…Orders continued search, rescue of abducted NNPC, UNIMAID staff
…As Army recovers bodies of 5 soldiers, 11 CJTF, 5 NNPC explorers
…Says 6 NNPC oil explorers still missing, one returns alive
…Apologises for earlier misinformation
By Kingsley Omonobi, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—ACTING President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, last night, had another meeting with Service chiefs, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; and Director-General of Department of State Services, DSS.
The meeting, according to a tweet by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, was in continuation of the meeting the Acting President has been having with heads of security agencies over the renewed onslaught by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, on innocent Nigerians.
Though the Federal Government had said that Boko Haram had been decimated, there have been frightening increase of kidnapping and suicide bombings by the terrorists in recent times.
Akande in his tweeter handle, did not give details of the outcome of the closed-door meeting that took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, but he said it was on the renewed efforts on the release of the abducted people, including some staff of University of Maiduguri
Osinbajo orders continued search, rescue of abducted NNPC, UNIMAID staff
This came as Osinbajo, yesterday, ordered immediate rescue of officials of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and University of Maiduguri, UNIMAID, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno while on oil exploration mission in Lake Chad Basin.
He also said the Federal Government would do everything possible to end atrocities by insurgents in every part of the country, especially in the North East where Boko Haram holds sway.
The Acting President’s order came on a day Nigerian Army said that its search and rescue efforts for the kidnapped officials had led to the recovery of 21 additional bodies of the victims killed by the insurgents, oil explorers of NNPC ambushed on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Borno has led to recovery of 21 additional dead bodies, including five soldiers, 11 Civilian JTF operatives and five NNPC officials.
Osinbajo asked the Army to urgently rescue those still missing, condemning the ambush, attack and abduction of soldiers and civilians who were carrying out their duties to the nation in the Lake Chad Basin Frontier Exploration.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, who disclosed the order in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said: “Prof. Osinbajo commiserates with the families, relatives and associates of those who lost their lives in the despicable onslaught and wishes the injured speedy recovery.
“While commending the military for the progress already recorded with the rescue of some of the abducted, Prof. Osinbajo has also ordered the continuation of search and rescue missions to locate and ensure the freedom of all remaining abducted persons as soon as possible, using all available and expedient means in the circumstances.
“He adds that justice would be pursued for the victims and against those who engage in this kind of unacceptable, criminal and terrorist conduct.
“Acting President Osinbajo pays tribute to the resilience, courage and bravery of officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces for their gallant endeavours and sacrifices for the peace, security and territorial integrity of our country.
“He also commends the diligence of the management and staff of the NNPC, and the lecturers/consultants from the University of Maiduguri in pursuing Federal Government’s resolve to grow our country’s current crude oil reserve base through potential exploration in the Lake Chad Basin and that the government will by no means be dissuaded.
“Some of these extraordinarily selfless Nigerians from the NNPC and the University Of Maiduguri put their lives on the line that we and generations to come will enjoy the resources of this land. We will never forget that sacrifice.”
Army recovers bodies of 5 soldiers, 11 CJTF, 5 NNPC explorers
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has said that its search and rescue efforts for oil explorers of NNPC ambushed last Tuesday in Borno has led to the recovery of 21 additional dead bodies.
The dead bodies, according to the Army, consist of five soldiers, 11 Civilian JTF members and five members of the NNPC exploration team, while six of the 12-member exploration team that went out are still missing and that only one of the NNPC staff returned to base alive.
The Army made the disclosure, even as it apologized for the error in misinforming the nation that all kidnapped oil exploration staff contracted by NNPC in the Lake Chad area last week were rescued from Boko Haram.
Events that later played out showed that the reverse was the case, as more soldiers were said to have lost their lives in the ambush rather than nine given earlier by the Army.
In an update on the rescue effort, Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said: “The incident of July 25, 2017, where some Boko Haram terrorists ambushed our troops, including members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, escorting some staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as well as that of University of Maiduguri, UNIMAID, on oil exploration in Borno Yesu District of Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State is unfortunate and highly regrettable.
“Most regrettable also is my earlier release on the said incident about the rescue of all NNPC staff. The error in the statement was not deliberate.
“The Nigerian Army in this present dispensation, is reputed for timely dissemination of information on activities of our troops in all theatre of operations. We have striven to keep the public informed on our activities with no intention of distorting any fact.
“Our troops have doubled efforts in the pursuit of the Boko Haram terrorists while search and rescue is still ongoing to secure the safe return of the remaining civilians.
“So far, the search and rescue team has recovered additional bodies of five soldiers, 11 Civilian JTF and five members of the exploration team.
6 NNPC oil explorers still missing, one returned alive
“Contrary to reports in some media, six members of exploration team, out of 12 that went out, are still missing, while one of the NNPC staff returned to base alive. On the other hand, our pursuit team also recovered two of our gun-trucks and an additional Toyota Buffalo Gun truck from the insurgents.
‘’The Nigerian Army condoles with the families of all that lost their loved ones in this unfortunate incident. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing.”
“We are counting on the goodwill and support of the populace in volunteering valuable information that could help in the search and rescue operation.
“What the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists are doing are pure criminal activities of kidnapping to gain funds.
“This has been noted and will be jointly addressed in conjunction with other security services.
“The Nigerian Army remains resolute in the fight against terrorism and would not relent in its effort to safe guard lives of citizens, properties and the territorial integrity of the country.”