Connect with us

Government

Boko Haram Used Chibok Ransom to Buy Powerful Weapons – Military Sources

Published

on

president-muhammadu-buhari-with-the-21-chibok-girls
  • Boko Haram Used Chibok Ransom to Buy Powerful Weapons

The recent ransom paid to Boko Haram in exchange for the release of some Chibok girls have contributed to the recent upsurge in the killings and disappearances of soldiers engaged in the fight against the insurgents, senior military sources have revealed.

The military men said despite denials by the Federal Government, money was paid to the sect to secure the release of the abducted girls.

It was learnt that the insurgents demanded for $50m for the release of the girls but about a quarter of the sum was eventually paid.

The Federal Government paid the cash in two currencies – the naira and the CFA Francs to the leaders of the sect to facilitate the release of the girls.

But, the highly-ranked military men who are engaged in the war, and who craved anonymity because they were not authorised to speak for the military authorities, attributed the recent upsurge in the activities of the insurgents to the huge ransom paid for the release of the girls.

Prior to the current increase in the attacks by the insurgents, it was learnt that the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, deployed in the North-East, had effectively cut off food and logistics supply to the insurgents.

Some of the sources, who are also commanders at the war front, said that the troops had effectively defeated the Boko Haram members, who were on the run while a good number of them had surrendered and taken to a rehabilitation camp established by the Defence Headquarters in Yola.

In October, 83 soldiers were reported missing days after they came under a Boko Haram attack. Though there have been increasing reports of soldiers either missing or killed since the Chibok girls were released, the military initially denied the report, it later said that only 39 soldiers were missing.

Also, on November 4, seven military men, including Lt.-Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, were killed on their way to reinforce troops at Mallam Fatori during a Boko Haram attack. Two days later, one soldier was also killed while four others were wounded in the line of duty.

In October, 21 of the over 200 girls abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014 were released by the group.

However, the Federal Government denied exchanging insurgents for the abducted girls and paying a ransom to the sect.

But the military sources insisted that Boko Haram did not release the girls without getting anything in return and that the Federal Government indeed paid a ransom and released some of the group’s strategists that were detainees.

One of the sources said it was sad that the same government that was initially seen as tough enough to end insurgency in the country failed to negotiate with Boko Haram from a position of strength.

“It is unfortunate that in government’s desperation to secure the release of the Chibok girls, it has put our (soldiers’) lives in danger by yielding to the demands of the group to collect a ransom and secure the release of its commanders.

“It is now obvious that the group has reinforced and bought more weapons to fight us.”

According to another source, left to the military, the ransom and the exchange of Boko Haram members for Chibok girls would not have taken place.

“Funds were given to Boko Haram and now we can all see the result of that action; there have been renewed attacks recently and many of our men have been killed in the process but we will not relent, we will continue to do our best to secure this nation.

“The military had reservations about the arrangement but it was not in our hands; it was a political decision that we had to abide with and it was the DSS that was directly in charge of the operation,” the source added.

Another source, who is also active in the war theatre, said, “They got the Chibok girls and suddenly the Boko Haram that we had beaten and chased out of Sambisa are attacking and killing men of quality.

“It is very obvious that they have used the money they got from the deal to buy equipment and recruit men to carry out their heinous acts.

“The group is still in Mallam Fatori, they have infested the entire area and their strongest point into Chad is Abadam. It is from there that they disperse their men to carry out attacks.

“Another thing you must note is that the towns around the borders are occupied by mercenaries from foreign countries. Where did they get the money to fund that?”

Investigation revealed that Boko Haram members, who were routed out of their dreaded Sambisa enclave by the military, had regrouped at Abadam, and were still holding onto the fringes of Mallam Fatori in the northern part of Borno State.

It was further gathered that the group was engaging the services of mercenaries with their operational base in Abadam in the far north, close to Chad.

The latest incidents contradict President Muhammadu Buhari’s assertion on December 24, 2015 that Nigeria had “technically” won the war against Boko Haram and that the militant group could no longer mount conventional attacks against security forces or population centres.

Following the President’s assertion, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, also said on December 27, 2015 that “we have been vindicated because Boko Haram have been decapitated compared to the past records.”

The sect gained international attention when it kidnapped 219 Chibok schoolgirls on April 14, 2014.

Two years later, on April 10, 2016, the group said it wanted a $50m (N15.7bn) ransom to free the Chibok girls, according to a report by The Sunday Telegraph of London.

The publication said it gathered from sources close to the sect that the demand was made “during secret contacts with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has said he is willing to negotiate for the girls’ freedom.”

The sect’s six-year insurgency has led to the deaths of over 17,000 people, destruction of more than 1,000 schools and displacement of about two million people.

Between May 2015 when President Buhari assumed office and October 2016, the insurgents have carried out over 20 attacks, leading to the deaths of over 2,600 Nigerians.

However,  on Friday the combined forces of the ground troops, the fighter pilots of the Nigerian Air Force and local hunters had been deployed to fight the insurgents around some locations in Gwoza.

When one of our correspondents contacted the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, he said that the minor setback in the operations should not be taken to mean that the Boko Haram was a formidable force.

He told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the military was determined to defend the territorial integrity of the country and was equipped to do so.

He gave the assurance that Boko Haram would not achieve its objective of acquiring any territory in the country.

He said, “The group is not a force to be reckoned with as far as the military is concerned.

“In spite of the minor setback, it does not in any way mean that the Boko Haram is a force to be reckoned with. We will defend the integrity of Nigeria to the letter, and that is what we are committed to do.”

Faulting the payment of cash to the sect as a ransom for the girls, a United Kingdom-trained criminologist and Chairman of Puma Eye Security Services, Mr. Pedro Ayandokun, said it had to be responsible for the renewed terrorist attacks in the country.

He said, “I was never in support of making any exchange with Boko Haram. That is what is creating the problem. What they have got will not be used to buy rice, but to acquire ammunition.”

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Security Watch Africa, Patrick Agbamu, said giving cash to the insurgents would encourage them to kidnap more girls.

He said, “The government ought not to give money to the terrorists. It will embolden them to kidnap more girls.”

Despite the insurgents’ recent attacks, Agbamu, however, asked for patience, saying, “Up till today, there are still attacks in Afghanistan and Iran. Insurgency is not easily stopped.”

The President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, also said if the Federal Government gives money to the insurgents, it could empower them to carry out more attacks.

He said at a time when the sect was broke, giving money to them might be all they needed to regain more strength.

He said, “There were insinuations that for the 21 girls released recently by the insurgents, cash was given to the terrorists. Cash is exactly what the terrorists need to be strengthened.”

Likewise, a professor of African History, Peace and Conflict Studies and Director, Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Isaac Albert, said government had not been negotiating with Boko Haram from a position of strength.

He said, “We have said for some time now that we have defeated the sect but it is obvious that it is not true.”

No cash involved in Chibok girls’ release

But the Presidency on Friday insisted that the Federal Government did not pay members of the Boko Haram sect to secure freedom for the 21 Chibok girls.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the position of government remains that cash was not involved in the release.

“Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told the country that there was no cash involvement in the release of the 21 Chibok girls. If you have evidence that it was not so, simply produce it,” he said.

However, one of the lawmakers involved in the negotiation which led to the release of the 21 girls, confirmed that a ransom was paid to Boko Haram but said the amount was far less than $50m.

The source, who expressed shock when one of our correspondents put the question to him to confirm the payment, agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

He said, “I don’t think it is up to that amount. Yes, there was a deal. Something like that (payment of a ransom) happened but it was never near the amount you just mentioned; it is even not up to a quarter of that amount. I can tell you that it was done (paid).

“I can also tell you that the second round of the talk was scuttled because of the disagreement on the next tranche of a ransom. The negotiation for another batch of the girls has hit the brick wall as a result of the failure to agree on an amount (to be paid as a ransom). I am speaking to you on this authoritatively.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Continue Reading
Comments

Government

2023 Presidential Candidates: Hidden Hands Now Publicly Raised

Published

on

2023 Presidential Candidates

As the 2023 presidential election draws near, more anxieties have enveloped Nigerians. Who will the cap fit? Who will wear the crown and who can handle the baton the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari is about to pass on? These and more questions linger in the hearts of the citizens.

While some have voiced that it’s time for a southerner to rule, some others have opposed it, saying no law in the land states that. This has intensified the heat and raised more eyebrows.

After the announcement of the election dates by the nation’s electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), some undecided and hidden aspirants have publicly raised their hands.

Slated to hold February 18, 2023, the general election updates have seized the space and dominated the media, even small circles.

In this, aspirants– both old and new have been largely analysed as the line drawn becomes wider.

Cheers and frowns were accorded to the aspirants as they declare their intention to run and make promises to the people. Below are your 2023 Presidential Candidates compiled by Investors King.

Dele Momodu

On Thursday, January 13, a veteran Journalist and Publisher who jostled for the cap in 2011, Dele Momodu declared his interest to run in 2023 as he said he is not giving up on his presidential ambition.

He had earlier explained that he joined the presidential race in 2011 because of frustration. He said he was tired of lamenting about Nigeria’s bad leaders, so he decided to bring himself into it to make a difference.

Dele Momodu, who was a member of Labour Party (LP) and 2011 presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in October, 2021.

Momodu, who polled 26,376 votes which ranked him 11th in the 2011 election, stated in an interview that he won’t join the list of serial contesters who contest and lose at every election. He said, ‘The day my country needs me, they will find me,’ this made him return to his business until October when he joined PDP. 

Declaring his 2023 ambition at the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja, Momodu apologised for his role in bringing Buhari to power in 2015 as he canvassed both online and offline against the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan and further governance of PDP.

The veteran journalist, while featuring on a radio programme in December, 2021 stated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be held responsible for the nation’s woes and shouldn’t be given another privilege to come into power.

When asked if he would support Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Yemi Osinbajo in the next general election considering their closeness, he hinted that his allegiance is to the candidate of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and that he will support anyone his party picks.

He added that Tinubu and Osinbajo are not technocrats and they might continue to carry the liabilities of politicians. “For me, I don’t think after Buhari, APC deserves to govern Nigeria,” he concluded.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Similarly, the recent declaration of the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu has solved the puzzle on Nigerians’ table and took over the media as the election knock gets louder. It’s now very clear that he is in the race.

asiwaju-bola-tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

First, was the inauguration of South West Agenda for Asiwaju, SWAGA’23 a year ago with the aim of mobilising youths, women, market leaders among others in the South-west to support Tinubu in the next general election.

The movement was launched in all South-West states– Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Lagos. Tinubu, during the period was in London where he was recuperating after undergoing surgery.

In the mobilisation, loyalists of Asiwaju have said he is the most qualified to run for presidency in the South West. This gospel, they are ready to take to not less than four hundred traditional rulers and several communities in the South West of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Tinubu officially stated his interest on Monday, January 10 in a closed-door meeting with president Muhammadu Buhari before addressing the press. He described it as a lifelong ambition which he is ready to pursue.

Speaking with newsmen, he said, “I have informed the President of my ambition but I have not informed Nigerians yet, I am still consulting. I have no problem consulting. And I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people I will consult.”

Dave Umahi

Subsequently, just a day after Tinubu’s declaration, the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, on Tuesday, January 11, visited the president and informed him of his intention to contest in the next presidential election.

Dave UmahiUmahi also had a closed-door meeting with the president whereby he discussed his ambition with him.

He noted that he is not disturbed by Tinubu’s recent declaration as he said, “I’m not in contest with anybody, I’m in contest with myself.”

He said that if the party makes the race open, he would contest for the presidency with a mission to replicate the infrastructural development in his state to the country.

Umahi, who left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because of its refusal to zone the presidential ticket to southeast insisted that Tinubu isn’t seen as a threat to his ambition.

Orji Uzor Kalu

Another aspirant, Orji Uzor Kalu, chief whip of the Senate also wants the presidential ticket zoned to southeast.

After Tinubu’s declaration, Kalu became uncertain about his presidential ambition but stated that he will contest if the ticket is zoned to southeast.

Orji Uzor KaluAs a close ally to Tinubu, he debunked the notion that he would attack Tinubu. He said, “my friendship with Tinubu is deeply-rooted and I am not quarreling with him.

“I am not against his ambition of becoming the president. It is the choice of the party to determine who becomes the presidential candidate.”

Pius Anyim

Another political bigwig on the growing aspirants’ list is Pius Anyim, former Senate President and former Secretary to the Government of Federation.

He declared his interest in the presidential race, whether his party, PDP zones the ticket to the southeast or not. 

Pius Anyim

Anyim, who banked on the experience he has said “I am willing and available, ready and equipped, by experience and exposure, temperament and humility, capacity and competence to serve Nigeria at this point in time as the country’s president.”

He also enjoined all the political parties in the country to zone their presidential tickets to the Southeast for equity and fairness.

Kingsley Moghalu

Sometime in June 2021, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu declared his intention to run for the presidency. He is referred to as the first to openly raise his hand.

Kingsley Moghalu

Kingsley Moghalu

He joined the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to pursue his presidential ambition as he said the party’s policies align with his ideologies.

Moghalu, who was formerly in Young Progressives Party (YPP) and 2019 presidential candidate of the party renounced his membership in October, 2019.

He said, “I’m making myself available to lead our country as a competent 21st century president. My desire is to make Nigeria the envy of other nations if I become the president.”

He also mentioned that since the formation of ADC in 2005, the party has remained consistent to its beliefs, passion and idea in nation-building.

Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi

The unending list is not void of the female gender as 38-year-old Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, daughter of former Federal Works commissioner, Femi Okunnu, SAN joined the race.

Khadijah, a renowned entrepreneur and youth development advocate publicly made known her interest in Lagos.

She is also a media expert, the founder and chief executive officer of Slice Media Solutions.

Unfolding her vision, she said she is set to harness the potentials of the country to become the Nigeria its people have always dreamt of, moving the country from a third world country into a developed nation with innovation and technology.

“I believe in the possibilities Nigeria holds; that is why I have taken this first step, not because there are no fears, but the will to bring about the Nigeria we all wish, hope and believe we can make a reality together,” she affirmed.

Nigerians await other interested persons to openly declare their ambition and goals as the social media platforms are filled with advertorials. Posters and fliers of some persons that are yet to clearly declare that they are in the race have also gone round.

Eyes are still on the incumbent vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who has disassociated himself from a group mobilising support for him online ahead of the 2023 general election.

Former Vice-president, Atiku Abubakar and former president, Goodluck Jonathan are also yet to openly declare their stance on the presidential race. 

Continue Reading

Government

Federal Government Raises Price of Electric Meters

Published

on

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has raised the price of both single-phase and three-phase electricity meters starting from November 15, 2021.

The regulator increased the price of a single-phased meter to N58.661.69, up from the present cost of N44,896.17. While the price of a three-phase meter was raised from the current cost of N82,855.19 to a revised rate of N109,684.36.

The commission announced this in a circular dated November 11, 2021 and addressed to managing directors of all electricity Distribution Companies and all meter asset providers.

The circular, with reference number NERC/REG/MAP/GEN/751/2, was entitled ‘Review of the unit price of end-use meters under the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations’.

Continue Reading

Government

Complete Text of President Buhari’s Speech at the Furniture Investment Initiative Summit

Published

on

Buhari arrives Bamako, Mali

President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the global leaders invited to speak at the ongoing 5th Future Investment Initiative Summit organised by Saudi Arabia.

As reported by Investors King, President Buhari arrived Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday at about 11.50 pm for the summit.

On Tuesday President Buhari delivered the speech below.

“Let me begin by conveying my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for inviting me to the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh.

In the short period of its existence, this summit has emerged as a credible forum for interaction between the public and private sectors, to explore ways of advancing economic growth, development and global prosperity.

I wish to commend the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investment”, not only from a profitability and wealth accumulation point of view, but also bringing prosperity to humanity in general. The humane approach to investment is the only way to address the global challenges we face, especially in the Covid-19 era.

We should continue to sustain our efforts to combat the COVID- 19 pandemic and mitigate its negative socio-economic impact on our societies, build resilience and achieve recovery. It is therefore my hope, that this session will leverage on the enormous economic opportunities that lie ahead in order to satisfy the prevailing needs of our people and planet.

Investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival. This is why we in Nigeria we believe that public and private partnership should focus on increasing investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security. By so doing, it will go a long way in re- energizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era.

Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.

In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains.

We focused on the following areas:
a. diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining;
b. tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change; and c. introducing a Social Investment Program.

We introduced policies that supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to small holder farmers, through the Anchor Borrowers Program. As a result, Nigeria today has over 40 rice mills from less than 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has over 46 active fertiliser blending plants from less than 5 in 2014.

Furthermore, in agriculture, we have reformed the process of obtaining inputs such as fertilizer and seeds. We have several million hectares of available arable land and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country. These initiatives we believe will make it easier for investors in agriculture.

Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It has introduced a number of incentives such as tax holidays, 100 percent ownership, zero interest loans and easy transfer of funds. In addition, we have highly skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.

In mining, we have also made several opportunities available for investors. Nigeria is a country rich in minerals from gold, iron ore, tin, zinc, cobalt, lithium, limestone, phosphate, bitumen and many others. We have made the licensing process easier and also made extensive investments in rail and transportation.

Infrastructure investments represent significant potential for investors in Nigeria. We have opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewable energy and many others. We have created several institutions that are available to co-invest with you in Nigeria.

We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently, I approved the creation of Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria. These institutions are run as independent world class institutions to make investments in the country and are available to co- invest with you.

In addition, the development of social infrastructure such as healthcare and education present enormous opportunities for investors in a country our size.

Digital Economy in Nigeria has many potentials for investment, as it has remained the fastest growing sector in both 2020 and 2021. Nigeria has many opportunities for investment in broadband, ICT hardware, emerging technology and software engineering.

We have recently approved the national policy on Fifth Generation (5G) network. Our aim is to attract investors in healthcare, smart cities, smart agriculture among others. The benefit of real time communication will support all other sectors of the economy.

Yesterday, I launched the E-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency, which puts us on track to become the first African country to introduce a Central Bank Digital Currency. We believe this and many other reforms, will help us increase the number of people participating in the banking sector, make for a more efficient financial sector and help us tackle illicit flow of funds.

To further strengthen our anti-corruption drive, increase accountability and transparency, we have centralized government funds through a Treasury Single Account, and ensuring that all Nigerians with a bank account use a unique Bank Verification Number (BVN). These initiatives, coupled with our nationwide National Identification Number (NIN) exercise, reinforce our efforts to tackle corruption and fraud. We believe that this should give investors a lot of comfort.

As we strive to build resilience towards a sustainable economy in our various countries, let us not forget the negative impact of climate change on our efforts to achieve this goal. Nigeria and many countries in Africa, are already facing the challenges posed by climate change. Climate change has triggered conflicts, food insecurity, irregular youth migration, rising level of sea waters, drought and desertification, as well as the drying-up of the Lake Chad.

In the Lake Chad Basin region, where Boko Haram insurgency continues to undermine the peace, security and development of the region, climate change is largely responsible for the drying up of the Lake Chad which has shrunk by more than 85% of its original size.

The diminishing size of the Lake is at the root of the loss of millions of livelihoods, displacement of inhabitants and radicalization of teeming youths in the region who are recruited to serve as foot soldiers in the insurgency.

In order to redress this situation and restore the lost fortunes of the Lake Chad Basin region, strong public-private partnership through massive investments will be needed to recharge the waters of Lake Chad. I am confident that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development of our region.

We cannot invest in humanity without relieving our countries from the crushing effects of the debt burden especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of deepening the debt portfolio of poor countries. These nations increasingly allocate more and more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment at the expense of the health, education and other services that contribute to the overall well- being of their population.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. Our economic reforms which focus on “humane” investments are ideal for investors looking to have profitable returns while positively impacting the citizenry.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Investing in Humanity is the right thing to do. I strongly believe the historical under- investments in “humane projects” is the genesis of most of the insecurity and socio-economic challenges the world is experiencing today.

I will conclude once again by thanking the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and also congratulate His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for their leadership and their support through the Future Investment Initiative.

I remain confident that through such exchanges, the world indeed will be a better place. I hope and pray that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development.

I thank you.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending