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Troops regain seized military base from ISWAP terrorists

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Combined Troops of the Nigerian military swiftly regained a military base from combined forces of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram at the weekend.

The terrorists’ wielding machine-guns mounted on trucks, seized Marte – a town 93 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital – and the military base there on Friday night.

Borno State is the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Ground troops, backed by aerial support, ambushed the reinforcement team of the terrorists before dislodging them.

The Army said troops “tactically withdrew” to defend against the attack from outside Marte.

The ISIL posted a statement on its Amaq news channel on Telegram claiming responsibility for the attack.

It said seven people were killed, and one captured, and that its fighters had seized weapons, ammunition and six four-wheel-drive vehicles and that it burnt down the army barracks. There was no confirmation of these claims.

ISWAP, which split from Boko Haram in 2016, maintains camps on islands in Lake Chad – which borders Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad meet – and the area is known to be the group’s bastion.

However, the Defence Headquarters said it eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their gun trucks.

In a statement, Coordinator Defence Media Operations Major General John Enenche, said the Armed Forces would “not relent until normalcy is restored not only in the Northeast but also in every other troubled part of our beloved country”.

He added: “After successfully repelling a Boko Haram/ Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists’ attack on Marte, with the destruction of seven gun trucks by the combined ground and air operations, the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has obliterated additional six gun trucks and eliminated scores of terrorists who were attempting to reinforce their colleagues in the attack.

“This occurred on the night of 15 January through to the early hours of 16 January 2021 as the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter gunships engaged the convoy of ISWAP gun trucks as they approached Marte axis for reinforcement.

Read Also: Army kills 28 Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe
“The helicopters delivered accurate hits in their multiple waves of attack, obliterating no fewer than six additional gun trucks, which were seen engulfed in flames across the battlespace.

“Several other terrorists were mopped-up in follow-on attacks as the helicopter gunships continued to strafe the fleeing ISWAP elements.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria, operating in concert with other security agencies and stakeholders, will sustain the offensive against the enemies of our great nation.”

Chief of Army Staff Gen Tukur Buratai praised his forces for recapturing the military base.

Troops and hundreds of residents were reportedly forced to flee following the attack claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) group.

Also yesterday, the police said four of its men were killed and one still missing following an ambush on a convoy of officers attached to Police Mobile Force – 9 PMF Squadron, Kano by bandits.

The incident occurred on Friday along the Birnin Gwari-Funtua Highway.

Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said in a statement that the policemen were on their way back to their base in Kano after the completion of a special duty.

He said the policemen repelled the attack and inflicted heavy casualties on the bandits after an exchange of gunfire.

According to him, contrary to unconfirmed reports in some sections of the media stating that 18 officers were kidnapped, only 16 officers were attacked in the ambush.

The police spokesman said the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, commended the officers for displaying uncommon gallantry and repelling the attack.

The statement reads: “Contrary to unconfirmed reports in some sections of the media stating that 18 officers were kidnapped, only 16 were attacked in the ambush.

“The officers successfully repelled the attack accordingly and neutralised the bandits in their tens while many of the bandits scampered into the bush with gunshot injuries.

“Regrettably, four of the officers paid the supreme price during the exchange of gunfire between the Police and the bandits while an officer is still missing.

“However, the remaining 11 officers led by their Unit Commander successfully recovered the bodies and firearms of their fallen colleagues while concerted efforts are being intensified to rescue the officer still missing.

“The IGP, while commiserating with the families of the officers who have yet again paid the supreme price in the service of our nation, assures that their death shall not be in vain.

“The IGP assures the citizens that the Force is not deterred and will not relent in its commitment to delivering on its mandate and ensuring that all activities of bandits and other unscrupulous elements in the area and other parts of the country are brought to check.”

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Marwa Warns Against Cannabis Legalisation

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Says “It is money versus life”

 

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Buba Marwa at the State House, Abuja, during a visit by Marwa to brief him on the activities of the agency (photo by The Guardian)

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), has enjoined members of the National Assembly not to support to move to legalise cannabis, cautioning that members who vote for it might not be able to return to their constituencies.Marwa made the submission yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

The former military administrator of Lagos said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the dangers of cannabis to the brain, disclosing that Nigeria was the highest consumer of the substance globally.

Vowing that Nigeria would not submit to the push for its legalisation, Marwa said: “Now, the WHO itself has declared that cannabis affects the brain, alters brain function. It destabilises and affects behaviour. It also affects body organs, and at some point, it can lead to death.

“So, while we appreciate those who want to legalise it for financial gains, we have to be careful to reconcile it with life. So, it’s money versus life. And up to this point, science has not developed up to the point where it can remove the THC in cannabis to zero.

“Therefore, cannabis is harmful to our health; it is a danger to society. We must never allow its legalisation. What’s more, Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users; this is the highest in the world. Isn’t it sad?

“We should be the highest in science, technology, mathematics, physics and not highest in cannabis. That is something we need.

“We can never support legalisation and I don’t see how the National Assembly would pass the bill because I know 90 per cent or more of the honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly know the implications of this legalisation. They dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs legalisation because we are seeing the implication on the ground. The youth, the families are being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs. It wouldn’t be legalised by the grace of God.”

Marwa, who revealed that he has received constant death threats from criminals in the course of his assignment, said he was not concerned even though he takes precautions.

Specifically, on the threats, he quipped: “Severally! It’s almost a daily occurrence because my phone number is open. Equally, messages come through family, through colleagues, and sometimes people at random whom we don’t know but I live in the territory. That said, we also take precautions.”

The NDLEA boss said he was at that presidential villa to brief President Buhari on the recent activities of the agency, especially the move to construct barracks for personnel of the agency, saying he received a positive response from the president on the initiative.

“Well, the President told us well done. And that well done does not go to Gen. Marwa but the NDLEA officers and men. And if there’s a secret behind it, we thank the Almighty God for the successes recorded so far, and also to the gallant and professional officers and men of the NDLEA who have remained upstanding.”

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Court freezes Kogi State Govt’s Bank Account over N20billion Salary Loan Fraud

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Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday froze a Kogi salary bailout account domiciled in a new generation bank over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.

Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim made the order pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The agency approached the court via an ex-parte application brought pursuant to Section 44(2) of the Constitution and Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act.

Its counsel, Mr A. O. Muhammed, informed the court that the order was necessary to preserve the res and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account.

Moving the application, Muhammed alleged that the N20b loan was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government but was kept in an interest yielding account with the bank.

He added that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, the Kogi State Government instructed the bank to transfer the money from the loan account and place same in a fixed deposit account.

According to the agency, the bank is yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility is well secured.

Granting the application, Justice Ringim ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper and make a quarterly report to the court on the progress of its investigation.

The judge adjourned the matter till December 1, for the report of Investigation.

The EFCC’s allegations were made in its 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion deposed to by a member of a team of investigators attached to the Chairman Monitoring Unit Lagos of the EFCC.

The document averred that the Commission received credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in the account with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account

He said the Commission acted on the said intelligence and assigned same to the Chairman Monitoring Unit, where it was discovered that on April 1, 2019, the management approved an offer of an N20billion bailout loan facility for the Kogi State Government.

According to the deponent, on June 19, 2019, fiscal year, the Kogi State Government, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Office of the Commissioner, applied for a credit facility of N20billion with an interest rate of nine per cent for a tenure of 240 months from the bank”.

The agency added that the said facility was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government.

It stated further that on June 26, 2019, the credit facility offer was accepted vide a memorandum of acceptance signed by Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Asiwaju Idris Asiru, the Commissioner of Finance Kogi State; and one Alhaji Momoh Jibrin, Accountant General, Kogi State.

It averred that before the said application for a loan, the Kogi State Government on the 19th June 2019 vide a letter to the Manager of the bank in Lokoja applied for an account opening in the Bank with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account with Alhaji Momoh Jubril, Accountant General of the State and Elijah Evinemi Ag. Director Treasury as the signatories to the said account.

“That upon the opening of the said account disbursed salary intervention loan to the tune of N20billion to the account.

“That rather than use the intervention funds for the purpose for which it was granted, the State Government proceeded to open a fixed deposit account No. 0073572696.

“That on the 25 day of July 2019, the bank acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government transferred the money from the loan account and placed same on the aforementioned fixed deposit account.

“That the said account sought to be frozen received the sum of twenty billion naira, (N20, 000,000,000) on the 25th July 2019.

“That as of 1st day of April 2021 the balance standing to the credit of the said fixed deposit account was N19,333,333,333.36 billion

“That we are still tracing what the sum of N666,666,666.64 billion, has been deducted from the said funds and were not used for the payment of the salary.

“That the Commission has the statutory mandate to prevent the Commission of economic and financial Crimes with the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“That investigation in this matter is still ongoing and this application is pertinent to secure the funds in the said account to prevent them from being totally dissipated.

“That without freezing the nominated accounts, there is no better way of preserving

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