to society in every shape”.

The matter is that John McCain is overwhelmed by Adams’ postulation. The trouble also is that American foreign policy over the years has tended to act out Adams’ vision, though with limited success but maximum cost for America. Examples include Mexico, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Korea, Germany, and Iraq. There was Grenada and Afghanistan. Although, majority of Americans rejected Hamilton’s postulation and romanced with the Adams’ ideology, Herman Melville, a great American novelist was to warn that the vision of a world of possibilities was false, “Everything is impure, even America, and everything is limited, even American possibilities”. The limit of America possibilities was reflected in his statement, “If they knew where they were…? If we know where our girls are, do we need America and its allies to rescue them? If the Malaysian authority knows the whereabouts of the missing Malaysian plane will they have wasted time and efforts shouting to the world for help?   

Although, American foreign policy seems to tow the lines of the vision of Adams, McCain is unaware that it is currently haunted by the cautions of Hamilton and Melville. Agreed, the warning against the quest for perfection has never been part of rhetoric of American foreign policy, especially as it seems to be recording successes – the fall of colonialism, end to World War 11, free trade regime, the defeat of communism, victory over the Cold War, the exportation of democracy and now the maneuvering to rule the world as its President-General.

Like John McCain, many Americans think America is a special country with a special mission. But, the rest of the world knows that suspicion is the greatest deficit facing America. It supports and later attacks allies. China, Mexico, etc. are living examples. In Nigeria, America must act to restore credibility and prove it had acted so in the days of enmity, when the free-world was at war with communism.

Boko Haram warlord, Abubakar Shekau’s video claiming responsibility for the abduction of the Chibok Schoolgirls and threatening to sell them into slavery galvanized global concern and motivated united reaction. By directly touching on human trafficking in women, child marriage and the practice in some parts of the Islamic world to deny women equal educational opportunities, Shekau stepped on the toes of the free-world because these are the issues that the free-world cares passionately about.

The US, UK, France, China and Israel offer of assistance to search for and rescue our girls is welcomed. But, like the American public, Nigerians want to know the details of what the foreign allies are going to do, and what the US assistance will look like.

Today, the world is united against terrorism. Unfortunately, information reaching us from the Pentagon – that is, America military high command is that America will not share intelligence emanating from the search and rescue of Chibok Schoolgirls with Nigeria?

There is evidence that the US has deployed the Global Hawk, which flies at high attitude, and the manned MC-12, a turboprop plane heavily used in Afghanistan for the mission. It has also been confirmed that the US is using both manned and unmanned aerial ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) equipment in the search for the abducted Chibok Schoolgirls.

According to Colonel Steven Warren, “The unmanned Global Hawk designed to succeed the U-2 spy plane, can survey a vast area of about 40,000 square miles (100,000 square kilometers) in a day with its sophisticated radar and sensors”.

Nigerians were of the expectation that the visit of the Commander of the US forces in Africa, General David Rodriguez to Nigeria will address this important issue. But, it was as diversionary as it was colonizing. The theory that Boko Haram has infiltrated the Nigeria military high command; and the fears that sensitive information could fall into an adversary’s hands are unacceptable excuses devised to deprive us of our secrets.   The truth must be told, Nigeria did not contract America and its allies to search for and rescue our girls. America and other concern nations extended their hands to HELP Nigeria search for and rescue our girls, which we all appreciate. America should know that Nigeria is the leader in every aspect of this operation and therefore is entitled to have all the information emanating from the exercise. Intelligence information, surveillance information and reconnaissance information are too important information about a country to be scooped, gathered and exported without that country raising alarm.

This is not the first time America has moved to entangling Nigeria. During the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, President George Bush furnished plans to deploy American troops to safeguard oil platforms in the Oil Producing Communities of the Niger Delta, advancing insecurity as the major motivating factor. Several protests were then staged and many objection letters were sent to President Olusegun Obasanjo and the National Assembly, including State Houses of Assembly by the Nigerian Institute of Industrial Security under my leadership as the Director-General thereby convincing him to discontinuance the deployment plans which were hatched in the US and packaged in the UK.

President Barak Obama respects the sovereignty of nations but he is US President, guided by America dreams. It is our expectations that Senator John McCain will not be aggressive to Presidents of sovereign states, especially when they are confronted with difficult situations like the one Nigeria is facing now but, he is an American who believes that “only by (forcefully) interfering in the affairs of other nations could the US wage its campaign for self-determination for all people”.  

The President of the most populous black nation and an emerging power is NOT “some guy named Goodluck Jonathan”. He is the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He deserves international respect as a person and his efforts so far, deserve commendation not condemnation. His permission and express approval must be sought and gotten before any foreign operations can be carried out in any part of Nigeria.

One of the many embarrassments of Boko Haram apart from the condemnable senseless killings is the making of Nigeria to play into the hands of our good friend, America. It is very unfortunate that at last US troops are here courtesy Boko Haram, despite our resistance since 2003. Invasion of emerging powers by existing powers to bring them to their knees is part of human history. Today, our country’s sovereignty is being questioned and our privacy is being invaded. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is being referred to as “some guy named Goodluck Jonathan”. The Pentagon Conference in which decision to use the opportunity created by the kidnapping of Chibok Schoolgirls to invade Nigeria’s privacy, collect her secrets and share it between America and its allies was without recourse to Nigeria, the victim whose secret assets are to be so partitioned.  

While our present predicaments make it difficult for us to differential between our friends and foes, we demand the following:

1.      An apology from Senator John McCain.

2.      Details of what the foreign allies are going to do to Bring Back Our Girls. That is, a proper definition of the ongoing and proposed roles of the foreign forces in the effort to search for and rescue the kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls.

3.      To know what the US assistance will look like, the limits of the assistance to be given to Nigeria and how.

4.      That Nigeria is given unrestricted access to all ISR information and also to decide the intelligence to share and to keep, not the other way round.

5.       That the mission to “Bring Back Our Girls” is carried out within a specified period of time, say three months and then all the foreign forces are to leave Nigeria soil.

6.      That Nigeria leads every aspects of the mission to Bring Back Our Girls.

7.      That the Federal Government of Nigeria in desperation to Bring Back Our Girls watches out for those who intend to use this opportunity to pursue other dubious security goals.

8.      That because crisis period offers opportunities to both friends and foes to explore to their own advantage, our security agencies should buckle up and always look their back, be more dedicated and patriotic, and not allow themselves to be instigated into destabilizing the country.

Saturday 10 May 2014

US Marines Locate Chibok Schoolgirls in Sambisa Forest

US Marines Locate Chibok Schoolgirls in Sambisa Forest


Indications emerged yesterday that the 276 female students abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Girls’ Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno State, have been sited at the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, by the Special Forces of the United States Marines.

The girls, who were abducted on April 14, were part of the 250 students boarded at the School for the West African School Certificate, WASC/ Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSSC) examinations, triggering world-wide condemnations.

This was even as more US military officials arrived Nigeria yesterday to join local officials in the search for nearly 300 school girls taken captives by the Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, the US Secretary of State John Kerry, and the Defence Department, Pentagon, said.

The UK team had earlier arrived in Abuja to support the Federal Government of Nigerian in its response to the abduction of over 200 school girls.

The arrival of the foreign troops is coming on the heels of the appeal yesterday by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar for Nigerians to unite and fight the insurgents to achieve success.

According to Kerry, “Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now and they are going to be working with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls.”

The CNN also quoted the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, John Kirby, who serves as Pentagon press secretary, as saying that the small team of seven would join advisers supporting local efforts to find the girls abducted over three weeks ago.

Kerry said the US team, working with the Nigerian government, would do everything possible to free the girls and everything possible to stop the atrocities of Boko Haram.

“We are also going to do everything possible to counter the menace of Boko Haram. The entire world should not only be condemning this outrage but should be doing everything possible to help Nigeria in the days ahead,” he added.

But there are no plans to send American combat troops into Nigeria, Mr. Kirby said.

The abduction of the school girls on April 14 in a remote community in Borno State, one of the most shocking terrorist acts by Boko Haram yet, has drawn widespread anger around the world with calls for a swift action.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan said Thursday that the kidnapping will be “the beginning of end” of Boko Haram.

The US President Obama has said he hopes the abduction by Boko Haram will galvanize the international community to act against the brutal group that has directed much of its cruelty on civilians and the innocent.

This week alone, more than 100 people were killed in a busy market by militants suspected to be from the group. The attack occurred in Gamboru Ngala, Borno State, near the Nigerian border with Cameroun.

Besides the United States, Britain, France and China have also offered to help rescue the stolen girls. Obama said the team sent to Nigeria comprised personnel from military, law enforcement and other agencies.

France said it will station 3,000 troops in Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to help fight militants in the Sahel region.

British satellites and advanced tracking capabilities also will be used, and China has promised to provide any intelligence gathered by its satellite network.

Meanwhile, a statement yesterday by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said, “A team of UK experts who will advise and support the Nigerian authorities in its response to the abduction of over 200 school girls touched down in Abuja, Nigeria this morning”.

The team is drawn from across government, including DfID, FCO and the MoD, and will work with the Nigerian authorities leading on the abductions and terrorism in Nigeria. The team will be considering not just the recent incidents but also longer-term counter-terrorism solutions to prevent such attacks in the future and defeat Boko Haram.

The team will be working closely with their US counterparts and others to coordinate efforts.

The military sources said that apart from abducting the girls, the insurgents also carted away food items and vehicles as well as killing undisclosed number of people in Chibok on the fateful night.

In Abuja, the sources disclose that members of the United States Marines who are already in Maiduguri following the promise by President Barak Obama to assist Nigeria in rescuing the abducted girls, located the girls inside the forest, using some Satellite equipment which combed the forest, located an assembly of the young girls and sent the images back to the Marines on ground in Maiduguri. Apart from locating the whereabouts of the girls in the dense forest, it was also gathered that one of the leaders of the terrorist group who participated in the abduction of the girls has been arrested by a combined team of the US Marines and Nigerian forces.

Sources said that the Boko Haram leader was arrested, through advanced interceptor equipment which was used to track the terrorist while exchanging information with his colleagues in Sambisa Forest about the movements of American and Nigerian soldiers in Maiduguri.

His phone was subsequently traced to a location in Maiduguri where he was arrested and handed over to the Nigerian military.

The girls are still in Sambisa Forest contrary to widespread reports that they had been distributed and ferried to the Nigerian border towns in Cameroon Chad and Niger Republic.

Senator Ahmed Zanna, representing Borno Central District in whose Maiduguri home, an alleged Boko Haram top commander was once arrested told the Senate last week that he gave the Military up-to-date information on how the girls could be rescued, but lamented that his information was largely ignored.

He spoke against the backdrop of the claim by the Boko Haram leader, Sheik Abubakar Shekau, last week that the girls were booties of war, who would be sold into slavery.

The arrival of the foreign military officials is coming on the heels of the appeal yesterday by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Nigerians to unite and fight the insurgents.

Atiku said that Nigeria had reached a turning point in the war against terrorism, asking the people irrespective of class, status, religion or party affiliation to unite to ensure victory over evil.

Atiku posted his opinion on his blog on the website lamenting the high level of insurgency resulting in the abduction of female students by Boko Haram Islamist sect, pointing out Nigerians can no longer afford any other thing, but a united commitment to stamp out what he termed ‘’a great evil that threatens the very existence of the only place we can call our home.’’

Atiku wrote in his blog, “While I have had and continue to have major policy differences with the government in Abuja and its leadership, as a nation we must remain united.

”We have come to a turning point in our war against terrorism in Nigeria. It is a critical moment for us; the war will not be won without us winning this battle. In short, if one is not part of the solution, they become part of the problem.

”And at a moment like this, we can no longer afford anything but a united commitment to stamping out a great evil that threatens the very existence of the only place we call home.

”On social media, I have been amazed by the outpouring of solidarity from within and outside Nigeria. While on the one hand it is sad to see Nigeria in the news for its inability to protect its most vulnerable citizens, it is also clear that in the age of social media no concerns or problems are local.

”It is in light of this that I welcome the offer of military support from the United States, United Kingdom, France and others, and the acceptance by the Nigerian government. While I believe that we waited too long to get to this point of admitting our need for external help, I will also insist that it’s better late than never.

”We must make it clear that under no circumstances should any person, group of persons, or organization ever be permitted to prey on the children of Nigeria, or any other country. We must make it easy for everyone who has information about this crime against humanity to contact the authorities at once.

”We must make it easy for the innocent population of the affected areas to see the Nigerian military and authorities as friends, not enemies. We must make it easy for our soldiers to be loyal and committed to this great and difficult task ahead of them.

”We must make it easy for the world to see Nigeria as a country that cares for all its citizens, regardless of their age, gender, religion, ethnic group or economic class. We must remember the people most affected, trapped on the frontlines of the battle.

“They need support, relief   and rehabilitation. ”We must remember they will need help when they are returned home to their families and their loved ones. And we must make it difficult for anyone to play politics with this crisis.

’’Nothing, absolutely nothing, is worth the bloodshed and the destruction we have come to associate with this campaign of terror. Not party affiliations, not the 2015 elections. We are in a race against time. For every day we delay our response, or allow ourselves to be caught up in needless bickering, we hand victory over to the forces of darkness and despair, like Boko Haram.”

In a related development, the Lagos State Police Command said yesterday that the rumour about activities of Boko Haram members in some parts of the state was false.

The Public Relations Officer, PRO, of the Lagos State Police Command, DSP Ngozi Braide, made this known at a news conference yesterday, at Premier College Group of Schools, Palm Avenue, Mushin, where the sect members allegedly invaded.

“It is not true that there is any act of terrorism anywhere in Lagos State. It is a lie that the terrorists invaded Premier College to abduct students.

“Somebody just sat down somewhere and cooked up the lies to cause panic in the state.

“Premier College and other schools in the state are safe and secure; let the public discountenance the rumour”, she said.

The Executive Director of the college, Mr Abraham Martins, spoke in the same vein,   describing the rumour as “false and baseless.”

There are indications that with the confirmation that the girls are still within Nigerian territory, contrary to widespread reports that the girls have been distributed and ferried out, the original plan to storm Sambisa Forest which was put on hold, would now be activated. It is however not clear if and when the rescue operation would begin.

In the same vein, the Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) has joined millions of Nigerians to express worry over the continued abduction of 234 female students and called on the Federal Government to ensure that the girls are rescued unhurt to re-unite with their families.

The association, in a statement signed by its Chief Commissioner, Dame (Dr) Christie Toby also challenged on Nigerians to be security conscious and assist law enforcement agencies in fighting the enemies of the nation.

“The NGGA joins all well-meaning people all over the world to express shock over the abduction of 234 innocent school girls in Borno State.

“We are sad that up till this moment, these girls are still missing. The NGGA, being a female organisation, is especially concerned, and condemns such a heinous act.

“We declare our support for these girls and their families and pray God to strengthen them in these trying times. We appreciate the fact that government is fighting terrorism in Nigeria, but we are appealing to President Jonathan to ensure that these girls are returned safely to their families so that they can continue with their education.

“We also appeal to all security agencies and people of goodwill to support President Jonathan as they work to bring back our dear girls,” the statement added.