75 elders slaughtered one night at Gwoza abattoir – Ndume - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

75 elders slaughtered one night at Gwoza abattoir – Ndume

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By Our Correspondent's

Former  Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, has cried out over the worsening security situation in his hometown, Gwoza, Borno state, saying people were dying daily of either insurgency attack or hunger.


Ndume, who chairs Senate Committee on Army, stated this  Wednesday while narrating the ordeals of his people in the hands of  Boko Haram insurgents to the Senate Committee on Special Duties and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) in Maiduguri.

Among other things, the lawmaker said there was a time the insurgents slaughtered 75 elders in one night at an abattoir.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the committee, Ndume, who is also a member of the committee however admitted that the troops were trying their best in the face of teething challenges.


 
Prior to the meeting, the committee had earlier paid courtesy calls on  Borno state Governor  Babagana Zulum and  Shehu of Borno, during which it explained its mission to them.

At the stakeholders’ meeting were top officials of the military,  the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and that of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (BOSEMA).

Addressing the gathering, Senator Ndume said, though the security operatives were trying their best but that insecurity in the state had been overwhelming and underreported.

“If the Senate committee would take time during their stay to go round some of the camps and even the nearby Konduga local government, we would all better appreciate what the people are facing. Even as a serving senator, I still cannot go to Gwoza, my hometown, because it is not safe.

“Our security operatives are trying their best, and we have to give it to them. But the situation is overwhelming. People are dying every day, either from attacks or by hunger. We have lost many lives here.


 
“There was a time in my home town Gwoza, that about 75 elders most of whom I know personally were dragged by Boko Haram to the town’s abattoir and slaughtered like animals. Only two persons survived because their bodies were covered with other people’s blood and the assailants thought they were dead.

“In the same Gwoza, Boko Haram had in a single day lined up young men and summarily shot them dead. These were just some standout cases,” Ndume said.

The lawmaker, however, clarified that the event was not fresh but happened some six years ago.
He said, “I am surprised to see some national dailies reported today (Thursday) or misquoted me as if it’s a new attack that happened to my elders.

“Yes, during our visit to Borno state and in one of our fora/gatherings, I told them that there was a day even before Gwoza was made a caliphate of the Boko Haram sect, 70 elders in Gwoza alone were slaughtered.

“I want to clarify that this statement on the attack is not a fresh one, but belated as it happened a few years ago.”

On the effects of hunger on his people, the lawmaker said: “We don’t know where we would have been or what would have happened to us in Borno State, had there not been the NGOs.

“People die every day here, and I can assure you that even today or this evening, someone may have died of hunger. I am not talking about children – I mean adults.”

While saying the ugly development necessitated his proposal for NEDC, the lawmaker said:  “I pushed for its formation, not for anything else but to see how our people could be helped out of this ugly situation. And so far, we are impressed with the kind of work they are doing.”

“But sadly, the amount of money at the disposal of the commission is not adequate to solve the humanitarian challenges facing Borno state alone.”

Senate seeks more funding  

Addressing the gathering, Senator Yusuf said there was need for more funding of the NEDC activities for the overall development of the North-east region.

 Yusuf, who led members of the committee on the oversight visit to some of the over 33 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state, decried the deplorable state of the camps.


 
He said the committee would engage with development partners to try to expand the camps.

“We have seen a difficult and challenging situation that we have in terms of  humanitarian crisis. But we now have a lot concerns that really we need to do more and more so that we can carter for our brothers and sisters.

 “Our own work is actually advocacy; and we will sit down with the partners and try to do our best that to least to raise more funds for the development of the northeast.

 “My colleague (Sen. Francis Fadahunsi) from the South-west has now seen it, so no more argument that the money is too much. 

 “We will engage our colleagues to see how we can have more fund for the commission,” he said.

While at the 1, 000 Housing Unit in Ngwom, Mafa local government area of the state, Yusuf called for the use of local content in the construction of the estate.

 The people, according to him, must benefit either as labourers, painters or whatever, so that they can be empowered. 

 “It is very important even in the supply of materials,” he added.

 In her remarks, chairperson of BOSEMA, Mrs Ya Bawa Kolo said  the initial proposal for the facility was 10, 000 housing unit. 

 “This is the pilot scheme. It was the state government that identified the location while NEDC is in charge of the construction.  It is like modern villages in the spirit building back after the serious devastation of insurgency,” she said.

Also speaking, NEDC Managing Director, Mohammed Alkali said the visit by the members of the committee made a lot of difference.

 He said:  “Since the federal lawmakers have seen things for themselves as regards what and what are on ground and needed to be tackled, they will be on the same page with us  for the development of the region.”

On alleged misappropriation of funds by the commission, Alkali-Goni said: “You said it’s an allegation, well I keep saying that everybody is entitled to his opinion. The fact remains the fact in time.”


 
He lauded the visiting lawmakers, saying the gesture would help the National Assembly to properly understand the challenges in the region

 Some of the camps visited include Teachers’ Village IDPs camp, Kukawa LGA and Muna El-Badawi Camp, Jere LGA.

The Senator Yusuf Abubakar-led committee was in the state  to review the performance of the NEDC and NEMA in handling the challenges facing people of the state, particularly those affected by the insurgency.

Mattawale

Meanwhile, Zamfara state Governor Bello Mohammed Mattawale has  said smugglers have resorted to using camels to smuggle weapons into Nigeria.

 The governor said this Thursday this while playing host to Prime Minister of Niger Republic Mr Brigi Refini at the Government House Gusau.

He said:  “When I told President Muhammadu Buhari of your arrival, he was very elated and extended his goodwill to you. He has also asked me to call on you to continue assisting in ending the menace of criminality in our two countries.”

 The governor similarly extended the request of the Inspector-General of Police, Abdullahi Adamu, to the PM to block the smuggling of weapons into the country.

 “We are aware that due to the pressure on those who smuggle weapons into Nigeria on vehicles, they have now resorted to the use of camels.

 “I have decided to assist with five vans for surveillance in addition to drones we have already given to the border security of Niger,” he said.

Earlier, the visiting PM, Mr Refini had said he was in Nigeria as   part of measures at exploring ways to secure the state.

 Refini said his meeting with the governor was also a prelude to the establishment of a synergy to fight the criminals in a unified direction.

 Refini said he was excited at the new-found international discourse to end cross-border criminality as it affects the two countries.

‘155 bandits arrested,  25 killed’

In a related development, over 25 armed bandits were  killed and some 155 arrested by troops of the Nigerian Military in August.. 

Briefing journalists at the Defence Headquarters Abuja on military operations across the country,  Coordinator Defence Media Operations  Maj.  Gen John Enenche said the military also recovered 1,000 rustled livestock from the bandits and arrested 17 armed robbers under the same period.  

He  said  the military also killed 127 Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters and 15 of their top commanders during ground and air offensives. 

Enenche said the feat had reduced incidents of armed bandits and terrorists attacks in the North-west, North-central and the North-east. 

The army chief said the military had also recorded successes in the South-west and South-south zones, as troops of Operation Awatse and Delta Safe  continued to intensify the fight against pipeline vandals, oil thieves,  economic saboteurs and other criminal elements. 

Enenche said troops of Operation SILENT HEAT,  a subsidiary of Operation DELTA SAFE launched on 1 August 2020, also rescued 13 foreigners,  comprising 7 Russians and 6 Ukrainians kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.

He added that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE recovered large qualities of crude oil from vandals. 

“Cumulatively, a total of One Million Three Hundred and Nine (1,309,000) litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1,824.04 barrels of stolen crude oil and Three Hundred and Two Thousand (302,000) litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered in the month of August 2020 in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers States. 

“Additionally, a total of 344 bags of smuggled parboiled rice were impounded in the zone. From these successes, it is clear that, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE and other security agencies working together remain resolute and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against economic sabotage,” he said. 

Darru-salam members 

Gen Eneche also said 410 members of Daru-salam terrorists group, including women and children, surrendered to the military after it busted their cell and recovered large cache of explosives and ammunition at Uttu in Toro local government area of Nasarawa state. 

 He said the operation was conducted  August 25, 2020, by troops of Operation Whirl Stroke in conjunction with personnel of other security agencies.

 Eneche said  the troops, while on clearance patrol at Uttu the following day, also discovered the group’s bomb-making factory. 

 Enenche said  during the  operation, troops recovered several Improvised Explosive Device making materials at the location including 2 scales, 6 rocket launcher bombs, one bag of fertilizer, half a bag of gun powder, 10 locally made hand grenades, one Rocket Propelled Grenade bomb fuse, one locally made Rocket Launcher, 2 Improvised Explosive Devices,13 Improvised rocket bombs, amongst others. 

“The camp was subsequently destroyed while troops are equally combing the surrounding forests for fleeing members of the sect,” he said. 

“The Military High Command commends the gallant troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE for their professionalism and dexterity in achieving this notable feat and also urges them to sustain the tempo in the push to decisively curtail the activities of armed bandits and other criminals operating in the North-central,” Enenche added.