President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

LAGOS, July 22 (Xinhua)

Poverty rate in Nigeria has dropped from 35.2 percent to 33.1 percent in 2013, a latest World Bank report said on Tuesday.

The decrease represents a dramatic drop from an estimated poverty rate of 62.2 percent recorded between 2009 and 2010 based on the Harmonized Nigeria Living Standard Statistics (HNLSS), John Litwack, the bank’s acting country manager said.

According to him, the poverty rates per capital from the General Household Survey (GHS) panel between 2012 and 2013 is 33.1 percent with 44.9 percent in the rural areas and 12.6 percent in the
urban areas.

The WB official told reporters that there appeared to be higher
poverty rate in the northern part than in the southern parts of the country,noting that the number of poor Nigerians has remained 58 million, more than half of which live in the northeast or northwest of the country.

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Red Berets of the Nigeria Police Force Anti Terrorism Squad

Red Berets of the Nigeria Police Force’s Counter Terrorist Unit

By Garba Muhammed
KADUNA NIGERIA | Wed Jul 23, 2014

Two bomb blasts in the north Nigerian city of Kaduna killed at least 82 people on Wednesday, officials said, in attacks that bore the hallmarks of violent Islamist group Boko Haram.

A suicide bomber targeting a moderate Muslim cleric killed at least 32 of the cleric’s congregation on a busy commercial road. Shortly after, a second bomb blast killed 50 people in the crowded Kawo market on Wednesday, a local Red Cross worker on the scene, who declined to be named,told Reuters.

Thousands were gathered for prayers with Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi in Murtala Muhammed square,and when his convoy pulled up, the bomber lunged at him before being stopped by his private security,witnesses and police said.

“The attack was targeted at the sheikh. No arrest has been made yet,” said police commissioner Shehu Umar.The bomb did not injure Bauchi, several witnesses told Reuters. Mustafa Sani, a volunteer for Bauchi’s mosque evacuating bodies, said there were 32 confirmed dead so far.

“Somebody with a bomb vest … was blocked. He detonated the bomb along with the person that tried to block him,” Umar said,adding that police had only been able to confirm 25 dead, with 14 wounded. Police sometimes give lower casualty tolls than workers on the scene.

A Reuters reporter saw blood and body parts scattered on the Alkali Road in the city center. The military used pick-up trucks to cordon off the area. Sirens wailed as fire engines raced to the scene.

An angry crowd started throwing stones at police,who responded by dispersing them with tear gas. Some followers had come from Senegal, Chad and Niger to see the popular sheikh.


There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either blast, but Islamist militant group Boko Haram has been staging attacks, especially with explosives, outside its northeastern heartlands in the past three months.

Since launching an insurgency in 2009, the militants have often
attacked clerics,like Bauchi,who take issue with their Salafist ideology. If Boko Haram is responsible for Wednesday’s attack,it underscores the risks moderate clerics take speaking out against it

The insurgents, who are fighting to carve out an Islamic state in
Nigeria, have repeatedly targeted civilians this year, mostly in remote northeastern Borno state. They killed more than 2,000 civilians during the first half of this year, Human Rights Watch(HRW) estimated a week ago. The Islamists sacked the northeast town of Damboa and surrounding villages over the weekend, killing at least 50 people.

The rebellion has been in the international spotlight since Boko
Haram fighters kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in the northeastern village of Chibok on April 14th. President Goodluck Jonathan met parents of the abducted girls, and some other girls who had escaped, for the first time on Tuesday.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau last week claimed
responsibility for two explosions on June 25 at a fuel depot in
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, that killed at least two people.

A military offensive since May last year that was meant to dismantle their hold on the northeast has caused the militants to react in two ways: brutal attacks on civilians in the region have surged dramatically, and efforts to strike out in areas far from the rebels’ strongholds have resumed. A blast in the central city of Jos, 170km (105 miles) east of Kaduna, killed 118 people in May.

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Cameroonian soldiers in a Landcruiser gun truck armed with a Chinese-made Type 58 twin 14.5mm AAMG system.


July 23, 2014

In the villages that line the border with Nigeria,even those charged with protecting Cameroonians from Boko Haram fighters fear the fall of darkness. “When night falls, we tremble. We don’t sleep,” said a Cameroonian policeman from a far-northern border town, on condition of anonymity.

The Nigeria-born Islamist group has stepped up raids into northern Cameroon in recent days, murdering and stealing with impunity despite military efforts to clamp down on their bloody insurgency.

On Sunday local police said one of their officers was killed during an attack on the village of Nariki, 500 metres from Boko Haram’s Nigerian stronghold of Tarmoa, adding to scores of deaths from raids on local towns this month.

The militants have long used Cameroon to launch attacks on Nigeria as the border between them is extremely porous, with no buffer-zone clearly separating the two countries.

Earlier this month they stole a pick-up truck and weapons in a raid on a police post in Bomberi, Cameroon, only to abandon it on Nigerian territory where it was found by troops days later, said another Cameroon police officer. Weapons and goods cross the border freely too: the remote northern Cameroon town of Amchide has become a hotbed for Boko Haram fighters and a hub for
trafficking to finance their recruitment.

Cameroon, like other west African countries, has beefed up its operations against Boko Haram since the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls three months ago sparked an international outcry. The army claims to have killed many militants in recent weeks and suspected members and collaborators have been arrested and sent to the capital, Yaounde.

Cameroon’s elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) recently destroyed one Boko Haram camp during a foray across the border into Tarmoa, said the second officer. Supported by international governments, they have also targeted the Sambisa forest near the shared border where Nigerian authorities believe the kidnapped schoolgirls may still be hidden in the militants’ camps.

- Constant threat –

But Cameroon’s efforts have done little to stem Boko Haram’s bloody five-year insurgency or stop almost daily attacks that have left local communities living in constant fear.“Boko Haram is disorganised because of joint operations by the Cameroonian and Nigerian armed forces, but its activists carry out attacks here and there in Cameroon,” the second officer said. The first policeman said the insurgents can easily escape as “they know very well” where the Cameroonian troops are located.

The Islamist group, blamed for slaughtering more than 2,000 civilians already this year, has increasingly targeted remote border communities, razing entire villages. Two Cameroonian shepherds were killed and 200 cattle stolen by militants on July 10 during a raid in the village of Bame, less than 10 kilometers (six miles) from the Nigerian border, said the first police officer.

And suspected Boko Haram fighters kidnapped a 20-year-old Cameroonian earlier this month from the village of Balgaram after an attack was foiled by the army. Senior local figures are also being intimidated to stop them from helping the government against Boko Haram.

In Limani, which lies in the flashpoint zone between Nigeria’s Tarmoa and Amchide in Cameroon,militants kidnapped the sons of a traditional chief who has been a go-between for the group. “They were intimidating the father,” said the second police officer. “He’s a go-between for Boko Haram, which suspects him of collaborating with Cameroonian forces.”

A lack of coordination by military forces— particularly between Nigeria and Cameroon — has hampered the efforts to stop the insurgents. That was made clear during a botched attempt to rescue 10 Chinese road workers who were kidnapped in May. A negotiator was hurt when a team of Cameroonians sent to bring back the
workers in early July was fired on by the Nigerian army, which was unaware of their operation, said the second officer.

“There is currently a tacit agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon to let soldiers from both countries cross the border either way during actions against Boko Haram,” he added. But officially, the Yaounde government does not allow any right of pursuit by
Nigerian forces on its territory.

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NNS Siri P181, a 58 metre Combattante III missile Fast Attack Craft on patrol

NNS Siri P181, a 58 metre Combattante III missile Fast Attack Craft on patrol

19 Jul, 2014

The Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has said that constant patrol by the Nigerian Navy on the country’s maritime environment has led to a remarkable reduction in sea crimes and oil theft.

Obanikoro who stated this during an official tour of Naval formations under the Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, Cross River State, noted that, although sea crimes and oil theft had drastically reduced, there was need for increased patrol on the nation’s waterways in order to stamp out the menace.

He commended the Eastern Naval Command for its efforts at curbing the menace of piracy and oil theft within its operating environment, adding that this is in tandem with government’s policy on zero tolerance for crime.

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Colonel (rtd) Sambo Dasuki, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser

19 July, 2014

Reacting to comments made by the chairman of the newly inaugurated Committee on Victim Support Fund, General Theophilus Danjuma (Rtd.) to the effect that the war against Boko Haram insurgents is taking too long, a serving general within the Nigerian Army,said moles who have ceased being loyal to the Constitution of Nigeria are largely responsible for the seeming failure of the counter-insurgency in the North East.

General Danjuma,while making comments after the inauguration last Wednesday, had expressed worry over the protracted war against terrorism and had asked the government to as a matter of urgency act fast and ensure that Boko Haram is brought to its knees.

He had said that: “The insurgents appear to be having an upper hand at this very moment. They pick and choose where to strike; they are even holding positions and displacing us. We must win this war, Mr President. We must do so immediately.”

But in a swift reaction to the challenge, a serving general said some of the problems standing between the military and victory over the terrorists, include desertion,delay in the trial of arrested suspected terrorists, hostility of some communities in the northeast, political elites sympathetic to the insurgents, lack of motorable roads, insufficient mobility on the part of the troops, undue criticism of the troops,peculiarity of the counter-insurgency operations, amongst others.

According to him, “I read what General Danjuma said and I can really understand his position, but perhaps if he had known what we are going through, especially the challenges we are facing over the counter-insurgency operations, he would have given us kudos for how we are able to contain the insurgents,” the general, who does not want his name in print said.

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President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Published on July 18, 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the release of additional funds for the purchase of military hardware, the Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, said.

Obanikoro said while on inspection tour of Navy formations and facilities in Rivers on Thursday that the purchase of the hardware would boost the capacity of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the fight against terror.

“President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to enhancing our military efficiency and capacity to deliver in the fight against insurgency. “In the fight against terrorism; the President has approved huge acquisitions to build up the capacity of our military; and this has not been done in the last 25 years. “These are efforts that are highly commendable, and, we should continue to encourage and support government to do more in the fight against insurgency.

“The fight against terrorism is not all about the President – it is not about you and me – it is about all of us (Nigerians); and it is a war that we can only win if we stand together. “Without sounding immodest, I commend the commitment,dedication and the sacrifices they (military personnel) have been making and made in the past.”

Obanikoro said that the military had shown resilience in spite of operational challenges, adding that the President was determined to provide more support.He called on Nigerians to support and cooperate with the military in its bid to end security challenges confronting the nation.

It would be recalled that Jonathan asked the National Assembly, for approval of a loan of one billion dollars (N162bn) to fund military operations in the country.

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President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo(in the background)

President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo(in the background).

President Jonathan appears determined, and most commendably so, to have the defence and security forces retooled in a manner which has not been experienced for over thirty years

16 July, 2014

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan wrote the National Assembly Wednesday, seeking the approval of a $1 billion loan to enable government tackle the increased security challenges posed by the Boko Haram.

Jonathan’s request was contained in a letter dated July 15, and addressed to House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, entitled Tackling Ongoing Security Challenges for Urgent Action.

The letter read in part: “You are no doubt cognizant of the ongoing serious security challenges, which the nation is facing as typified by the Boko Haram terrorists threat. This is an issue that we have discussed at various times.

“I would like to bring to your attention the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of our Armed Forces and security services to enable them be more forceful to confront this serious threat.“For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion, including government to government arrangements for this upgrade.”

It will be recalled that Defence got the lion share of N968.127 billion of the N4.964 trillion 2014 budget.

What Military already got

While giving a breakdown of the budget recently, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed that the military had already accessed N130.7 billion between January and April, while another N3.8 billion already approved by President Goodluck Jonathan was being processed and would soon be released to the military. She explained that of the disbursed N130.7 billion, N85.9 billion was for personnel cost.

The Minister had said: “Defence spending is top in everything. You know that military establishments need new things to assist them in their work and ours will not be different. “No budget will be enough to meet their demands, but for now I think the sector takes almost a trillion of the budget.”

Vanguard, however, learnt that the request may be considered and approved today, since both chambers of the National Assembly will be proceeding on their annual recess to resume mid-September.

POST-SCRIPT: It will recalled that President Jonathan in May 2014 gave approval for the release of an extra-budgetary grant of US$1 billion to the Armed Forces for the purpose of hardware acquisition.

If this loan facility is approved, the military and security forces would have in one year alone, received a decent sum of US$2 billion for the purpose of rearmament. That is easily the heaviest outlay dedicated to the purpose of hardware procurement since the ouster of the Shagari regime in 1983.


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