The Nigerian Army yesterday said the intensive clearance operation in Sambisa Forest may have become unbearable for Boko Haram fighters making their leader, Abubakar Shekau, to be wearing hijab (veil), ostensibly to escape arrest.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Sani Usman, who made the disclosure in a statement, said Shekau disguises in blue and blackcoloured hijabs, in a bid to escape justice. Usman said: “Credible information from arrested and surrendered insurgents indicated that the purported Boko Haram terrorist group’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, could not bear the heat anymore as he has abandoned his followers, he is running for his dear life.
“He (Shekau) is desperately trying to escape the theatre disguised as a woman dressed in hijab. We reliably gathered that to avoid detection, Abubakar Shekau alternates between blue and black coloured hijabs. He was last seen in a black hijab.”
According to the DAPR, efforts at apprehending Shekau, who had been said to be ‘fatally wounded’, were ongoing, even as he enjoined residents of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, to be more vigilant.
The call for more vigilance, Usman said, comes on the heels of the disarray that the renewed Sambisa operations have caused the fighters. The operations have also culminated in the clearance of more camps as well as the rescue of hostage victims.
“The concerted efforts of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole on the ongoing clearance of the Boko Haram terrorists through Operation Deep Punch II have been yielding tremendous results.
Troops have successfully been clearing Boko Haram camps in Sambisa Forest including Camp Zairo. “They have also rescued civilians being held hostages by the terrorists, recovered arms, ammunition, Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) factories and making materials as well as other equipment. Consequently, the terrorists are in disarray and scampering for safety while others were surrendering.
“While concerted efforts are ongoing to track and apprehend the fugitive terrorist leader, we implore also members of the public, especially the residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to be more vigilant, security conscious and be on the lookout for Abubakar Shekau and other terrorists that might disguise as women to escape,” Usman stated.
EFCC grills former Kaduna governor for 4 hours over N700m campaign fund
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Friday interrogated Ramalan Yero, former governor of Kaduna state, for four hours at the commission’s office in Kaduna.
Yero was at the EFCC Kaduna office from around 9 am till around 1:30 pm, when he walked out smiling.
The former governor thanked his supporters who were outside the EFCC office, for their solidarity and asked them to go to the mosques for Juma’at prayer.
He, however, declined to make comment to the press.
His spokesman, Yakubu Lere, told NAN that the ex-governor was invited in connection with the N700 million campaign funds released to the state by the People Democratic Party headquarters in 2015.
Lere recalled that the former governor was at the EFCC office in Kano two years ago over the matter and was granted administrative bail.
“At that time, he explained during the interrogation that the N700 million was PDP money sent to him as the then governor of Kaduna state to finance 2015 general election with instructions, which he judiciously followed,” he said.
“What they are holding against him was that he kept the money in the office of the secretary to the state government instead of in a bank.
“Even last week he was here on the same issue, but as you can see, he came out smiling, meaning the commission has found nothing to hold against him for now.”
The spokesman urged Yero supporters to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the struggle to “rescue the state from collapse” has started.
Speaker seizes mace to avoid impeachment
The Speaker of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Legislative Council, Mr Daniel Michael, on Friday, seized the mace, the symbol of authority, to prevent his impeachment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that his action followed the move by his colleagues to impeach him over allegation of misconduct and abuse of privilege.
Mr Yusuf Kadir, the majority leader of the house, while moving a motion to pass a vote of no confidence on the speaker for alleged gross misconduct, called for his impeachment.
Mr Haruna Saidu, the deputy speaker, who presided over the house, directed the clerk to serve the speaker with the no confidence vote notice moved against him.
Saidu explained that the speaker had been given notice and the ultimatum to respond to the petition on or before May 30, but had to step down as the speaker in the meantime.
He further said that the impeachment would depend on his response to the notice served him.
Mr Aminu Barde, representing Kabusa ward, called on the house to strike out article B in the motion, which according to him, was strictly a party affair and should not be brought to the house.
Mr Isah Baushe, the Councillor representing Gwarinpa ward, said that the speaker should be given time to respond to the petition in writing before his the formal impeachment.
Baushe added that the petitioners should also provide evidence to back up their claims.
The petition reads: “abuse of office by taking unilateral decision without consulting this honorable chamber, which is tantamount to act of impunity and gross abuse of privilege.
“There was also an abuse of privilege by misinforming and misleading the honourable members to subconsciously disobey the party decision on state exco affirmation.
“This singular action has brought this honourable house to disrepute and ridicule.
“There was subversion of the legislative authority by unilaterally withdrawing an official communication from this chamber to the executive arm of the council without our collective consent.
“Desecrating the symbol of authority by removing and ordering mace to be deposited in an unconstitutional and unauthorised location,” it stated.
In his reaction, the speaker told NAN that he had not done anything wrong and would answer any question brought to him.
“I know myself, I have not done anything wrong, I’ll answer them,” he said.
NAN also reports that the glass door to the chamber was completely broken during the fracas that ensued at the chamber, following the event.
The lawmakers resorted to the use of the old broken mace to conduct the business of the day.
Some of the lawmakers, however, expressed happiness to the happening at the chamber, saying the crisis would allow members to sit up for serious legislative business.
Navy seizes N66m illegally refined diesel, arrests 23 suspects
Nigerian Navy (NN) on Friday says it impounded a vessel, barge and wooden boat illegally conveying about 300,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel worth N66 million.
Capt. Victor Choji, the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, presented 11 suspected crewmen to newsmen in Onne, Rivers.
He said that the vessel, MV Nazarene, barge and wooden boat were intercepted in the late hours of April 20 by troops on routine patrol of waterways.
He added that “the vessel, MV Nazarene, was caught in the act by our patrol elements transhipping suspected illegally refined diesel from a barge, DP 28, and a wooden boat at about 2300 hours.
“MV Nazarene was seized with 300,000 litres of petroleum product suspected to be illegally refined diesel.
“The 11 all-male crew members of the vessel were subsequently arrested and they have been in our custody as preliminary investigation had commenced.”
Choji said that troops also on routine patrol intercepted another suspected illegal vessel, MV Asha, escorted by six undisclosed security personnel.
He said that troops on boarding the vessel found out that the security personnel did not have permission to escort the vessel at the time of seizure.
He, however, declined to reveal the identity of the security agency that provided the illegal escort to the vessel.
He said “MV Asha was seized on March 29 at Onne waterways with 11 crewmen on board. The vessel and crewmen have been in our custody because their motive is still not clear.
“The vessel was arrested with six security personnel that were not under any authority to escort the vessel, thereby, contradicting the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP).
“The HSOP clearly spelt out roles of security agencies in combating illegalities in the oil and gas sector. I advise that security agencies abide by the HSOP.”
The officer added that any individual or group that wished to lift and load petroleum products legitimately at sea must first seek clearance from navy before carrying out such business.
He said the navy was resolute to ensuring that crimes and criminality within the state maritime environment were frustrated to allow legitimate social and commercial activities to thrive.
The naval officer handed over the vessels, barge, wooden boat and 23 suspects to operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
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