…4 dead, three others critically injured
…We’re investigating circumstances that led to incident – Army
…Says 5 soldiers were shot, with 2 deaths
…ISWAP attacks Chibok village, abducts head of civilian JTF, others
…Buhari asks military to deal mercilessly with ISWAP, terrorists
…Tension in Benue as herdsmen take over communities in 4 LGAs
Omonobi, Ndahi Marama & David Odama
Soldiers at the Nigerian Army Brigade, Malam Fatori, Borno State, currently fighting the Boko Haram insurgency were thrown into mourning, yesterday, as a depressed soldier, who allegedly got information that someone was sleeping with his wife, turned his gun at seven of his colleagues and later shot himself.
Four of those shot, including the corporal, have been reported dead, while the rest are in critical condition.
The sad development happened as suspected members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, abducted Mohammed Abba, head of the Civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, in Bambula community in Chibok Local Council of Borno State.
It was learnt that the insurgents attacked the community around 4 a.m. Yesterday, when most of the residents were still asleep.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday charged the military to re-examine strategies to defeat the ISWAP terrorists in the North-East because their presence in the West African Sahel region poses a great danger not only to Nigeria but also the entire region.
Meanwhile, to tackle kidnapping and banditry, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly has passed a law to ensure judicial protection for witnesses.
How soldier shot self, colleagues
Narrating how the soldier shot seven of his colleagues and himself, a source said: “I couldn’t help but voice this out. At about 0600hrs this morning (yesterday) at 118/119 BN MALAM FATORI, BORNO STATE, a Corporal fired seven soldiers and fired himself.
“Two have been reported dead, while the rest are in critical condition. The soldier has been going through depression as a result of family issues; information got to him that someone has been sleeping with his wife while he is on an operation.
“Soldiers in this particular location spend almost one year before being given a pass to visit their families. How do you leave a soldier in the war front for 9-12 months without him seeing his family?
“Some soldiers’ children don’t even know their fathers. Many homes have been shattered, broken. Even with the directive from the Theatre Command that soldiers should be allowed to go on pass every three months, the Battalion Commander has refused to comply with such directives. The camp now is in great commotion. When will soldiers’ lives and welfare of families be valued?”
Army confirms incident
Confirming the incident last night, Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said the Corporal serving in Operation Lafiya Dole, Army Super Camp 15, located at Malam Fatori, killed himself, two others and injured three in the process.
He said: “Two of his colleagues were also injured during the incident and are currently in stable condition in our hospital in Maiduguri.
“Efforts are ongoing to contact the families of our gallant colleagues who paid the supreme price in the line of duty. May their gentle souls rest in peace.
“Meanwhile, an investigation into the case has since been instituted to determine the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident.”
Sources attributed the action of the Corporal to either depression or poor visibility, as the terrain where the incident occurred was poor in the early hours of the day.
ISWAP attacks Chibok village, abducts head of civilian JTF, others
The source said that Mohammed Abba, head of the civilian JTF in Bambula community in Chibok had been the insurgents’ target since he refused to get compromised.
The head of the civilian JTF was abducted alongside many others who are yet to be identified.
The civilian JTF is a vigilante group created to assist the military fight insurgency in the North-East.
“The sporadic gunshots woke us, and everybody started running to safety. The insurgents came in through Ajigum Talala, a part of the forest where ISWAP has a strong unit.
“They headed straight to Abba and took him. They have been warning him before but Abba refused to cooperate with them. They abducted many others who couldn’t run. They also burnt down some properties including a vehicle belonging to the community head,” said a resident who managed to escape the attack.
The attack came a week after the insurgents attacked Korongilum in Chibok, setting many houses on fire.
Be merciless against ISWAP, Buhari charges
Consequently, yesterday, President Buhari charged the Nigerian military to be merciless against ISWAP at the opening of the 10th National Security Seminar organized by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College, AANDEC, in Abuja.
The seminar with the theme: “Combating Insecurity in Nigeria” was organized in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and NDC.
President Buhari, represented by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, said new threats in the areas of insurgency and terrorism had emerged due mainly to the defeat of ISIS.
He stated that the security agencies had been given a renewed mandate to deal mercilessly with all forms of criminality such as terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
“This is a major concern and threat to us, as their presence in the West African Sahel region poses a great danger not only to Nigeria but the entire region. Thus, we are exploring higher levels of collaboration among all nations and international organizations to effectively curtail the spread of terrorism and defeat insurgency and terrorism.
“No doubt, our forces have over the years worked hard to defeat Boko Haram and they will as well re-examine their strategies to deal with ISWAP that has invaded parts of the country.
“The criminal elements using kidnapping and other criminal activities as a way to get rich quick should either stop such acts forthwith or face the full weight of the law as security agencies have a renewed mandate to deal with such acts of criminality,” he said.
The President said the government would continue to prioritize security, adding that the seminar was necessary, especially at a time when the government was making efforts to ensure attainment of sustainable peace in the country.
He said that AANDEC’s close collaboration with ONSA, NDC and other security agencies presented the type of desired collaborative efforts towards addressing major security issues and challenges facing the country.
He said it is therefore expected that at the end of the seminar, we will have some implementable recommendations that can move the nation forward.
“As we all know, security should be the concern of everyone, hence we must all co-operate and work collaboratively to address security issues from all perspectives, be it physical or human.
“The nexus between physical and human security makes it necessary for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to be highly productive.
“States and Local Governments should also view workers’ welfare with utmost priority while all security agencies in particular must deal appropriately with extremist tendencies that are capable of affecting peace and development of the nation, according to the law.
“The National Security Strategy 2019 is very clear on these and we shall implement every aspect of it.”
Why border closure was necessary, by Buhari
On border closure, Mr Buhari said the government had to consider temporary closure of land borders with a view to taking a closer look at how to address the challenges of smuggling and illegal movement of weapons.
He added that the border issue would be properly examined, in collaboration with neighbours, to put in place acceptable measures to prevent illegal economic activities and other related crimes.
On his part, the Minister of Defence, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nuratu Batagarawa, acknowledged the efforts of President Buhari in creating an enabling environment to resolve the prevailing security challenges.
Mr Magashi said it was imperative to forge a common front against the security challenges towards finding permanent solutions to the security challenges, adding that the seminar was apt.
He said the ministry would put in measures to implement the recommendations from the communique at the end of the seminar.
Earlier, the president of AANDEC, Garba Audu, a retired major general, disclosed that the seminar was organized with a view to proffering solutions to national security challenges.
Audu said that the seminar would focus on some key security challenges bedevilling the country such as negotiations with bandits in some parts of the country.
He said a solution to national security challenges go beyond military intervention, adding that economic solutions were also required.
Nasarawa Assembly passes Witness Law
Meanwhile, Nasarawa State House of Assembly has passed into law “A bill for a Law to provide for Witness Protection Law and other Matters Connected Therewith.”
The bill, sponsored by Barrister Mohammed Alkali (APC Lafia North), was to give witness of any criminality boldness, confidence and protection to testify in court.
Speaker of the House, Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, announced the passage of the bill into law in Lafia, following a motion by the House Majority Leader, Alhaji Tanko Tunga (APC, Awe North).
Balarabe Abdullahi said the bill if assented to by the governor, would go a long way in curtailing the rate of crime in the state and the country at large.
According to him, it will also give witnesses the opportunity to present evidence, expose and report to the police and other security agencies without fear of molestation.
Balarabe Abdullahi emphasized the benefit of the bill to the enhancement of criminal justice in the state and by extension the country at large.
The speaker, therefore, directed the clerk of the House to produce a clean copy of the bill for Governor Sule’s assent.
Earlier, Tunga, while moving the motion for the passage of the bill into law, urged his colleagues to support the bill to allow it scale third reading.
Danladi Jatau (PDP- Kokona West), the Minority Leader of the House seconded the Majority Leader’s motion for the bill to pass third reading.
The House unanimously passed the bill into law.
Speaking with newsmen, the sponsor of the bill, Mohammed Alkali (APC, Lafia North) expressed joy, saying “I am happy that the bill saw the light of the day.
‘’I want to urge the Ministry of Justice to create awareness to the public on the importance of the bill so that nobody will be afraid while testifying in court.”