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Soldiers Massacre: How Boko Haram are gaining more terrorist grounds in Nigeria

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About 118 persons have been reportedly killed after series of attacks on military bases by the Islamic State group through its affiliate in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram, last week.

The Islamist militant group said in a video posted online late on Thursday that it conducted five operations in Chad and Nigeria between November 15 and 21, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity.

Security sources said at least 44 soldiers were killed in an attack in Metele village, near the border with Niger, on Sunday, although one soldier who escaped gave a higher toll.

“The truth is we lost more than 100 men because we were quickly routed,” he said on condition of anonymity from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Friday. “We were outgunned, so we tried to fight. We realised it was unrealistic so we decided to leave.”

Most of the soldiers were killed as the trucks they were in tried to crash through a perimeter fence at the base but got stuck. Senior officers were among the dead, he added. Even a search team that came to find the bodies of fallen soldiers on Tuesday was attacked, the soldier said.

With more than 27,000 people been killed since the insurgency began in 2009 and some 1.8 million are still homeless, President Muhammadu Buhari, won the 2015 election bases on a pledge to defeat Boko Haram. Presently, he claims to have “technically defeated” them.

The recent attacks have cast doubt on that assertion and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is questioning Buhari’s security record. PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar sent a condolence message to the families of those who were killed and said the losses were “a clear sign that our troops need to be better funded and better equipped”.

Soldiers have complained of being over-stretched and under-resourced.

According to AFP, at least 17 attempts to overrun army bases has happened since July. Many have been claimed by the IS-backed Boko Haram faction, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

Security analysts said more attacks were expected in the run-up to February 16, when Nigerians go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament.

But Yan St-Pierre, a counter-terrorism specialist with the Modern Security Consulting Group, said there were implications beyond Nigeria’s borders.

The intensity and regularity of recent attacks indicated ISWAP now had “a capacity for sustained warfare” and “a significant number of fighters and materials” at its disposal.

Asked whether that meant external support from IS remnants from elsewhere, he told AFP: “Without a doubt.”

He added: “ISWAP’s attacks occur against military and foreign targets with increasing frequency in Nigeria, Chad and Niger, with an increasing presence in Cameroon.”

That “not only demonstrates that ISWAP has the capacity and the mobility to successfully organise attacks in multiple areas but that its interests are fully regional”, he said.

“Put in the context of expanding IS activity in the Sahel — especially eastwards — this regional focus is an important change that affects ISWAP military operations.”

Speaking to APF, Amaechi Nwokolo, a security analyst at the Roman Institute of Security Studies in Abuja, said the insurgency had become politicised.

“Now, as election season and Christmas approach, we are likely to see an upsurge in attacks. These terrorists are not dumb. They will certainly want to create chaos around the election.”

Political analyst Chris Ngwodo said the PDP would likely want to make capital out of the current situation but added it had not translated into a loss of support for Buhari or the APC.

“I can’t see that these attacks have shifted public opinion here,” he said from Maiduguri. “Borno still feels like Buhari territory.

“The opposition will look for chinks in the armour of the ruling party but I don’t know if they can generate the kind of traction from these kinds of incidents”

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Akpabio vows to crush Emmanuel

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Godswill Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State on Sunday vowed to crush the incumbent governor in the 2019 elections. He stated that he brought Emmanuel Udom from Lagos and installed him as Governor of the state. 

Akpabio further disclosed that Emmanuel Udom never had a membership card of any political party neither had he contested for any election on his own, before he (Akpabio) picked him up from Lagos and made him Governor.

Daily Post reported that the former Senate Minority Leader who said the All Progressives Congress, APC, would record a landslide victory in the general elections in the State, added;

“I was shocked that Emmanuel whom I brought from Lagos and installed as a Governor even though he was not a member of the party on whose platform he stood election and become Governor, could call a world press conference to insult me.

He said, ‘’the electorate in the state would reciprocate the kind gesture of Mr President Buhari by voting massively for him and all candidates of the APC in the state.’’

Akpabio who took a swipe at Governor Emmanuel over what he described as hypocritical campaign slogan tagged “only God”, said God cannot be mocked, noting that;

“Only God could have made it possible to make someone who was never a party member to become a governor.

“Only God could have made somebody who has never had a party card or know what is called ward to become a governor.

“Only God could have made someone who could not have stood election on his own even as a Councilor and win to be brought from somewhere and made Governor.

”Only God could have made a man who has never helped anyone to become anything to become governor.”

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Buhari to meet APC NWC

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President Muhammadu Buhari may meet All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) this week over the campaign for next year’s poll.

President Buhari and northern governors

The meeting may also review reconciliation efforts to pacify aggrieved members.

The President has banned public officers and agencies from contributing to his campaign.

There are indications, however, that most leaders prefer the beginning of marathon rallies from January.

Other support groups can, however, engage in various campaigns nationwide.

The NWC wrote President Buhari before his trip to Poland for an audience to firm up campaign modalities.

A presidency source said: “Mr President will soon kick off his campaign after consultations with the party. The NWC actually wrote to seek an audience with him on some issues.

“These issues are campaign modalities, determining the kick-off date, outcome of the reconciliation efforts and how to ensure victory at the poll. Do not forget that the party gave the six reconciliation panels a two-week deadline to complete their assignment.

“The President promised to meet with the NWC after his trip to Poland. So, the session may hold this week.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “ Buhari does not want public funds diverted to his campaign. He has warned public officers, ministries, departments and agencies against contributing to his campaign.

“ The President is determined to end the practice of diverting funds meant for projects to the campaign. Certainly,  the 2019 poll will be based on character and the achievements of this administration.

“Government officers and heads of agencies who plan to fiddle with public funds for the campaign will have themselves to blame.”

Most APC leaders prefer January for campaign shuttles in order not to disrupt the Christmas session.

Some leaders also advised the President to lay the 2019 Budget before embarking on the campaign.

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Donald trump nominates Heather Nauert as UN envoy

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The President of the United States,Donald Trump has announced that the spokeswoman for the State Department  and former Fox TV news anchor Heather Nauert Friday will be the new ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump told reporters that Nauert, who is going to be Nikki Haley’s sucessor, had done well at the State Department by all,” Trump said.

He further added that Nauert through her hard work and diligence has proved beyond doubt that she is worthy of the office.Haley,the incumbent ambassador announced who had also served as the governor of South Carolina has decided to step down to pursue her political dreams.

Nauert — a former anchor of “Fox and Friends,” among the television-loving Trump’s favorite shows — is the spokeswoman of the State Department despite the fact that she lacks foreign policy experience.

Unlike her predecessor , Nauert is not expected to have cabinet status,which means that foreign policy decisions will remain firmly with Trump’s hawkish national security advisor John Bolton, and Nauert’s current boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

This recommendation would have to go through the senate and it is likely to come to fruition and gain support since the republicans enjoy majority in the house.

Israel, a very close ally has shown their support for the new change, they hope to continue to enjoy the support of  the United States in the UN Security Council.

“Ms. Nauert has stood by the State of Israel in her previous positions, and I have no doubt that the cooperation between our two countries will continue to strengthen as ambassador to the UN,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said in a statement.

Haley, in what could be a final diplomatic push, on Thursday failed in a bid for the UN General Assembly to condemn the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas for firing rockets at Israel.

But for the United States, the vote also succeeded in reaffirming  its stance that the United Nations is biased against Israel.

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Court sacks APC exco

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The Anambra State Executive Committee (SEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by Emeka Ibe, has been sacked by a Federal High Court. But in a statement, yesterday in Awka, the state capital, by the State Publicity Secretary, Okelo Madukaife, the party said there was no cause for alarm.

All Progressives Congress

The sack followed a suit filed by one of the state chairmanship contestants in the party’s congress in May, Mr Onyi Uzochukwu.

The plaintiff said Ibe was not properly nominated during the Congress.

He prayed the court to nullify the Congress and call for a fresh one.

Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice I. B. Gafai nullified the congress and ordered for a fresh one.

But the party said the court judgment had not been served on any of the sacked persons.

The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media to the effect that the Anambra State Executive of APC has been dissolved by a Federal High Court sitting in Awka.

“Our State Executive has not been served with any court process in any High Court matter relating to any subject around our mandate duly conferred on May 19…

“However, given our status as a party of the rule of law and due process, we shall, if and when we are served with such a process and judgment, study it properly with a view to doing the needful on it, within the hierarchy of laws and courts in Nigeria.

“For now, there is no shaking, as we remain in our duty post with three years and a half to complete our tenure.

“In the interim, our Executive remain intact, properly constituted and within the due discharge of its duties in our great party.”

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