The three abducted by Boko Haran during the ambush. L-R: Yusuf Ibrahim, Dr Solomon M. Yusuf and Haruna Dashe (their driver).Photo:Saharareporters
The Abu Musab al-Barnawi led faction of Boko Haram has exposed the many lies of the Nigerian Army over the abduction of some NNPC staff during an ambush of their convoy on Tuesday at the Lake Chad Basin.
The insurgents exposed the lies in a video obtained by SaharaReporters where three of the abducted NNPC staff were seen begging the authorities to negotiate with Boko Haram for their freedom.
Nigerian Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, a brigadier general, had in a statement on Wednesday announced the rescue of all the NNPC staff, saying only nine soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in the process.
“So far, they (troops) have rescued all the NNPC staff and recovered the corpses of the officer, 8 soldiers and a civilian who have been deposited at the 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital,” he said.
But the following day (Thursday), the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, put a lie to the army statement by saying that he cannot confirm if the 10 abducted NNPC staff had been rescued.
The minister, who spoke to journalists at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Thursday, said, “We only heard, but can’t confirm if anyone has been rescued.
To further discredit the army statement, forty-eight corpses of persons killed by the terrorists during the ambush were brought to the Maiduguri Teaching Hospital in the Borno State capital on Thursday.
Brigadier-General Sani-Kukasheka-Usman, Nigerian Army spokesman
Sources at the hospital and the Maimalari Army Barracks in Borno revealed that the corpses were brought into Maiduguri from the scene of the attack.
The corpses brought include 18 soldiers, 15 Civilian JTF, five university staff and four NNPC drivers.
In a photo and video obtained by SaharaReporters through a journalist with access to the two factions of Boko Haram, the abducted lecturers were seen looking terrified and seated barefoot in some unidentified indoor facility.
It is not clear whether the Islamist insurgents intend to make ransom demands in exchange for the release of their victims.
However, their decision to release the photo of those they abducted may suggest a desire to seek a negotiated settlement to free the captives and discredit the Nigerian Army.
Appealing for help, one of the abducted men, a lecturer at the University of Maiduguri said in the video: “They have promised us that if their demands were met, they will release us immediately to go back to the work we were doing.
“We were caught doing the work of exploration of acquiring gravity, magnetic and soil geochemistry for exploration in the Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin, which will boost the economy of the nation.
“We were caught in the line of our service. I want to call the attention of the acting president that we have seen the route we took up to this position where we are recording this video right now.
“I want to advise that the use of excessive force is not the solution.
“We want to call on the federal government to meet these demands as (they) promised to release us,”
Work ongoing on the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway
Two construction companies handling rehabilitation and expansion works on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Reynolds Construction Company and Julius Berger, have threatened to abandon work on the road.
According to details of memorandum and annexes presented by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at the hearing organised by the House of Representatives’ Investigative Committee on Breach of Privilege, Violation of Appropriation Act and Incitement of the Nigerian Public on Friday, the companies threatened to abandon the project due to poor funding.
Mr. Fashola had been invited by the committee to, among other concerns, clarify statements credited to him alleging that the lawmakers had worrisome knowledge of the budget process.
Earlier in June, the minister had accused the National Assembly of slashing N21 billion off the N31 billion vote for the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway.
“We were asked to complete those abandoned projects; the budget of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced by the National Assembly from N31 billion to N10 billion. We are owing the contractors about N15 billion and they have written to us that they are going to shut down,” Mr. Fashola had said.
But details contained in some of the documents presented by the minister, Friday, showed that the two construction companies handling the rehabilitation of the road had indeed threatened to suspend works on the road.
According to a letter signed by the division manager of Julius Berger, W Loesser, which was received by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on June 5, the company expressed concerns over the state of funding of the road project.
“Honourable Minister, it has become evident that the required adequate funding for the continuation of the project is not available,” the letter read in part:
“We trust you will understand that therefore and as a consequence of the unacceptable financial risk to Julius Berger Nig. PLC we are left with no choice than to immediately commence suspension of the works on the project, as earlier notified.”
Similarly, Reynolds construction said it was worried about the worsening financial situation of the road project.
“At the moment, the outstanding debts for approved certificates for certified works stands at N7, 829, 277, 294,” the company said in a letter dated June 2.
“It is noted that the 28-day window allowed for payment of the certificates by Clause 60.4 of the conditions of Contracts (“CC”) had long expired. In addition, there is another certificate (No. 19) of N1,108,334,258 under processing.
“Thus, making a total of N8,937,611, 552. The mounting debt profile on this project is worrisome,” it lamented.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola , SAN (left), Special Adviser on Works to the Minister, Dr Obafemi Hamzat,(right) and the Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Ibrahim Tumsa during a Hearing of the House of Representatives’ Investigative Committee on Breach of Privilege, Violation of Appropriation Act and Incitement of the Nigerian Public attended by the Minister at the Conference Room 034 of the House of Representatives, National Assembly Complex on Friday, 28th July 2017
Both Julius Berger and Reynolds are handling the first and second sections of the road, respectively.
With the budget already signed into law, a supplementary budget or virement of funds which has legislative approval would be required to adequately fund the road project.
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (2nd left); Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Mr. Fatai Owoseni (left); Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (right); his Deputy, Mr. Alfred Agboola (2nd right) with the released Igbonla Model College students during a media briefing at the Round House, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja on Friday.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni on Friday disclosed that 20 kidnappers were killed in gun battle with the Marine Police in the process of trying to secure the release of the kidnapped students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Owoseni spoke at a press conference addressed by the Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule along with the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu at the deputy governor’s office, Alausa, Ikeja on Friday.
The police commissioner said from the time the students were kidnapped and their release, 20 kidnappers were killed as they tried to attack the police, adding that eight policemen were wounded in the process, while one civilian with the police was killed by the kidnappers.
Owoseni disclosed that one Bright Adeniji and 17 others died in a gun battle with the Marine Police as they ambushed the operation of the police who were out to secure the release of the students.
He said the police ensured that the third boat where the kidnapped students were being kept was safe.
The commissioner added that on 15 July, 2017, the kidnappers tried to seize the gun boat of the Marine Police and that in the process, another gun battle ensued, while one Oniwe Oyelasi, popularly known as ‘Americana’ was killed with two others.
He said the kidnappers launched several offensives, but that the police were able to handle it as the police had been well motivated.
Owoseni praised the effort of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his Ondo State counterpart, Akeredolu for their worthwhile efforts that led to the released of the children.
The CP, however, added that one person who was trying to swindle the parents of the kidnapped students by telling them to drop money in Abeokuta was arrested and is now in police custody.
Earlier, Adebule expressed gratitude to the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo for his efforts leading to the release of the students, saying that the government would carry out a comprehensive medical test on the students to ascertain their mental, physical and psychological wellbeing.
She said the state government was working hard to ensure safety of lives and properties in the state, adding that government would ensure that the schools were well policed before the resumption of the next academic calendar.
Also speaking, Akeredolu said the combined effort of the police, Lagos, Ondo and Delta governments led to the release of the students, saying that the acting president also played a great role to secure their release.
The northern states governors forum (NSGF) on Friday constituted a committee to collate views and comments on the current agitations for the restructuring.
The governors had at their meeting with northern traditional rulers on Thursday declared that the north would adopt a unified position regarding the debates on restructuring on Friday.
However, at the end of the meeting which was held at government house, Kaduna, the governors set up a 12 member committee headed by Aminu Waziri, Sokoto state governor, to collate views on the agitation for restructuring from individuals, groups and corporate organisations in the north.
Other members of the committee include the governors of Nasarawa, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi and Kaduna states as well as the emirs of Kano, Zazzau (Zaria), Gummi, the Etsu Nupe and the Gbong Gwom Jos and Sonni Gonle Tyoden, deputy governor of Plateau state, as secretary.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and signed by Kashim Shettima, chairman of NSGF and Borno state governor, the committee “is to come up with acceptable, tenable and sustainable position for the northern region in consonance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution, taking into cognisance, the current constitutional amendment process going on at the national assembly”.
The governors decried the escalating clashes between farmers and “cattle-rearers”, saying the situation was being worsened by the infiltration of criminal elements from outside the north who pose as Fulani herdsmen.
“The forum therefore, discourages ethicising the deadly conflicts and crimes with the Fulani tribe as other tribe could be cattle-rearers too,” the communiqué read.
“The free movement of persons, goods and services within the West African sub-region as ratified by the ECOWAS Convention should be subjected to the laws of individual member states in order to check cross border crimes, especially cattle rustling.
“Creating more grazing reserves and providing adequate infrastructure in such reserves by way of addressing the needs of cattle-rearers and those of their animals before the enactment of the appropriate legislation will ameliorate the challenges.”
The governors also condemned the recent attack on some NNPC staff, security personnel and the staff of the University of Maiduguri, Borno state which resulted in the suspension of oil exploration activities in the Lake Chad Basin.
They called on the federal government to urgently ensure the reconstitution of the Federal Character Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to enable them to discharge their constitutional responsibilities, saying that the failure to do so had so far resulted in lopsided appointments.
“We re-assure all Nigerians who live in the north of our readiness to protect their lives and property and we therefore call on our colleagues in the south to emulate this gesture.”
The Indonesian ombudsman says it has discovered evidence of rights violation in the execution of a Nigerian drug convict in 2016.
Ninik Rahayu, an official of the ombudsman office, said Humphrey Jefferson, who was sentenced to death in 2004, had sought a second judicial review of his case by the supreme court, but his request was denied by the central Jakarta court without proper explanation.
She described the denial by the court as a “maladministration.”
Rahayu said Jefferson was seeking clemency from President Joko Widodo at the time of his execution which meant he still had a chance of being pardoned.
The official explained that if Jefferson’s case had been taken by the court, his execution would have been delayed until the final verdict.
She further said the attorney-general’s office, responsible for conducting the execution, had not followed rules requiring it to give Jefferson and his family 72 hours notice of the event.
“When one is given the death penalty, all of the procedures must be done according to the laws,” Rahayu said.
“The rights of the person must be fully met before his sentence is carried out. You can’t bring back the dead to life.”
Telephone calls to the Central Jakarta court to seek comment were not answered but Suhadi, a spokesman of the supreme court, not commenting on any particular case, said the court did not generally grant a second review.
Jefferson, two other Nigerians and an Indonesian were the only prisoners to face the firing squad on July 29 last year, from a group of 14 picked initially.
Ricky Gunawan, Jefferson’s lawyer, said he planned to use the ombudsman’s findings to file a civil lawsuit against the office of the attorney-general, seeking compensation for his client.
“We call on the attorney-general’s office to stop the preparation of any future death execution and treat the convicts with respect and have their rights fulfilled,” Gunawan said.