February 2, 2023

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UN: Terrorism intensifying across Africa, exploiting instability, conflict

• U.S./UK terror alert: Arrested suspects will be prosecuted, says IGP
• Lagos-Ibadan Expressway: Police deploy tactical teams over kidnapping
• Aare Onakakanfo appeals to Southwest govs to allow OPC, Amotekun, others flush terrorists out of forests

The growth of terrorism across Africa is a major threat to international peace and security, the United Nations (UN) said yesterday.

Deputy UN chief, Amina Mohammed, speaking on behalf of Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at the Security Council said: “Terrorists and violent extremists, including Da’esh, al-Qaida and their affiliates, have exploited instability and conflict to increase their activities and intensify attacks across the continent.

“Their senseless, terror-fuelled violence has killed and wounded thousands and many more continue to suffer from the broader impact of terrorism on their lives and livelihoods.”
She noted that with misogyny at the core of many terrorist groups’ ideology, women and girls in particular, are bearing the brunt of insecurity and inequality, adding that the spread of terrorism in Africa is “not a concern for African Member States alone, but for the whole world.”

Outlining five suggestions to advance counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, Mohammed noted that prevention remains the best response.

“We must address the instability and conflict that can lead to terrorism in the first place, as well as the conditions exploited by terrorists in pursuit of their agendas,” she said.

While calling for community-based, gender-sensitive ‘whole-of-society’ approaches, she noted that there is a complex link between terrorism, patriarchy and gender-based violence, saying counter-terrorism policies needed to be “strengthened by the meaningful participation and leadership of women and girls.”

She explained that “countering terrorism can never be an excuse for violating human rights or international law as it would only set us back.”

Stressing the importance of regional organisations, in addressing challenges posed by terrorist and violent extremist groups in the local context, Mohammed finally called for “sustained and predictable funding to prevent and counter terrorism.”

THE Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, yesterday, confirmed the arrest of suspects connected to terror plan in Abuja, saying that security agencies will prosecute the culprits.

Baba, who disclosed this during the weekly Ministerial Briefing, coordinated by the Presidential Communication Team at the Villa in Abuja, also explained reasons security agencies engage criminals in negotiation to secure release of kidnapped victims.

The police boss confirmed the arrest of suspected terrorists and plans by the authorities to have them prosecuted when he was reacting to a question on the recent security advisories issued by the foreign missions, which had generated panic in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recently.

He denied insinuations that government tried to dismiss the advisories, noting that it drew criticisms from security stakeholders because it caused apprehension on citizens.

“Government never dismissed it as alarm but we only said it was blown in such a way that our people became apprehensive,” he said.

Explaining reason security operatives have had to negotiate release of kidnap victims with criminals, the police boss said it would be an exercise in futility if terrorists who are armed abduct persons and the police go in search of the captives using extreme force.

Baba made the explanations against the backdrop of over 80 Chibok girls still in Boko Haram captivity, including 29 students of FGC Birni Yauri, who have not been set free several years after their abduction.

Curiously, the IGP revealed that some of the Chibok girls, who have been put in family way and were rescued while wandering in the bush, actually made moves to return to their captors.

“One issue with some of the Chibok girls coming out one after another is that sometimes, they come out and say yes, we have come to see our parents, we want to go back.

“So, maybe they have been assimilated or acclimatised with the situation and being indoctrinated, had become part and parcel of those who have abducted them”, Baba said.

Meanwhile, Baba advised political parties, politicians and their supporters to stay within the space granted by the law while carrying out their campaigns and avoid actions that could incite breakdown of law and order.

His warning came few hours after scores of supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, were reportedly injured by suspected political thugs who attacked his convoy in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Speaking on the Wednesday attack in Maiduguri, Baba said the state police spokesperson might have reached a conclusion too quickly in his assessment.

He explained that assessment from the state PRO might have been too hasty and not conclusive, hence the need to establish a team to make holistic assessment from the various narratives to ascertain the true picture and prevent a reccurrence.

FOLLOWING the recent spate of kidnappings on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Oyo and Ogun Police Commands have restructured and remodeled their security architecture with the deployment of tactical and operation assets along the expressway.

Oyo State Police Command spokesperson, Adewale Osifeso, yesterday, said the command would leave no stone unturned in ridding the state and its environs of undesirable criminal elements.

“The Oyo Police Command under the leadership of CP Adebowale Williams in the company of his Ogun counterpart, CP Lanre Bankole, in a bid to forestall future criminal occurrence along the highway, embarked on a strategic assessment patrol and eventual deployment of assets around areas concerned.
“In furtherance of the above, citizens are advised not to panic or agitate as adequate deployment of tactical and operation assets would be seen swarming the axis and embarking on joint intelligence-led surveillance, aggressive patrols with adjourning states, combing of forests alongside local hunters and vigilantes and permanent visibility policing measures intensified along the busy highways.”

THE Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, has said the newly inaugurated Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) dependable team and the Southwest Security Stakeholders Group (SSSG) have what it takes to flush out criminals across the forests in the six Southwest states.

Adams, particularly, appealed to Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Prince Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) to give the newly created OPC and SSSG the benefit of the doubt to flush kidnappers out of their hideouts along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The Yoruba generalissimo, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, also expressed concern over the incessant attacks on travellers along the expressway.

He said since the police had failed to honour earlier arrangements to provide effective security along the expressway, it is pertinent to ask governors to allow OPC, Amotekun and other security groups like hunters, vigilantes, SSSG to get rid of terrorists from the bushes

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