Army deploys troops in 6 northern states
Written by Henry on February 8, 2018
In a move aimed at halting further killings and wanton destruction of property of innocent Nigerians the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has ordered the deployment of soldiers to Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger and Kaduna states.
The Army said the deployment is to contend with the incessant killings of innocent citizens and destruction of property by herdsmen, which has become the order of the day in these states.
Chief of Training and Operations, Major-General David Ahmadu, who made the announcement at a press conference held at the Army headquarters in Abuja, said soldiers have been instructed to carry out special operations in the affected states, in conjunction with other sister security agencies.
He, however, said the Army would not be responsible for rebuilding properties destroyed by the attackers but would offer humanitarian services to the affected communities.
According to the authorities of the Nigerian Army, the service will carry out special operations in the affected states in conjunction with other security agencies, including the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Security (DSS).
Giving details of the special operations, Ahmadu said the operation codenamed “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma,” had become more “expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Kaduna and Niger states as well as other sundry crimes in Kogi State and herdsmen/farmers’ clashes and attacks on innocent members of our communities, particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states, by armed militias.”
He announced that the special operations would be conducted in 1 and 3 Divisions, including Headquarters Guards Brigade, and 707 Brigade’s areas of responsibility, covering Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states, from Thursday, February 15, to Saturday, March 31, 2018.
He said: “You may recall that last year, the Nigerian Army conducted several training activities for its personnel in different geopolitical zones of the country, in line with its constitutional role in aid of civil authority.
“More so, Exercise Ayem Akpatuma has become more expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Kaduna and Niger states, as well as other sundry crimes in Kogi State and herdsmen/farmers’ clashes.
“These security challenges have continued unabatedly in these states despite the efforts by sister security agencies to curb them.
“The need for troops to be exercised, refreshed and to imbibe the requisite skills to cope with these emerging security challenges within the 1 and 3 Divisions including HQ CAR, Guards Brigade and 707 SF Brigade Areas of Responsibility in aid of civil authority calls for this exercise.
“Also, the drive towards actualizing the Chief of Army Staff’s vision, which is to ‘have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles’ informs the plan for the conduct of this exercise.
“This exercise will be conducted in conjunction with other security agencies such as DSS, the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“It will also afford the troops an opportunity to effectively checkmate the dreadful activities of the marauding criminal militias perpetrating criminal acts in these states and environs.”
He further stated that Exercise Ayem Akpatuma was conceptualized to dovetail into real-time operations, thereby fulfilling both training and operations objectives of sharpening the skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals when called upon.
“Exercise Ayem Akpatuma will also be unique as the ones before it, with the establishment of Step-Up Brigade Headquarters in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states. Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon-and-search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, roadblocks, checkpoints and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.
“It is pertinent to note that Exercise Ayem Akpatuma is set to be another remarkable exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authorities to bring about peace and security in troubled areas.
“In this regard, members of the public, especially residents of Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states, are enjoined not to panic as the security, safety and well-being of innocent and law-abiding citizens have been deliberately factored in the planning of this exercise.
“Furthermore, the troops taking part in the exercise would be guided by the Professional Code of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and the respect for human rights.
“Thus, the general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security-conscious, as suspected criminals may be fleeing from military operations in these areas and finding safe haven amid our communities.
“The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action.
“In order to ensure cordial civil-military relations, we shall make contact phone numbers of all brigade commanders public, in addition to the Nigerian Army short code, Information and Call Centre 193.”
The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris immediately.
Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly for the sack of the IGP, despite caution by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara that the implication is that the Green Chamber has lost confidence in the police boss.
The House, while adopting a motion by Danburamu Nuhu, on the need to curb the rising cases of political thuggery in Kano State and other parts of the country, at yesterday’s plenary, also called on Buhari to replace Idris with a more professional police officer.
This is coming as six lawmakers are planning to present a motion before the House today to seek a reversal of the decision.
The motion obtained by Daily Sun yesterday is sponsored by Hon Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma and five others. The proposed motion wants the issue of political thuggery to be referred to the relevant committees of the House for investigations.
Hon Nuhu, in his lead debate, said the rising cases of thuggery during political events in Kano State and across the country constitute a threat to the nation’s democracy and should be condemned by everyone.
He said political thugs have on several occasions unleashed terror on politicians and electorates, noting that “defeatist” politicians are responsible for the ugly development.
According to him, “the recent thuggery experience in Kano was championed by a current high ranking member of this hallowed chamber.”
Contributing to the debate, the Chief Whip, Hon Alhassan Ado-Doguwa dismissed the motion as” misleading, mischevious and misinforming”.
Doguwa said though several of his friends in the House had appealed to him not to contribute to the debate, he decided to speak to set the records straight.
According to the lawmaker, thuggery in Kano State is sponsored by politicians across the various. But as he spoke, he was shouted down by lawmakers.
Agbonayinma told journalists that the IGP deserved to be given fair hearing.
“Everyone has a right to fair hearing. We are going to move for the rescission of the decision that the IGP should be sacked,” he said.
Similarly, while adopting another motion moved by Hon Mark Gbillah, the House called for the removal of the Police Public Relations Officer(PPRO), Jimoh Moshood for alleged partisanship.
The House ordered the IGP to tender an unreserved apology to Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, for derogatory comments allegedly made against him by the PPRO.
Earlier, while addressing National Assembly correspondents, the Benue State caucus in the House, had warned the IGP to stay away from politics and restrict himself to his constitutional role of maintaining law and order.
Meanwhile, the Senate rejected the report of its committee constituted to investigate the crisis between headers and farmers in Benue state.
Dismissing the report, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu said: “I just have one single observation. I noted that in the statement made by the IG, he copiously mentioned the Governor of Benue in most of the paragraphs, but I did not see where the committee made an effort to speak with the Governor. Because if in the circumstance, they did not interview the Governor and his name has been mentioned in respect to certain statements and actions; it would only be fair to him, to be invited by the committee and hear his own side of the story so that we have a balanced view of what transpired.”
Senator Adamu Aliero, who differed with Ekweremadu said: “For the first time, we are hearing suspects arrested and charged to court. This is a very good beginning unlike other crises where police and other security agencies would not be able to arrest any suspect. But this one, the police have tried by arresting 125 suspects and others charged to court.”
Former governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume said: “This report would have been more rounded if the governor who has been so massively accused by the IGP was also invited to make inputs into it. The committee would have had opportunity to interact with him. I am informed that the mandate of the committee was restricted to the office and person of the IG and the IGP said he moved immediately to Benue state.
“He did not move to Benue state on his own. Following out cries from the Senate, the President directed him to relocate to Benue state for one week. He went to Benue state. He was there for one day. He spent two days in Nasarawa and he left. His comment has always been very jaundiced. They are not based on professional soundness and they do not show any detachment and impartiality.
“As far as this issue is concerned, I want to draw your attention to something. The claims by IGP alleging that there exists armed militia camps in Tuva in Awe local government of Nasarawa state, waiting to unleash on Benue people is false.
“As we speak, people are being killed in Benue, Nasarawa, Zamara and Taraba states. It is not because we talking anything out of the ordinary. We are simply saying that there are armed people who are going round killing our people. For me, it has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with mischief and economic factors. The IG has not been fair to the Nigerian people whom he has swore to an oath to serve.”
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, mandated the committee to meet with Governor Ortom and get his reaction. He also instructed that the report be submitted next Wednesday.
The report rejected by the senate claimed that 21 recent attacks carried out in Benue State, were executed by Fulani herdsmen and armed Tiv militia groups.