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Day: April 23, 2019

NAF is on top of their duty of defending our country. It is good that our military is acquiring sophisticated weapons, but the sad thing about it is that we are using these weapons on one another because we are not united in purpose. As some elements want to destroy the country, some people are fighting to protect and defend our country. Maybe the solution is not going to be military action.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says its Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA has neutralised no fewer than 10 bandits at Sububu Forest area in Zamfara.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the operation was conducted on Monday.

“This was achieved yesterday April 22 ,while the ATF was responding to a request for close air support by ground troops of Sector 7 Area of Responsibility of Operation SHARAN DAJI, who had come into contact with bandits in Shinkafi Local Government Area (LGA).

“Accordingly, the ATF dispatched two Alpha Jets and an attack helicopter to provide the needed support and also conduct armed reconnaissance over identified locations in Shinkafi LGA as well as Sububu and Dumburum Forests and environs.

“At Sububu Forest, one of the Alpha Jets spotted a group of bandits, who fired at the aircraft with their rifles, whilst running for cover.

“The Alpha Jet engaged the bandits, neutralising no fewer than 10 of them while others escaped with injuries,” he said.

Daramola said the NAF, working in consonance with surface forces and other security agencies, would sustain its operations to flush the bandits out of the North West of the Country.

Ahead of the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office, the race for cabinet appointments has begun.

A former Military Administrator, three outgoing governors and 15 ministers are jostling for cabinet seats.

There were indications last night that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) may be zoned to the North-Central in favour of a Christian candidate.

Besides, there is pressure on the President to revert to a 42-man cabinet structure as part of his pledge of inclusiveness.

The new structure will include the constitutionally recommended 36 ministers from each state of the federation and six others representing each of the nation’s geopolitical zones — if Buhari embraces the idea.

The President is yet to give a commitment on the 42-man structure, The Nation has learnt.

Lobbyists, including governors and ministers, have been mounting pressure on influential citizens to put in a word for them.

Women are said to be demanding more ministerial jobs, including “strategic ministries”.

The pressure is said to have accounted for the recommendation of a 42-man cabinet.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some of those seeking to be ministers include a former Military Administrator, three of the outgoing governors and no fewer than 15 of the over 30 ministers who will complete their tenure on May 22.

“As for the three outgoing governors, two may represent their geopolitical zones, depending on the outcome of consultations between the President and leaders from their zones.”

“No fewer than 15 ministers are said to be seeking a second chance because “some of them who faltered in office are claiming that they have learnt their lessons”.

“All these ministerial aspirants have been mounting pressure on the members of the Kitchen Cabinet of the President in order to be picked.”

Concerning the ex-MILAD, another source said: “Some forces within the first family are lobbying that the ex-Military Administrator should be made the Chief of Staff but the President seems to have confidence in the present holder, Mallam Abba Kyari. When the lobbying was stuck, they made a case for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for the former MILAD. Now, the game has changed to a desire for a ministerial appointment.

“The only thing which can make the Office of the Chief of Staff to be vacant is if Kyari is given a choice ministerial appointment.

“Although the ex-MILAD will add value to the government, the only hurdle facing him is how he allegedly abandoned Buhari in the defunct Congress for Progressives Change ( CPC) in 2011 for the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) without deferring to him. Some Buhari supporters do not want him to appoint the ex-MILAD as a minister.”

There were indications that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) might be zoned to the North-Central in favour of a Christian candidate.

But some party leaders have been making a strong case for the Southeast to produce the SGF despite the zone’s rejection of Buhari at the poll.

A government source said: “Definitely, the SGF post will shift from the Northeast to another zone because the Northeast has enjoyed the slot in the last four years, with Engr. Babachir Lawal and Boss Mustapha occupying the office.

“The Northcentral looks more favoured with a Christian candidate for the slot.”

Some All Progressives Congress ( APC) leader prefer that the Southeast should produce the SGF, despite the zone’s hostility to Buhari during the just-concluded general elections, the source added.

Pushing for a return to the 42-man cabinet structure, it was learnt, are some of the President’s “strategists” and some governors.

In 2015, Buhari opted for the constitutionally recommended cabinet weight to save cost.

A source in the Presidency said: “The need for inclusiveness in governance has led to the suggestion that we should have 42 ministers.”

Section 147(1-3) directs the President to appoint at least 36 ministers.

The section reads: “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.

“Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of this Constitution:

“Provided that in giving effect to the Provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.”

Zamfara Emirs insisted that civilians were affected by the bombardment by NAF. The Emir of Anka, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad Muhammad, has reaffirmed the Zamfara State Council of Chiefs’ stance on allegations of killing of innocent villagers during air raids by Air Force jets across different communities.

The emir stated this in his palace in Anka Local Government Area in an interactive session with reporters while reacting to media reports that the council has apologised to the Air Force.

The emir said the council had not in any way rescinded its claims over the killings.

He also insisted that the list of casualties was authentic and had been submitted to the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Sadiq Baba Abubakar, through an Air Force delegation led by AVM Idi Lubo, who was in the state for a fact-finding mission.

The emir said Air Marshall Abubakar, through his delegation, revealed that collateral damages were not uncommon during military operations.
Read also: Troops kill six bandits in Zamfara

Muhammad said instead of all and sundry to take the war on bandits personal, “most people started blaming emirs”.

“What we are saying is that we are not in confrontation with anybody, be it the Air Force or any government at any level but innocent people are being killed in the cause of raiding bandits. It is our duty to draw the attention of the authorities concern, so that they check on where they went wrong.”

The emir explained that the last news briefing held by the council of chiefs about two weeks ago was to exonerate themselves from the allegations levelled against the emirs by the Minister of Defence Lt. General Mansur Dan Ali (retd) that some of the emirs were assisting the bandits.

“We are custodians of respected traditional institutions; we are custodians of the people’s trust; we are expected to protect the positive interest of our people. We are law-abiding citizens. How can anyone of us engage negatively in the activities of outlaws?” he queried.

Advising the Air Force and the ground troops to emphasis on mop up on any area they attack, the monarch advised the people to be vigilant and assist security operatives with information and every necessary assistance to end banditry.

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April 2019
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