Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on email@example.com
Five aid workers, who traveled to Northeast Nigeria to help fight COVID-19 with medical supplies, food and water, disappeared last June. A gruesome video released by suspected Boko Haram terrorists on Wednesday showed the last moments of their lives.
The Nigerian men who worked for aid groups were captured by Boko Haram and killed on camera, after no ransom was paid to free them.
“This is a message to the infidels who are using you to cheat and turn our people into unbelievers,” a member of the group is heard saying in a video released on Wednesday.
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The gruesome video is 35 seconds long, and features five hooded armed men standing behind five abductees who were kneeling before them.
“President Muhammadu Buhari condemns the recent murder of five staff of humanitarian agencies in Borno State, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram Terrorists a month ago,” the Nigerian presidency said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.
“President Buhari sympathises with the families of the five aid workers, while praying that God will comfort them for their irreplaceable loss. He assures them that his government will continue to do all it can to ensure that every remaining vestige of Boko Haram is wiped out completely from northeastern Nigeria and that the perpetrators of this atrocity face the law.
“President Buhari also condoles with the State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, and International Rescue Committee, whose staff have suffered this gruesome fate. He thanks them for their continued dedication and service to the victims of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. He assures them that security agencies in the state will work closely with their organisations to implement measures to ensure that no such kidnapping of staff occurs again,” the presidency added in a statement by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu.
Borno state remains the stronghold of Boko Haram also known as the Islamic State in West Africa.
President Buhari promised to crush them in 2015 and declared victory against them a year later in 2016, but since then, things have gone from bad to worse. More than 30,000 Nigerians have been killed by the group since 2009, with at least 81 people killed in a single day last month.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Senate called on the Service Chiefs to step aside over the deteriorating security situation in the country under President Buhari.
The demand for the resignation of the Service Chiefs was put forward in a proposed amendment to the resolutions of the Senate moved by Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP – Osun East); and seconded by Betty Apiafi (PDP – Rivers West).
The upper chamber also urged President Muhammadu Buhari, as a matter of urgency, to provide modern equipments to enhance the operational capabilities of the armed forces.
Sponsor of the original motion, Senator Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South), while coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, noted with concern the various reports of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.
According to the lawmaker, twenty-four soldiers were recently ambushed and killed along damboa-Maiduguri in Borno State, with nineteen wounded and nine declared missing in action.
“The Senate is disturbed that in Katsina again about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed while several others were wounded.
“The Senate appreciates the sacrifices of our armed forces in the fight against insurgency, banditry and protection of the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“The Senate is concerned that if the trend continues, it will have serious implication on the fight against insurgency and banditry in the country,” Ndume added.
The Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North), in his contribution, called on Security Agencies to change their tact and strategy of deployment in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Accordingly, the Upper Chamber after holding a minute silence for the fallen soldiers, mandated the joint Committees on Army; Airforce; Navy; National Security and Nigeria Police to receive briefing on the state of affairs of the services in this regard.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks while condoling the families of slain soldiers, charged the Senate Joint Committees to investigate alleged desertion of the army by soldiers at the war front.
He said, “the spirit of this motion is that our armed forces are trying very hard, but just like the President said, their good is not good enough.
“We need to continue to encourage and provide for them. They lay their lives on behalf of us, and of course, it is very sad that some of them are alleged to have deserted the war front.
“We need to get to the bottom of this. Our joint committee should be able to find out the facts about this allegation of over 200 deserting the war front.”