Anambra Election: Buhari talks tough as IPOB issues fresh threats


In a surprisingly crowded week, President Muhammadu Buhari vows to sustain the nation’s democratic order and do the needful in terms of ensuring that governorship election holds in Anambra on Nov. 6.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had threatened to lockdown the entire Southeast for six days if its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is not released unconditionally before Nov. 4.

However, the Federal and Anambra state governments had since dismissed the threat, assuring that nothing would stop the conduct of the election on Nov. 6.

President Buhari made the federal government’s position known when he presided over meeting of the National Security Council at the State House, Abuja, on Oct. 21.

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The National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Mongonu, who addressed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, also announced the killing of Malam Bako, the successor of Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the leader of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).

NAN reports that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor had on Oct. 14 confirmed the death of Abu Musab.

Irabor said: “I can authoritatively confirm to you that Abu Musab is dead. He is dead and remains dead.’’

However, Mongonu disclosed that Abu Musab’s successor, Malam Bako was also neutralized along with a prominent member of the ISWAP.

He said: “The fact again is that the armed forces, the land forces have done an excellent job because in the span of one month we have been able to take out the leadership of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) – that is Abu Musab Al-barnawi.

“Two days ago, the man who succeeded him, one Malam Bako, one of the prominent leaders of the Shura Council of the Islamic State of West African Province, was also taken out.

“They are also contending with leadership crisis. You know these things are also accompanied with inherent issues of trust, conflicts, mutual suspicion and other things.

“So, the operations being conducted by the armed forces in the Northern parts of the country put a lot of pressure on the Islamic State of West African Province, Boko Haram and also the tangential group known as Islamic State in the Greatest Sahara.’’

On the forthcoming Nov. 6 Anambra governorship election, the NSA said the President enjoined the security agencies to stamp their feet of authority and ensure the success of the election.

Monguno said the president was reacting to the heightened security challenges in Anambra, orchestrated by the proscribed IPOB.

“The President has directed that under no circumstances will anything be allowed to stop the elections from taking place successfully. The people have a right to vote and select their leader.

“No group or individual will be allowed to stimulate anarchy and chaos, leading to murderous activities.

“The President has made it very clear that the Armed Forces and all law enforcement agencies must make sure that the elections take place even if it means overwhelming the entire environment with the presence of security personnel”, he said.

Buhari had earlier, on Oct. 20, hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was on a 2-day official visit to Nigeria..

The Turkish leader, who expressed satisfaction with the level of bilateral relations between Turkey and Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari, revealed that Turkey trade volume would be expanded by five billion dollars, immediately, to further boost socio-economic ties between the two countries.

Erdogan, who spoke through an interpreter, expressed the hope that the relations between the two nations would be further developed on the basis of a win-win situation and in the basis of mutual respect.

The Turkish leader also expressed the readiness of his country to partner with Nigeria in tackling its security challenges.

Buhari had on Oct. 19, sent a stern warning to bandits, saying that “the clock of your ultimate destruction is ticking as you will no longer have a place to hide.”

In a statement in Abuja on Monday, Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, said Buhari was reacting to the killing of over 30 people in Goronyo in Sokoto State on Sunday by bandits.

According to the president, the days of the bandits are indeed numbered because the military capabilities of armed forces are being boosted by the acquisition and deployment of advanced equipment.

“The bandits are living in fool’s paradise of invincibility, but reality will soon dawn on them harder than ever before.

”The bandits are currently under desperate pressures because of the intense and sustained air and ground operations against them in their hideouts by our security forces.

“The cowardly attacks on innocent people by the bandits show a rear-guard action of criminals under pressure.

”But they will have no place to hide and our gallant security forces will not relent in the current offensive to defeat these callous enemies of humanity,” the president emphasized.

Former Head of State, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, had also on Oct. 19 called President Buhari to wish him and other Muslim faithful a happy Eid-el-Maulud celebration.

The celebration is to mark the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Also on Oct. 19, the Nigerian leader offered his deepest condolences to President Joe Biden, the government and people of the United States, on the passing of the former Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell.

President Buhari believed that as the first African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the U.S. Department of Defence as well as the first African American Secretary of State, Powell was a great statesman and a global icon in every sense of it.

He observed that the deceased was also a great advocate of the eradication of Polio and in addressing the deadly spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.

However, on Oct. 19, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo attended an event to mark six years of the Future Assured programme, an initiative of the Aisha Buhari Foundation.

He noted that intervention programmes of the Buhari administration since 2015 to date are designed and implemented in order to improve the health, education and socio-economic conditions of the Nigerian people, especially women, children and youths.

He said: “The very future of Nigeria and our communities depend on how well we address the many concerns of women and children in our communities, especially the focal areas of health, education and economic empowerment.”

Later same day, the vice-president also spoke at the public presentation of Sen. Ken Nnamani’s book, Standing Strong.

Osinbajo had earlier on Oct. 18 received at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, a US government delegation led by the White House Deputy National Security Advisor, Mr Jonathan Finer.

The vice-president, who spoke on climate change at the occasion, said: ”The Biden administration is fully back on board the Climate Change global agenda, in a commendable restoration of the US government’s support for the Paris Agreement

“We are happy that the US is fully on board with climate change and back to the table on this issue.  I think one has to commend the drive that this US administration has put behind climate change.”

Osinbajo was also in Lagos on Friday where he inaugurated the Duchess International Hospital, a new facility under the Reddington Hospitals group.

According to the Vice President, the opening of the new hospital is a cause for celebration because it shows that “we have all it takes to become the place of choice for even medical tourists”.

The event paraded a collection of world class medical experts and prominent Nigerians, including two State Governors: Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.

The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, the Managing Directors of the Bank of Industry – Olukayode Pitan and Access Bank – Herbert Wigwe, were also at the event.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Oct. 22, wrote President Buhari, saying his country would use the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Nigeria to promote strategic partnership to new heights.

According to the Chinese leader, Nigeria is an important strategic partner of China in Africa, adding that China-Nigeria cooperation has been the pacesetter of China-Africa cooperation.

President Buhari concluded the week under review with a meeting with some leaders and stakeholders from Ogoni land where he urged them to sensitize people on value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations.

He noted that wilful  damage usually creates more havoc on their environment and hamper development in the area.

He said that the Federal Government was committed to the cleaning up of Ogoni Land so that, indigenes could regain their lives, return to farms and reactivate economic activities.

“You will need to educate the people of Ogoni Land and the region more that when pipelines are broken, the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people.

“The majority farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea,’’ he said. (NAN)

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