The newspapers for Monday July 31, focus mainly the recent attack on oil exploration workers and security forces in Borno state by Boko Haram insurgents.
Following the recent attack of on oil exploration workers and security forces in Borno state, special forces have been deployed to Borno to step up the fight against Boko Haram.
The Nation reports that air force special forces are to join hands with soldiers to battle the resurgence of the terrorists’ activities.
Army spokesman, Brigadier-General Sani Kukasheka Usman, stated that 10 bodies, including those of one officer and nine soldiers, had been recovered. The army also stated that it had recovered 21 more bodies, arms and ammunition from the ambush site.
“So far the search and rescue team has recovered additional bodies of five soldiers, 11 members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and five members of the exploration team.
“Contrary to reports in some media, six out of the 12 members of the exploration team that went out are still missing, while one of the NNPC staff returned to base alive.”
“The incident of 25th July 2017, where Boko Haram insurgents ambushed our troops, including members of the CJTF, escorting some staff of the NNPC as well as that of University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) on oil exploration in Yesu District of Magumeri Local Government Area of the state is unfortunate and highly regrettable.
The army also apologised to the public for issuing a statement that turned out to be false on last week’s attack on geologists from the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) who were with some officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the Lake Chad region.
Guardian reports that the army had claimed to have rescued all the NNPC workers who were carrying out a survey on oil exploration in the Lake Chad and that nine of its soldiers were killed during the ambush. But the claim that all the workers were rescued turned out to be false.
However, Sani Usman late Saturday said the earlier information on the incident about the rescue was regrettable and that it was not deliberate.
“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 strived to keep the public informed on our activities with no intention of distorting any fact.”
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to “call out” its members if its abducted members in the University of Maiduguri are not freed.
The president of the ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who issued the threat called on the federal government to strengthen security in UNIMAID and ensure the release of the abducted lecturers or face action.
“Our union is no doubt saddened by the UNIMAID incident. It is a concrete manifestation of our fears all along. As far back as June 9, we expressed our fears about the alarming security situation in the Maiduguri metropolis and particularly in UNIMAID. Those fears we expressed are beginning to manifest concretely.
“The situation could have been better handled. Our members, who were carrying out their legitimate duties were made vulnerable to this experience.
‘‘We have told the government to take the necessary steps and get our members in captivity released or else, we may be forced to call out our members. But we are getting assurances now that the government is going to do the needful.”
In a related development, United States’ Bureau of Counter-terrorism has said that the Nigerian military is unable to hold and rebuild civilian structures and institutions in areas cleared by it in the region
This Day reports that the US made the observation in the 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism released by the United States Department of State on July 19, 2017.
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The report stated that: “Despite gains made by the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), much of its reported progress was merely duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of last dry/fighting season,” adding: “The Nigerian military was unable to hold and rebuild civilian structures and institutions in those areas it had cleared.”
It also faulted the decision of the federal government to return internally displaced people to their original place of abode, saying that this was being done without adequate security.
“The Nigerian government continued to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons to their home communities, although sometimes without providing adequate security and before appropriate conditions were in place for safe, informed, voluntary returns,” it said.
“level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited and at times hindered overall effectiveness,” the report explained and cast a serious doubt on the ability of the security agencies to properly investigate terrorism cases.
It said: “The Department of State Security (DSS) is the primary investigating agency for terrorism cases, but there have been longstanding sustained concerns about its capacity to investigate terrorist financing as it does not share case information with other agencies that also have the mandate to conduct terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions, such as the EFCC.
“These concerns continued in 2016. There were no known efforts on the part of the EFCC or the Ministry of Justice to prosecute terrorist financing cases.
“The Government of Nigeria has the ability to freeze and confiscate terrorist assets as required by the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. While there is a political will to freeze assets, bureaucratic processes occasionally cause delays.”
In other news, Vanguard reports that the federal government has come up with a two-year Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SWIP) involving the execution of 457 short, medium and long-term projects, to the tune of N2,065,140,035,959, across the nine states of the Niger Delta.
The 85-page road-map (a draft version) obtained by the newspaper, is, however, reportedly waiting final approval,
A presidency source speaking on the issue said it was just a formality, as government was set to start implementation of the plan.
In the video below, the Nigerian Air Force gives an update on operations against Boko Haram in 2017.