•FG moves to reintegrate repentant terrorists
From Molly Kilete, Abuja and Joe
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-EteIkwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar.
Public Relations Officer to the Minister of Defence, Colonel Tukur Gusau, who made this known in a statement, said the extension was in pursuant of the powers conferred on the president by section 218 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution and section 09.06 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions for Service for officers (2012) revised.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has engaged the services of local and international mediation agencies to dialogue with the various communities in the North East to change their perception and accommodate repentant terrorist suspects into the communities they belong.
The move, according to government, is part of its deradicalisation programmes for repentant Boko Haram suspects.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Mungono, who made this known, said since they have various levels of culpability in terrorism, their fate would be addressed based on the report of the joint intelligence and investigative committee earlier set up to look into the matter.
Monguno who made this known at a high-level inter-agency conference in Abuja, however, said some repentant Boko Haram suspects being admitted into the government’s safe corridor programme would be accorded different treatment based on their individual levels of commital to terrorism act.
The NSA who was represented by the Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre, Commodore Yem Musa, said: “There’s the need for us to prepare the community to accept them into the various communities they earlier belong.
“This is also going to form part of the discussion on how to prepare our communities to be able to accommodate them when they go through the deradicalisation process.
“It’s going to be problematic but we hope that through the inter-agency collaboration and the collaboration of the communities, we will be able to address this serious challenge.
“Their issues will be addressed based on joint intelligence and investigative report to see their levels of involvement.
“Based on the categorisation, some of them could still go through the criminal justice system before being absorbed into the deradicalisation programme.
“You are aware that some of them may have been forced into the Boko Haram and such people may be given some kinds of measures that would make them to go through the deradicalisation process that will eventually lead to them being brought back to the main society through reintegration.”
$1bn needed to address humanitarian crisis in 2018 –UN
At least, $1 billion would be needed in 2018 to reconstruct the devastation in the North-East and meet the needs of about 6.1 million people in dire need of humanitarian response in the region.
This was disclosed recently by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA, Nigeria) during a two-day dialogue with the media in Kano State which theme was: “The humanitarian crisis in the North-East: Taking stock and looking ahead.”
Head of Communications, OCHA, Samantha Newport, in her presentation, noted that that humanitarian crisis remains severe nine years after due to the ongoing conflict, continued internal displacement and the unpredictable return of refugees from neighboring countries.
She said the humanitarian crisis in the North East remains one of the most severe in the world.
In his presentation, Jubril Shittu, International NGOs (INGO forum) said continued insecurity prevented them from reaching 900,000 people.
“We do not have access to them. The situation keeps changing, people keep moving and it’s difficult to plan ahead. Also, renewed attacks on returnees in parts of Borno and Yobe states may affect the full realisation of recovery and reconstruction unless optimal attention is given by Federal Government to secure the region,” he said.
According to Jorge Martinez, Health Sector Coordinator, MoH/WHO, the health life-threatening situation of the displaced persons in the North East needed urgent and optimal support.
He disclosed that WHO would need $109.5 million in funding in 2018 to meet the health requirements of 5,123,196 displaced persons out of the 7,884,933 million who actually need help.
Hanson Tamil, external Relation Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Nigeria said the media dialogue aimed to better educate journalists on the humanitarian situation and responses the region.
A’Ibom Speaker to FG: Release $1bn for Ogoni clean-up
In a related development, Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke asked the Federal Government to quickly release $1 billion for Ogoni clean up exercise.
Making the remarks at the public hearing and stakeholders meeting on the proposed constitution amendment, yesterday, he said meeting the development needs of the region would be a direct reward for the drastic reduction in restiveness in the region.
“There has to be a reward for the peace in the Niger Delta; we must learn to reward peace and decorum in this country. We have today approved the release of $1 billion in one fell swoop to quell Boko Haram activities; we have no problem at all with securing our brothers and sisters. But the money approved for the cleanup of Ogoni has not been released till today. That cleanup has not gone to the level that it ought to go to, but we have gotten one billion dollars for the fight against Boko Haram. “We are not quarreling with this. All that we are demanding is a level playing turf. The same way you are quick to release jumbo funds for the fighting of Boko Haram, you should be able to give even more towards development and as an appreciation of the peace that we have ensured in Akwa Ibom.
“You should be able to do this through developing the states and funding federal projects in the region which produces the wealth from where the Excess Crude Oil account is funded.”