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How I confronted insurgency as COAS – Buratai

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Former Chief of Army Staff, retired Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai, says winning hearts and minds of the North East populace was a major step taken by the Army that turned the tables against insurgents during his time.

Buratai, who is the immediate past Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

He said that the people also realised that President Muhammadu Buhari was passionate about restoring peace and stability to Borno and the entire North-East region.

He said that there was also the reinvigoration of joint civil-military operations, composed of all operational formations of the Services.

According to him, the operation had a central coordination Headquarters which also coordinated civil and humanitarian activities.

“It assists the joint force commander in humanitarian or national-assistance operations, theater campaigns or civil-military operations occurring concurrently,” he said.

Buratai urged the military to be resilient and never succumb to the threats of insurgents, terrorists, separatists, kidnappers or armed robbers.

He said the major trick of the terrorists was to instill fear in the minds of people so much so that the people would be afraid to go to their farms, businesses or send their children to school.

“We must all take a stand and show that we are not with the insurgents and the terrorists.

“What the military is doing is fighting for the safety of the people, the military is there to protect and defend the people.

“The military is not just fighting the terrorists on their own, they are there because of the people. This war is a people’s war, and not just a military thing.

“Therefore, we must all get involved, be resilient, provide timely and credible intelligence and avoid any action that will disrupt the peace.

“We have a duty to ensure that we entrench peace right from our homes. We must also know what every member of our community is engaged in,” he said.

On military tactics, Buratai said the military always evaluated and changed their tactics to adapt to new challenges posed by the insurgents and terrorists, hence the defeat of the terrorists and insurgents.

He called on locals to support the military with credible and timely information and prayers instead of meaningless and incessant criticism that were capable of killing morale of troops and their commanders.

Buratai urged the military to maintain their tempo of operations and keep up the aggressive assaults, as well as enhance collaboration and synergy with other sister agencies.

“You must understand that the military is not a one man show; even when I was in service, I worked with a team, and I am happy to say that many of them are still in service.

“The current Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the COAS served directly under me as Theater Commanders of Operation Lafiya Dole, now Hadin Kai.

“By and large, I will say that they are doing well. Whatever little success we were able to achieve during my tenure, we did it together, it was a collective effort.

“Thumbs up to the Nigerian military, the CDS and the Service Chiefs. I commend the Commander of Operation Hadin Kai. They are doing a great job. This is why the terrorists have been surrendering to the government.

“Over 100,000 have surrendered and many more are coming out,” he said.

On negotiation with terrorists and bandits, the former COAS said it was not the responsibility of the military to suggest, initiate or directly partake in dialogue or negotiations with terrorists and bandits.

“But the military can force the terrorists, bandits, insurgents to surrender and accept negotiated terms favourable to the legitimate authority, which is the government.

“I tell you towards the last half of 2020, the bandits were calling for negotiations through some prominent individuals.

“This was as a result of the pressure mounted on the bandits. Many of their fighters, collaborators, logistic suppliers and informants were neutralised, captured or had escaped out of the country for safety.

“Negotiation, dialogue and amnesty are civil authorities’ responsibilities. This should be the last option which I preach in my present capacity because the terrorists and bandits have been subdued.

“Much more details will be coming out in my memoire in the future by the grace of God,” he said.

On the 2023 general elections, Buratai urged the military to stick to their constitutional role and remain apolitical even when they are called in to assist the civil police at some point.

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How I collected $3m cash for Emefiele – CBN employee

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A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) employee, Mr Monday Osazuwa, on Friday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how the former apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, on different occasions, directed him to collect three million dollars cash in tranches.

Osasuwa, while being led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), said he was a dispatch rider in Zenith Bank in 2001 before he joined the CBN in 2014.
Osasuwa said he joined the apex bank as a senior supervisor in 2014.

He said Emefiele was the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc while he was working as a dispatch rider in the bank.
The witness said he knew Emefiele, who was his boss, while in Zenith Bank and that he later joined him at the CBN.
The witness said he was later appointed  as a senior supervisor (full time) in recording and filing of documents while working in the CBN governor’s office in Lagos.

“I was still working in the CBN governor’s office while I was appointed as a full staff member and we usually communicated through Whatsapp and email.

“I function as a senior supervisor, recording  and filing with other official roles.

“I recall that in 2020, when he was outside Lagos, he called me that he would give me a number that a man had something I should collect from him and that the man would give me the number of another person.

“When I got to the man’s office, I was given an envelope. I  counted the money and the man said I should give it to my boss,” he said.

The witness further told the court that the first defendant used to collect money by himself  anytime he was in Lagos but anytime the defendant was not around, he would tell him to give the money to the second defendant.
Osazuwa added that Emefiele sent him to MINL Ltd. when he was with Zenith Bank.

“This company is situated at Isolo, the first defendant did send me to collect cheques from the company from Mr Monday and when I collected the cheque from Mr Monday, I would give it back to Emefiele and he would lodge the money into Dumies Oil and Gas.

According to him, Emefiele’s co-defendant, Henry Isioma-Omoile, lived in the residence of the former CBN governor.

He stated that when he collected money for his boss, he would take it to his residence at Iru Close, Ikoyi.
“Whenever I received the money and take it to my boss’s residence, Mr Emefiele would tell me to give it to the second defendant whenever he was not at home.

“I did not keep a record of transactions because the instruction he gave me was that I should collect the money and bring the money to his house.

“The highest amount I collected was one million dollars all in cash and some weeks later, the businessman also called me to collect $850,000, $750,000 and $400,000 cash in tranches.

“I have never been rewarded, paid or given anything because I am doing it out of faithfulness and he knows it but he has never for once said, ‘take this’,” he said.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, the witness confirmed  to the court that he had been working with the defendant since 2002.

According to the witness, Emefiele passed instructions to him through the second defendant and that he had been collecting cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas.

He, however, told the court when he was made to confront the second defendant during investigation but the second  defendant failed to admit it.

“I started collecting cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas when I was in Zenith Bank.

“I cannot calculate the exact year I have been collecting the cheques but it all started when the first defendant was the Managing Director at Zenith Bank and I was working at Zenith Bank,” he said.

EFCC on April 8 arraigned Emefiele on 23 counts bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage.

Emefiele’s co-defendant was arraigned on three counts bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Earlier, Oshodi had declined the oral application for adjournment moved twice by the defence counsel.
The judge adjourned the case until April 29 for trial and hearing of application for closed-session.

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Anambra boat mishap: Police recover 3 more bodies

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The Police Command in Anambra, said it had recovered three more bodies from the  boat mishap that occurred on Wednesday, in Anam community, Anambra West Local Government Area of the state.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Tochukwu Ikenga, said this in a statement in Awka on Friday.

Ikenga said that the command’s Marine Police unit in Anambra recovered the remaining three bodies of the boat accident during the shooting of a movie.

He said that two of the bodies were recovered on April 11, while the last body was washed ashore by the tide early Friday.

Ikenga said that the bodies have been deposited in an undisclosed mortuary in Asaba, Delta.

He said that the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) has been notified of the recovery.

“Mr Aderemi Adeoye, Commissioner, Anambra Police Command, has urged all water commuters to be safety conscious,” he said.

He advised water commuters to avoid behaviour that might jeopardise their safety and that of others on water transit.

Adeoye assured that the command would thoroughly investigate the cause of the sad accident that claimed the lives of five actors and proffer a lasting solution.

He commended the Marine Command Unit and its Commander for their dedication to duty.

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FIRS generates N12.3 trn in 2023 – CEO

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The Chief Executive, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, said that the organisation witnessed unprecedented progress in revenue collection, culminating in a remarkable achievement of N12.3 trillion in 2023.
The chief executive, who was represented by a staff of the organisation, Mrs Aisha Ribadu, said this on Friday at the FIRS special day at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Adedeji said that this success was a testament to its dedication to nurturing and empowering its workforce, and to ensuring they possessed the skills, knowledge and tools necessary to excel.
He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Enugu State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) for its discerning choice of theme, “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness”.
The FIRS boss added that the choice of theme reflected the collective aspiration to not only dominate the African market but to assert relevance on the global stage.
“Investing in human capital is the cornerstone of sustainable development, and nations that prioritise human  development inevitably experience  enduring growth and prosperity.
“The FIRS has spearheaded transformative reforms aimed at diversifying revenue sources and enhancing the overall taxpayer experience.
 “One of such initiatives is the introduction of the Taxpromax Solutions, an innovative e-service platform designed to empower taxpayers to fulfill their obligations seamlessly from anywhere at any time,” Adedeji said.
He expressed gratitude to ECCIMA for affording the FIRS the invaluable opportunity to showcase its commitment to national development.
In a welcome address, the ECCIMA President, Mr Odeiga Jideonwo, said that the essence of the special day was to bring the business community and the general public closer to the activities and operations of the FIRS.
 Jideonwo, who was represented by the first Deputy President, Nnanyereugo Onyemelukwe, said that the FIRS should  work in tandem with other agencies of government and stakeholders in the organised private  sector.
He said that it would enable the FIRS to redefine and streamline tax administration and regime in the country.
” It will also bring about a society  wherein the rich and poor will leverage each other in contributing to the development of the society in a fair and just manner, as it affects company tax by various businesses,” he said.
 He commended the chief executive for its various innovations aimed at voluntary bringing into the FIRS database, companies in order to boost the tax network.
Jideonwo added that it would also boost revenue with the attendant grace offered in the process to those who had been evading tax payment.
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