About 200 young boys graduated from ISWAP training camps in February – Report

<SUNBIGHT>~Investigative Report~Arewa~Afo~12th March,2022 @ 12:36 WAT

ABOUT 200 young boys graduated from the Darul-Quran training camp operated by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) in February, according to a report by the Institute of Security Studies (ISS)

This report titled ‘Children on the battlefield: ISWAP’s latest recruits’ was published on the website of the ISS on Thursday.

The ISS reported that those familiar with the programme disclosed that ISWAP operates 50 such camps in the Lake Chad Basin where children from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger were trained.

“Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research shows that about 200 young boys graduated from Darul Quran in early February.

“In the ISWAP video, instructors noted that the group had similar training camps in different locations. The report states that those familiar with the programme told the ISS about 50 such camps on the Lake Chad islands, where youth from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria were present,” the report stated.

ISS further said that formal education had been one of Boko Haram’s primary targets, with 5,000 classrooms razed in northeast Nigeria since the insurgency commenced in 2009.

The report observed that a video that showed children being fed contrasted with their realities in the training camps.

ISS said the children were subjected to dire conditions characterised by abuses such as whipping or hitting, starvation, exhaustion and lack of sleep.

“Children deemed to be slow learners or not fit to be trained are treated as slaves and assigned non-combat roles. They are deployed to commanders’ homes, where they perform tasks such as fetching firewood and water, doing laundry and delivering messages to other villages,” the report added.

The report also noted that although ill-treatment of civilians, use of youngsters in combat, enslavement of women and girls and starving children to death were among the reasons for Boko Haram’s split, ISWAP has started the same practices.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2021 said West and Central Africa is the region with the highest number of child soldiers and the most underage victims of sexual violence in the world.

UNICEF said since 2016, government forces and armed groups have recruited more than 21,000 children.

Way Forward

The ISS report advised governments and other stakeholders in the Lake Chad region to urgently prevent more children from being recruited through preventive instead of reactionary responses.

It noted that the advice was based on the understanding that the lack of formal education and livelihoods were among the conditions that enable children’s recruitment.

“Community consultations are the anchor for any strategy to address child recruitment. Without this vital step, interventions will be less effective, and former recruits may be stigmatised and rejected,” the report advised.■

[Culled From Lukman ABOLADE// International Centre For Investigative Reporting]

“Tsaigumi” – Nigerian first Indigenous UAV

<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Eke~18th February, 2022 @ 22:41 WAT

NKEMDILIM Anulika Ofodile is the designer of “Tsaigumi” – Nigerian first indigenous operational UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

Flight Lieutenant Nkemdilim Anulika Ofodile is an aerospace engineer with Nigeria Air Force and also the only female in the team of Air Force’s aerospace engineers.

Ofodile is credited for designing Nigeria’s first indigenous military-grade unmanned aerial vehicle.

Nicknamed Tsaigumi, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was unveiled in 2018 and it was built in collaboration with UAVision of Portugal.■

Nigerian Air Force To Receive First Batch Of $1.2 billion M-345FA Fighter Jets

<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Nkwo~17th February,2022 @ 16:45 WAT

NIGERIAN Air Force get ready for the first batch of M-346FA attack jet, aquired to replace the Alpha jet in the light ground attack role.

With a price tag of $1.2 billion (for 24 aircraft) it is the single most expensive acquisition in the history of the Nigerian Air Force

The M-346FA will come between the Super Tucano and JF-17Thunder to become the workhorse of the NAF by complementing the Counter Insurgency warfare carried out by the A-29 Super Tucano and provide air to air/ air superiority support to the JF-17 Thunder for strategic air defence and deep strike missions.■

[Courtesy:ReubenAbati]

Embattled Nigerian Police Officer Abba Kyari accuses IPOB and ESN for been behind his travails

<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Nkwo~16th February,2022 @ 15:57 WAT

Report by Madukwe Nnochironye [Abuja]

SUSPENDED deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, has accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) for his travails.

He made the claim when he appeared before the probe panel chaired by Joseph Egbunike, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

Kyari’s claim was contained in a report submitted by the panel to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, which was in turn forwarded to the Police Service Commission (PSC).

He was quoted to have said: “It is a campaign to smear his reputation by members of IPOB/ESN who vowed to destroy him, due to his onslaught against them in the South East.”

It was reported that the panel faulted Kyari’s claim, saying it is watery and recommended his demotion from the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police.

Recall that in July 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted Kyari of conspiring with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, in a $1.1 million scam.

Meanwhile, while the Nigerian Minister of Justice is stalling on the extradition of the embattled senior police officer.

On Monday February 14, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) exposed Kyari and declares him wanted “over his involvement in a 25kg cocaine deal”, which prompted the Police Headquarters to effect his arrest and then transferred him to the custody of the NDLEA.

In a meeting held on Thursday,February 10, the Police Service Commission decided to set up another panel to investigate the allegation made against DCP Kyari in regard to the $1 million scam masterminded by Hushpuppi.

The new panel of investigation has being directed to finalise and present its reports in two weeks.■

Police transfer Abba Kyari, four others to NDLEA

<SUNBIGHT>~Crime~Eke~14th February,2022 @ 21:41 WAT

THE Nigeria Police Force has transferred Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari; and four others to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency barely four hours after they were declared wanted by the NDLEA.

The Spokesman for the drug enforcement agency, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said this in a statement on Monday titled, ‘Wanted DCP Abba Kyari, four others now in our custody – NDLEA’.

Others who were brought to the custody of the NDLEA include ACP Sunday Ubua; ASP Bawa James; Inspector Simon Agirgba and Inspector John Nuhu.

The statement read in part, “A few hours after he was declared wanted by the NDLEA over his involvement in a 25kg cocaine deal, the Nigerian Police Force has handed over the suspended DCP Abba Kyari, the erstwhile Commander of Intelligence Response Team at the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigerian Police Force, to the anti-narcotic agency.

“Five of the wanted suspects namely: DCP Abba Kyari; ACP Sunday J. Ubua; ASP Bawa James; Inspector Simon Agirgba and Inspector John Nuhu were driven into the National Headquarters of NDLEA in Abuja at about 5pm on Monday to formally hand them over for interrogation and further investigation.

“The agency wishes to assure (members of the public) that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that all suspects already in custody and those that may still be indicted in the course of investigation will face the full weight of the law at the end of the ongoing probe.”■

[Courtesy: Eniola AKINKUOTU// Punch]

How Abba Kyari negotiated release of 25kg cocaine, offered $61, 400 cash –NDLEA

<SUNBIGHT>~Crime~Eke~14th February,2022 @ 21:21 WAT

THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has chronicled how it nabbed suspended Head of the Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari in a drug deal.

NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, narrated that Kyari belonged to a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.

Babafemi said Kyari contacted an officer of the Agency in January 2022 and tried to seal a deal.

He said, “Let me give a synopsis of what transpired. The saga started on Friday, January 21, 2022, when DCP Kyari initiated a call to one of the NDLEA officers in Abuja at 2:12 pm. When the officer returned the call two minutes later, Kyari informed him he was coming to see him, to discuss an operational matter after the Juma’at service.

“He (Kyari) appeared at the agreed venue of the meeting with the officer and went straight to the crux of the matter. This was it: His team had intercepted and arrested some traffickers that came into the country from Ethiopia with, according to him, 25kg of cocaine.

“He proposed a drug deal whereby he and his team are to take 15kg of the cocaine and leave 10kg for the prosecution of the suspects arrested with the illicit drug in Enugu. In the meantime, the purloined cocaine will be replaced with a dummy worth 15kg. He asked the NDLEA officer to persuade men of the FCT Command, to play along as well.

“By 11: 05 am on Monday, January 24, after the Agency gave the officer the green light to play along, he and Kyari began a WhatsApp call for the rest of the day. The officer conveyed “their” willingness to play the game.

“At this point, Kyari disclosed that the 15kg (already taken out) was shared between the informants that provided information for the seizure and he and his men of the IRT of the Nigerian Police. According to him, the informants were given 7kg while his team took 8kg which was already sold.

“He (Kyari) then offered to pay the NDLEA team (that is the officer and the FCT commander) by selling, on their behalf, half of the remaining 10kg, thereby further reducing the original cocaine for the prosecution to just 5kg. At N7m per kilogram, the proceed from the 5kg would amount to N35m, at the exchange rate of N570 per dollar being the black market rate for the day, January 24, 2022. In effect, he would be delivering $61, 400 to the NDLEA team.

“He (Kyari) put pressure on our officer to wrap up the arrangement with the commander of the FCT Command to take custody of the drug and suspects from his men who were on ground in Abuja. At the time, he was speaking from Lagos, where he allegedly travelled for private business.


“The next day January 25, Kyari offered to send his younger brother to deliver the payment while his men deliver the suspects, but our officer turned down the suggestion, insisting he would rather deal with him in person and was therefore prepared to wait for him to return from Lagos.

“And by 5: 23 pm, Kyari was in Abuja and met with the officer at the same rendezvous where they had the first meeting. In their discussion, he disclosed how his team received the information from a double-crosser who betrayed the traffickers to him, showing a sordid connection between law enforcement agents and the drug underworld; he narrated how acting on the tip-off, his team departed Abuja to Enugu and arrested the traffickers, removed part of the consignment on his instruction and replaced same with dummies.

“He (Kyari) also indicated how to identify the remnant of the original cocaine that would be delivered to NDLEA, five original packages marked with red dots. The reason for this was to avoid the dummies being subjected to test. He forwarded a picture of the marked original cocaine package. According to the plan, once the 5kg cocaine has been tested in the presence of the suspects and confirmed positive, there would be no need to test the remaining ones, being dummies.

“He (Kyari) also brought with him the money from the sale of the 5kg share of the NDLEA team, a total of $61, 400. Our officer, however, preferred to take the money inside his car. Well, the car was wired with sound and video recorders. And the moment was documented, part of which I will play for you at the end of this briefing.

“DCP Abba Kyari was invited by NDLEA for debriefing on Thursday February 10 through two main channels because there is a whole lot of questions begging for answers. The invitation was legitimate and formal according to our protocol. But up till the close of office hours on Friday, February 11, he refused to respond. Up till this moment, he hasn’t responded.

“Having failed to honour the official invitation, NDLEA has no option but to declare DCP Abba Kyari of the Nigerian Police WANTED, right from this very moment.”

The PUNCH had earlier reported that Kyari was indicted in 2021 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by alleged international Internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi and five others.

FBI Special Agent, Andrew Innocenti, had said he obtained voice calls and WhatsApp conversations between Kyari and Hushpuppi, adding that Hushpuppi also paid the police officer N8m or $20,600 for the arrest and detention of a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Vincent.

The United States Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California had ordered the FBI to arrest Kyari but the IGP and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) evasively continued to shield Kyari till this moment.■

[Courtesy: Kayode OYERO// Punch]

Hold Buhari Responsible If We Embark On Another Strike – ASUU

<SUNBIGHT>~Space~Eke~11th February,2022 @ 14:48 WAT

ASUU said Nigerians should hold the government responsible if another industrial action hits the Universities in no distant time.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos Zone, has called on Nigerians to engage the Nigerian government on issues it said are currently threatening the industrial peace in public Universities.

ASUU said the union dreads embarking on strike, and that deploys it as a last resort only when all other means must have failed.

Recall that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union had directed its various chapters to set aside a day to sensitise and mobilise Nigerians for its fight of saving the university system from collapsing.

ASUU said the Nigerian government has refused to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) that led to the suspension of its nine-month prolonged strike in 2020.

In his speech during a press conference at the University of Lagos, Akoka, on Tuesday, the coordinator of Lagos zone of ASUU, Adelaja Odukoya, PhD, Coordinator, said the government’s refusal to listen to the union and address issues it had agreed to address in the 2020 Memorandum of Action, is drawing the line of strike.

He said the government should be held responsible should ASUU decide to embark on another round of strikes, which he noted could happen in no distant time.

Mr Odukoya’s statement reads in part: “It becomes very important and germane to address this press conference to sensitise the public and express the concerns of our union about the refusal of the federal government to sign and implement the renegotiated 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), funding of state universities, non-payment of withheld salaries, checkoff dues and promotion arrears.”

Issues at stake

Some of the lingering issues between the government and the academic staff union as listed by Mr Odukoya is the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, which he noted ought to have been reviewed every three years.

However, nine months after the renegotiation concluded in May 2021, ASUU said the government has refused to sign and implement the renegotiated agreement.

Mr Odukoya said the MoA renegotiation was allegedly deliberately frustrated and delayed by the leadership of the erstwhile leadership of the renegotiated committee.

“However, with the removal of Dr Wale Babalakin and his replacement with Prof. Munzali Jubril, the renegotiation was concluded in May 2021. The union is, however, taken aback that since the conclusion of the renegotiation 9 months ago, the Federal Government is yet to sign and implement the renegotiated agreement,” Mr Odukoya said.

UTAS

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had in December said the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) gave positive feedback on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), but that with little things to be addressed.

Two months after the submission, the union decried that the government is yet to approve the use of UTAS for universities, saying it is still trying “to force the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) down its throat.”

ASUU also alleges that the IPPIS is found to be marred with irregularities.

He said; “It is against this backdrop that our union calls on the Federal Government to immediately approve the deployment of UTAS as a payment platform in our universities if we expect improvement in the operation and conditions of our ivory towers

“The deliberate refusal of the government to adopt UTAS as a payment platform in the university system further exposed the lip service that our government pays to the war against corruption. Government should therefore embrace ASUU’s innovation and deployment of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation which has been designed to address the peculiarities of our university system and end inappropriate recruitments in the system.”

Funding private universities

ASUU also demands the regulation of the proliferation of state-owned universities by governors who it alleges owe staff salaries and payment of university subventions, leaving the universities with failing infrastructures.

He said; “This proliferation has led to the decayed infrastructural facilities, withholding of salaries of academic staff, no research grants etc. The common practice of State Governments withholding the salary of our members for a period ranging from three to eight months is condemnable! In most cases, net salaries are paid and sometimes not paid at all.

“The continued denial and non-release of subventions to cater for the needs of these universities by reason of exigencies is unacceptable.

“Our union wants to call on the government to, without delay, review the laws of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and make it more stringent for the establishment of universities in the country.”■

[Courtesy: Premium Times]

Sharia Police ‘Hisbah’ destroys four million bottles of beer in Kano state Nigeria

<SUNBIGHT>~Northern Nigeria~Eke~11th February 2022 @ 10:40 WAT

Religious police in Nigeria have destroyed nearly four million bottles of beer in a crackdown on alcohol.

The bottles were crushed into the ground by bulldozers in the northern city of Kano in front of crowds cheering “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

The predominantly Muslim city is in one of several northern Nigerian states that prohibit alcohol under Sharia law.

The beers had been seized from trucks coming from the mainly Christian south, officials told AFP news agency.

Shariah police, known as Hisbah, frequently destroy confiscated alcohol and drugs but Wednesday’s haul was one of the largest yet in an intensifying crackdown.

Officials say they rolled over 3,873,163 bottles of beer and other types of alcohol in bulldozers at a wide open space as part of a war against intoxicants. Officials then lit the crushed remains on fire and allowed the blaze to burn into the night, according to villagers who watched.

“Kano is a sharia state and the sale, consumption and possession of alcoholic substances are prohibited”, the head of the religious police Haruna Ibn Sina declared at the ceremony.

Alcohol has been prohibited in Kano since 2001, one of dozens of states in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north to have reintroduced a strict version of Sharia law since the country returned to civilian rule over two decades ago.

The ban on alcohol has recently been a source of tension in the state’s capital.

In December, young people in one of Kano’s Christian neighbourhoods clashed with religious police when officials raided drinking spots in the area.

Non-religious police had to be brought in to restore order after a mob was formed and began setting bonfires alight on the streets.■

[Courtesy: BBC]

Visitor Visa Processing in Nigeria Will Now Take 6 Weeks – UK

<SUNBIGHT>~UK~Orie~11 February,2022 @ 00:25 GMT+1

THE British High Commission in Nigeria on Tuesday said its visa and immigration process for applicants seeking to visit the United Kingdom will take six weeks.

British High Commission in Nigeria on its official Twitter handle issued by the UK Visas and Immigration office.

The UKVI office said that they are working on reducing the current processing time as quickly as possible.

The increase in processing time is due to unpredictable demand across all visa centres, a fallout of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global travel restrictions.

What the UK Visas and Immigration office is saying

The statement from the UKVI reads, “Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and global travel restrictions, UKVI is experiencing unpredictable demand across all visa routes.

Standard visitor visa applications are taking on an average of six weeks to process. UK Visas and Immigration are working to reduce the current processing time as quick as possible. You should bear this in mind when making travel arrangements.”

The UKVI advised applicants against unnecessary visits to the Visa Application Centres (VACs) unless they were invited, stating that applicants whose passports were ready for collection would be contacted by officials at the centre for pick up.

It, however, stated there would be a consideration for extremely compassionate or compelling circumstances such as medical emergencies, although that would come at an extra cost.

It said, “You will be contacted by the Visa Application Centre (VAC) when your passport is ready for collection. Please do not attend the VAC until you have been invited to do so,” it said.

“Where there are extremely compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example, a medical emergency), we may consider expediting specific cases. However, the bar for this is high and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“If your request is exceptionally urgent you can contact UK Visas and Immigration for help. Please note that this is a chargeable service for overseas customers. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

[Courtesy: Vanguard]

Another Oil Spill in Nigeria Coastal Region

<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Eke~10th February,2022.

AN oil spill off Nigeria’s southern coast covers an area of 780 acres (315 hectares), a senior official has told the BBC.

This is the size of more than 500 football pitches.

It follows last Wednesday’s explosion of an oil production vessel – the Trinity Spirit – that had a storage capacity of two million barrels, though it was not believed to have been storing that much. Three people died in the blast.

Idris Musa, head of Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (Nosdra), told the BBC’s Newsday programme that chemical dispersants had been applied to reduce the damage to marine life in the area.

The location of the spill was not far from where the Trinity Spirit caught fire, he said.

When asked if the government body could deal with slick effectively, Mr Musa replied: “Certainly we can, certainly we can.”

However, cynics will note that many previous oil spills in Nigeria have not been cleared up.■

[Courtesy: BBC]