The Defence authorities have denied the claim that the military is monitoring hate campaigners with the aim of arresting them, saying it does not have the powers to arrest Nigerians for such infraction.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, who said this, added that the military had no information about where Boko Haram insurgents were keeping the remaining Chibok girls.
He explained that the military would only monitor the social media to sheave out information that could be useful for the planning of its operations.
When asked to respond to the accusation that the military was planning to arrest hate campaigners, he said, “There was nothing like that. We do not have power to arrest people for hate speeches. It is just false assertion, against the military, and against my humble self that I said that we will be arresting people or checkmating people.
“The military is not going to be monitoring hate speeches. Did I tell you hate speech in your recordings? We have a strategic media centre, our strategic media centre monitors the media, simple. And it is like that all over the world. And we take that because it helps us to transform the nature of the intelligence to enable us to prepare for whatever call up we get to ensure security in this country.
“Let me tell you and tell the public without fear of anybody; we are trained to do threat analysis of anything that would threaten the security of this country. So, it is part of our threat analysis. Any person can interpret it to mean that it is a follow up to the speech of the Vice-President (Yemi Osinbajo), the then Acting President and then the minister of interior; then that person can be right. Where do we take instruction from, where do we get information from? But on the whole, it is part of what is called threat analysis.”
When asked whether the military had information on where the leader of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, may have been hiding and where the remaining Chibok girls could be, Enenche said, “ No (intelligence about the location of the remaining Chibok girls.) Well, if you are talking about a Shekau which we have always referred to because there have been so many Shekaus, and I believe that there will be more Shekaus. Shekau is a synonym as far as I am concerned, and Shekau has become a big name like we use to have Bruce Lee, James Bond in those days.
“So to talk about a definite intelligence or location of a Shekau, I don’t think is necessary. But what we are bound to do and committed to do is that anywhere there is any Shekau, we will always knock him off.
“You will agree with me that within this period that was given, well, you may not have got that information, but there was something about somebody somewhere around a location in Sambisa somewhere and the Air Force went and neutralised the whole place. And after the battle impact assessment, the whole place was finished.
“So, if there was a Shekau according to that information we got that went into hiding in that place, then that one must have been neutralised. And I won’t be surprised to hear that another Shekau is somewhere.
“I don’t expect you to put words into my mouth that I will tell you categorically a Shekau or the Shekau that you know very well has been neutralised. All I have told you is that there have been several Shekaus, there have been several instances, over five times and we will continue to knock out any Shekau that comes on stream. That is what I still stand on that.”
Meanwhile, the military has identified a Boko Haram commander, who allegedly masterminded the abduction of the members of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s exploration team in Borno State.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafia Dole, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, who disclosed this at a press conference in Maiduguri on Wednesday, identified the suspect as Abor Mainok.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Attahiru stated that on August 8, 2017, troops of the Operation Lafia Dole arrested a sect member, Bako Umar (a.k.a. Abu Ibrahim) at Tasha Kano Motor Park, Maiduguri.
He said, “Umar is now also cooperating with our investigation team and giving useful information on Abor Mainok, the suspected mastermind of the ambush of the NNPC exploration team. We are factoring all the information from the investigations into ongoing operations.”
Attahiru also said that parents in the area had not stopped donating their children to Boko Haram so that they could be used as suicide bombers.
He stated, “During the period, two cases of children donated by their parents to BHT for them to be used for suicide missions were recorded.
“One involved a female named Zainab Abubakar of about 11 years from Geidam who was arrested during a suicide mission in Konduga.
“The other involved 16-year-old Abba Bor Kura of Sabsawa Village in Bama Local Government Area, who was arrested by the Cameroon Defence Forces along our borders while on a suicide mission and subsequently handed over to our troops.”