Why Card Readers Malfunctioned- INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Sunday said one of the reasons the card readers deployed for Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections failed was because its officials failed to remove the protective film on the lens of the equipment.

Some of the devices failed to read the biometric data of voters who turned up to perform their civic duties at various polling stations across the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan was one of those unable to get accreditation with the electronic device when he turned up at his Unit 13 polling station in his hometown in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, to vote. For more than half an hour the electoral officials at the unit battled unsuccessfully to get the president accredited.

Despite about four of the devices deployed to ensure that the president and his wife were accredited, he still ended up being accredited manually to vote during the exercise after being issued the INEC incidence form.

But, speaking on Sunday in Abuja in a television programme to review the conduct of the exercise, Kayode Idowu, the spokesperson to the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, admitted that reports that the devices may have failed to function as a result of the non-removal of the protective film on the face of the lens of the card reader may have been true.

“We (INEC) received reports that some of the card readers may have failed to function, because officials that handled the devices may have failed to remove the protective film covering on the face of lens,” he said.

He said the film may have blocked the lens of the card reader, making it difficult for it to read the biometric data in the permanent voters cards presented by voters for scanning”, Mr. Idowu added.

The spokesperson, who admitted this was not the only flaw identified in the new electoral process deployed during the election, said the Commission had taken note of the challenges and would effect corrections in subsequent elections to ensure that the exercise was more credible and acceptable.

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Bomb Scare in Daura, Buhari’s Home Town

There have been a bomb scare in Daura, hometown of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, report reaching Abusidiqu indicates.

Panic began when at about 11:30am on Sunday, a middle age woman wearing the Islamic hijab dropped a black polythene bag suspected of containing explosive devices around kofar Musa roundabout in Daura.

Her action sent passersby running into safety as soon as she was sighted, thereby causing serious panic amongst residents of the area.

It was however discovered that the polythene bag she dropped at the roundabout does not contain any bomb devices as suspected.

Soldiers where quickly drafted to the area who upon approaching the woman discovered she was suffering from a heart problem and then decided to rest at the roundabout.

What drew the suspicion of passerby was that the held the bag while seated, but left it at the roundabout after she decided to proceed on her walk.

A military source who spoke to Abusidiqu confirmed the development, but added that the situation has been brought under control and everyone going about their normal duties.

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I Warned Jonathan against Boko Haram Ceasefire, Chad’s President Opens Up

President Idris Deby of Chad has spoken publicly about the 2014 botched ceasefire between the Nigerian government and the jihadist group, Boko Haram, which he was said to have facilitated.

Mr. Deby said he warned President Goodluck Jonathan against holding talks with the militant group, saying the whole episode was orchestrated by Boko Haram to buy time and regroup.

He said President Jonathan dismissed the advice and held talks with the group, a decision Mr. Deby said was for political reasons. He accused Mr. Jonathan of downplaying the Boko Haram threat.

“I told President Goodluck not to open negotiations with terrorists … but it was a political choice,” Mr. Deby told French magazine, Le Point, in an interview republished by AFP news agency.

“It has become something too serious for Nigerians to ignore. The blood of the dead that we have been counting every day for the past few years demands attention.”

The October ceasefire humiliated the Nigerian government after it claimed to have reached a deal with the insurgents, who are responsible for more than 15,000 deaths.

At the time, the Nigerian military said the talks were credible and directed its field commanders to immediately suspend hostilities against Boko Haram.

The talks were reportedly facilitated by Mr. Deby, accused earlier of providing safe haven for Boko Haram militants.

Shortly after the announcement, Boko Haram continued its attacks, sacking villages and killing innocent people.

The Nigerian government initially claimed splinter groups of the sect were responsible for the continued fighting, but later blamed the failure on sabotage.

Mr. Deby said President Jonathan and his military had underestimated Boko Haram for too long.

“The whole world is asking why the Nigerian army, which is a big army… is not in a position to stand up to untrained kids armed with Kalashnikovs,” he said.

Speaking about the ongoing war that involves Chad, Niger and Cameroun, Mr. Deby said the Nigerian military has not cooperated with his country in fighting the jihadists.

He said the two sides have not had any direct contact since Chad became involved in the conflict.

“Two months after the start of this war, we have not had any direct contact with the Nigerian army units on the ground,” he said.

“We would have hoped to have at least one Nigerian unit with us. It was even a direct request to the Nigerian government, but for reasons that escape us, up to now we have been unable to work together.”

He said his country has had to capture territories twice in Nigeria, as the Nigerian military would not take over towns, allowing Boko Haram to return.

“The Chadian army is fighting alone in its part of the Nigerian interior and that is a problem. We have had to retake certain towns twice,” Mr. Deby said. “We are forced to abandon them and Boko Haram returns, and we have to go back. That has a human and material cost.”

Mr. Deby said Boko Haram has long been trained by ISIS in Libya, and that the group’s recent public declaration of allegiance was a mere formality that did not surprise him.

“(IS) has always trained young people from Boko Haram in the use of explosives, the use of heavy weapons and armoured vehicles. They are trained by (IS) in Libya… and are then sent to Nigeria,” he told Le Point.

“I’m not surprised that (Boko Haram leader) Abubakar Shekau, who has difficulties at the moment… is trying to make people believe that he only just made contact with them.”

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Goodbye to the longest six weeks – By @Obajeun

No man rules forever on the throne of time. We have come a long way through tumultuous routes of fears, suppression, anticipation and ad-hoc precipitation of disenchantment. We went through biting cold and stepped along red carpet of intimidation. We have finally arrived at the bulwark of decision, where history has once again, vested in us the power to enable Nigeria to navigate through the icebergs in the sea of our regression, towards sustainable advancement in all facets of our national pride.

In the past six weeks, which was the longest six weeks in the remaking of our national behavior, we have been placed on psychological arrest under the tight grip of abled and empowered militia groups across the country. We have been confronted with fears of court injunctions readily made available through judicial auctions. We have been shut out of reasons to believe that we still exist as a nation. We have been soaked with embarrassing naira rains and dollar erosions. We have been subjected to national disgrace over inter-governmental phone conversation and two weeks after, everyone has suddenly gone mute about it. We witnessed robust fight against the use of face-saving card readers by INEC. We saw how a directionless leader has gone from being clueless to become a smart man in desperate need of safety net. We saw how this same man told the families of people that have suffered hugely from insurgency that he never knew the militia groups were that sophisticated. These six weeks are over and here we are at the threshold of history.

It is a moral sin to keep the baton in the hands of this same team of hawks to steer the affairs of this troubled nation. It is an economic sin to donate a vote to this same man who has no idea of what leadership entails and often set the tone for corruption. It is a political sin to empower this same man who has no political will and understanding of trends. It is genocidal on Nigeria to accord this same man with a vote of honour. It is a criminal offence to vote Jonathan after being caught pant down with treasury depletion.

The statist, centralizing resolution of the current Nigerian crisis could have come about in only two forms; either through a world-historic coup which would completely eliminate the current ruling class, or through some epochal social and political upheaval with an avenging political saviour at the vanguard. The military option has been rendered historical passé by emerging local and global trends. The second option looks like what is possible based on the current configuration of the nation. With its contradictions, Buhari fits well in this class.

In place Jonathan, we have an option in the Daura General. Either we like it or not, APC, the feared amalgamation of political jobbers had thrown up a grandpa of necessity at the most virulent time, a grandpa who had craved to be born in 3 different eras but failed. This is the contradiction of philosophies that had stayed with us from time immemorial. Having worked barefooted with history, we have come to the juncture of decision where we have to make recourse to wisdom. At 72, wisdom now oozes out of Buhari, spreading like wild illumination to lighten up the dark mood of the country. We are in for a big deal.

The General this time is emboldened in wisdom. This is all we need to keep ourselves from crashing through the world like a falling stone. Wisdom is the vessel unto which he poured himself. It gave him shape, structure. It harnessed him. It contained him. His love. His madness. His hope. This is Buhari, whom the world has suddenly come to see as a grandpa of necessity.

In all, we say goodbye to the longest six weeks.

#VoteNotFight

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs @Obajeun.com. Reach him on twitter via @Obajeun.

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Army Lied, Gwoza Has Not Been Liberated from Boko Haram

Contrary to the claims by the Defence HQ, that Gwoza, the headquarters of Boko Haram’s caliphate, is not yet under Nigerian Army control.

The Defence Headquarters had earlier tweeted that the town had been liberated this morning from the insurgents.

Speaking off the record, an officer said that indeed troops were on the ground in Gwoza, but that as of the time of this conversation, that fighting was still ongoing.

“The announcement was made because my bosses are trying to please Mr. President who announced that the town would be liberated by today,” said our source.

MOPOL headquarters, 11 kilometres from Gwoza town was retaken 3 days ago by the NA. Gwoza town is still being contested as we speak.

gwoza 2

gwoza 3

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80% Of My Advisers Are Useless – Jonathan Laments In Bayelsa

President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that more than 80 per cent of his advisers have nothing to say.

The president who spoke in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, at a special funeral service for eight female politicians and their driver who died in a road accident on February 14, said this has been happening to him since his days as deputy governor of the state.

He stated this in reaction to Governor Seriake Dickson’s disclosure that he was advised against organising a state burial for the deceased.

Jonathan said, “I was surprised when the governor (of Bayelsa) said some people asked why state burial. I told the governor that more than 80 per cent of people who come to advise you have nothing to say, but just listen to them.

“From my experience as a deputy governor till today, more than 80 per cent (of advisers) have nothing to say, but you listen to everybody and do what is right for our people”.

Describing the day of the accident as a black day which coloured the landscape of Bayelsa with the worst colour, the president said, “We are here today because of the sad event of February 14. Of course, we lost eight of our best.

“To me, it is not just that people have died, not just that Bayelsans have died. But these are people I know too well. These nine caskets contain the remains of people who were dear to me, people that touched me in one way or the other.

“Whenever I remember February 14, which was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day, but a black day that coloured the landscape of Bayelsa State with the worst colour we could ever imagine. My ADC gave me the information and my PA showed me the flaming bus on a handset. I asked myself ‘how could these people be in this flame?’ And I asked God why?”

Jonathan continued: “When I saw that flame and imagined that these women were being burnt and roasted, I just couldn’t imagine. Till today, it gives me migraine. I lack words to console the direct family members.

“The world is a stage where we have all come to play our part and go. I believe they have played their own part. I plead we reason they died in this circumstance probably so that we learn to be a little more careful”.

The president asked people to be conscious of what would be said about them when they die.

He said, “In every nation, when so many people die at a time, it is taken as a national calamity, not to talk about a state. Members of the bereaved families, let me express my condolences to you. Your daughters and brothers have though passed on, but we remember them.

“And the most important thing is that at the day of your death, people will say positive things about you. Not the office you occupy. There are people that have occupied almost the biggest offices in the land, but people dance when they hear that they are gone”.

In her tribute, First Lady, Patience Jonathan who described the late female politicians as her faithful followers, lamented that she had lost her strong pillars of support.

Calling for calm in the state, she said, “Bayelsa State is a small state. I want everybody to live in peace. We should love one another. Let us put politics aside and live in peace and unity”.

In his own tribute, Dickson said February 14, 2015 would for ever remain dark in the minds of the people of Bayelsa State.

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International Investors Want Jonathan To Go So They Can Return To Nigeria – Bloomberg Reports

(Bloomberg) — President Goodluck Jonathan left the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange after a visit two weeks ago to traders singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. Some investors would prefer that he keeps walking.

Since rising to a five-year high in July, Nigeria’s benchmark stock index has plummeted 30 percent and is now only 11 percent higher than when Jonathan took office in May 2010. Stocks in South Africa and Kenya rallied 90 percent in the period, while those in Zambia and Ghana more than doubled. The naira fell to a record in February, and domestic government bond yields of almost 16 percent are the highest among 31 emerging markets monitored by Bloomberg indexes.

“It’s been horrible,” Ayodele Salami, who oversees $200 million of Nigerian assets as chief investment officer of Duet Asset Management, said by phone from London on Feb. 23. “Foreigners have been getting out of equities and fixed income. Bond yields in Nigeria are now astronomically high.”

Jonathan’s failure to wean Nigeria off its reliance on oil, and save surplus revenue when crude prices were trading at record highs, is coming back to haunt his campaign for a second term in office. A plunge in crude of almost 50 percent since June risks slowing economic growth in 2015 to half the pace set over the past 15 years. A win for his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, may tempt foreign investors back to Africa’s biggest economy and spur a rally in Nigerian assets, according to Holger Siebrecht at Boston-based Acadian Asset Management.

Election Delay

The election was delayed by six weeks after security forces said they needed more time to defeat an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which killed 4,700 people last year, according to U.K.-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. With lower oil prices slashing export revenues, the International Monetary Fund forecasts growth of 4.8 percent this year, about half the average of the past 15 years.

Buhari, a 72-year-old former military ruler, is seeking to unseat Jonathan, 57, in what is set to be the nation’s closest election since Nigeria ended military rule in 1999.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded the West African country on March 20 to B+, four levels below investment grade, citing loss of income from oil and rising political risks. Nigeria, which has long had a reputation for endemic graft, ranked 136 of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, level with Russia and Iran.

Buhari’s APC aims to boost economic growth to 10 percent and increase employment by providing cheap loans to small businesses, according to a manifesto on its website. Jonathan said on March 12 he will sell more state companies to the private sector if he wins and encourage oil, power and telecommunications firms to list on the stock exchange. His spokesman, Doyin Okupe, didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s telephone calls and text messages seeking comment.

‘More Effective’

“We think the market may welcome a win by General Buhari,” Siebrecht, who helps oversee $360 million of emerging-market debt at Acadian, said in an e-mailed response to questions on Tuesday. “Buhari is likely to be more effective than Jonathan” at tackling corruption and Boko Haram, and managing the government’s finances amid falling earnings from oil, he said.

Acadian joined investors including Morgan Stanley and TCW Group Inc. in cutting exposure to Nigerian assets in the last quarter of 2014. Foreign investors have reduced their holdings of naira government bonds to 14 percent of the total from as much as 27 percent in 2012, according to Standard Chartered Plc. Outflows from the equity market were the highest in November since at least 2012.

“If the government had saved substantially during the period of high oil prices, the nation would have had buffers to cushion the slide in the naira and by extension the stock market,” Sewa Wusu, head of research at Sterling Capital Markets Ltd., said by phone from Lagos on March 20.

The main problem for investors remains the naira, which has weakened 18 percent against the dollar in the past six months. While the currency rebounded 1.9 percent this month to 199.05 per dollar as of 3:32 p.m. in Lagos, trading restrictions imposed by the central bank mean it is overvalued and will probably weaken after the election, according to Investec Asset Management.

‘Foreign Flows’

“Investors are waiting for the election to pass, and they’re also waiting for the naira to devalue,” Joseph Rohm, a money manager at Investec, which oversees $107 billion, said by phone from Cape Town on March 20. “Once you see the naira devalue further you’ll see foreign portfolio flows back into Nigeria again.”

Forward prices imply the naira will weaken to 244 against the dollar in six months and 261 in a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nigerian stocks trade at 7.9 times forward earnings, the lowest level after Zimbabwe among African bourses tracked by Bloomberg. They will probably rally whoever wins the election, but will be more buoyant if Jonathan is voted out, according to Lanre Buluro, head of research at Lagos-based Primera Africa.

“If Buhari comes in we believe the rally will be much more sustained,” said Buluro. “It would be a breath of fresh air. The country’s been ruled by the same party for 16 years.”

LINK: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-26/jonathan-exit-seen-as-spark-needed-to-ignite-nigerian-markets

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SSS Spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, Received Bribe Before 2014 Osun Election – PremiumTimes

For most of 2014, Marilyn Ogar, the spokesperson for Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service, SSS, cut out for herself a controversial portrait of a blunt security official who had no qualms issuing threats and attacking anyone or institution perceived to be critical of the Nigerian government.

In the heat of the August 9 Osun State governorship election, won by the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ms. Ogar alleged links between the party and bomb attacks, and narrated how SSS officials rebuffed N14million offered as bribe by an unnamed party – although her description fit the APC.

“A director in charge of election duties (security) was offered N4 million for himself and N10 million,” Ms. Ogar, a deputy director in the service, said at a news conference. “It is because the money was declined, that is why the certain political party is having a running battle with the DSS.”

She added, “Thank God the APC won the election; its loss could have been blamed on the DSS”, using the service’s alternate name.

Ms. Ogar assured that she and other SSS officials could not be bribed because the service provides a competitive reward package for its personnel, even before assignments.

“We are well paid, I will say it categorically, our operations are well funded. N14 million as against N200m that was spent, which one will you go for? The federal government and the people of Nigeria who have engaged us have the capability of taking care of us.”

Ms. Ogar was lying. Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES have confirmed the SSS spokesperson received bribe from government officials well ahead of the Osun election, and was indeed paid millions of naira at least two months before the polls.

PREMIUM TIMES could not however confirm whether the money was directly tied to the Osun election.

But in June, Ms. Ogar was treated to a special offer the Nigerian government utilises in appeasing dubious officials  who are willing to play ball, and other Nigerians regarded as troublesome.

Within government circles, the offer, which is a direct allocation of fuel products, is termed “settlement”.

“That is what the government uses if it wants to settle you. If you are settled once, you are made,” one source told PREMIUM TIMES.

Ms. Ogar was referred to the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the government-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in charge of marketing and distribution of petroleum products.

According to elaborate details of the transaction obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the PPMC was directed to allocate 10 trucks of DPK (Dual Purpose Kerosene) to Ms. Ogar.

The SSS spokesperson, accordingly met with the Managing Director of the company, Haruna Momoh, and the deal was struck between first and second week in June, this newspaper confirmed.

With little or no previous fuel marketing experience, and more importantly, without a registered company for that purpose, Mr. Momoh, who took charge at the PPMC in 2011, suggested the allocations be channelled through known fuel independent marketers who will receive the allocation, sell them and deliver cash to Ms. Ogar.

The SSS spokeswoman agreed, and the PPMC selected three marketers to deliver four, three, and three trucks apiece on her behalf.

An agent at the PPMC triggered text messages to the respective marketers. In one, sent by the coordinator of a private depot in Apapa Lagos via 08064387579, the firm wrote, “Please be informed management has approved three trucks of DPK to your company. Kindly make arrangement for payment. Thank you.”

To finalise the deal, the PPMC introduced Ms. Ogar to the three marketers and all sides agreed she be paid N1.5 million for each truck of DPK.

In all, Ms. Ogar was paid N15 million for doing nothing beyond meeting the PPMC boss having been recommended by the higher authorities to do so.

Ms. Ogar declined to comment to this story. She did not answer multiple calls to her by one of our reporters. She is also yet to reply a text message sent to her seeking comment.

Mr. Momoh too did not answer or return calls. Neither did he respond to a text message sent to him.

Third party bazaar

For the marketers, the deal was not a bad one as they received hundreds of thousands of DPK at N40.90k per litre.

For a 33,000-litre truck, as the average volume of fuel tankers is, that amounted to N1.345 million in purchase cost for each truck.

To enable them profit, the Nigerian government allowed the marketers the liberty to sell the fuel at any rate, as high as N120, to raise their profits after paying Ms. Ogar.

Ms. Ogar’s bazaar was typical of the rot in the marketing of petroleum products in Nigeria, the most infamous example being the 2012 fuel subsidy that cost the nation nearly N3 trillion.

While landing cost of fuel could be as low as N40.90k, registered marketers buy at far higher price than that, often in excess of N100.

Our investigations showed that the huge differential oils a complex web of official racket that allows top government officials settle their cronies, by using them as intermediaries who receive direct fuel allocations before re-selling to marketers.

The end cost is transferred to Nigerians who buy fuel at far more exorbitant rates.

Ostensibly to cover up the deal, Ms. Ogar and the PPMC chose not to issue routine documents for the transaction, but conducted most of the deal through telephone calls and text messages.

Our sources said the June allocation was neither the first nor the last for Ms. Ogar, a claim PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify.

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/179191-exclusive-sss-spokesperson-marilyn-ogar-received-bribe-before-2014-osun-election.html

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Court Grants Restraining Order Against Arrest Of Tinubu

The Federal High Court in Lagos today granted an interim injunction restraining the Chief of Army Staff, his privies, agents and servants from arresting, detaining, harassing or intimidating Bola Ahmed Tinubu pending the determination of the motion on notice.

Bola Tinubu had approached the court on March 25th through his lawyer, Femi Falana, seeking the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
In the restraining order granted by Presiding Judge, J.T. Tsoho, the interim injunction also barred the Chief of Army Staff or his privies, agents and servants from further laying siege on the home of Bola Tinubu situated at number 26, Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi. Furthermore, the military or its agents are restrained from preventing him from participating in the 2015 general elections.

The determination of the motion on notice in the matter between Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Chief of Army Staff was moved to March 31st. In the past 2 weeks, news of the planned arrest of Tinubu had circulated in the media. Despite denials by the government, no one believes them.

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Fayose Fights Dirty With The Dead, Wants Body Of Late Ekiti Deputy Gov. Exhumed

It is now authoritatively useful and confirmed that the widely circulated plan by Gov. Peter Ayodele Fayose to exhume the body of Moremi, Adunni Olayinka away from Moremi Park is apparently no ruse at all, as a source this evening confirmed to us that the family has been contacted for the attempt.

Mrs Adunni Olayinka, was elected Deputy Governor of Ekiti State between October 16,2010 to April 6, 2013. She died of cancer. Her body was laid to rest at Moremi park beside Government house, Ado Ekiti.

A member of the Famuagun family who spoke in confidence said, a letter was sent to the family and was received by the father of Moremi at his residence at Oke Aremu, Ado Ekiti before a meeting was fixed at the family at Saseere lodge in Igbehin.

The news of the state government ugly moved was received in shock and described as an insult to the dead.

“We are not finding it funny any longer. Gov Fayose has displayed the height of notoriety even to the dead who served Ekiti State meritoriously”. This idea, as you can does not sit well with any member of the family. We condemned it in totality.
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Jonathan Promises to Liberate Gwoza On Friday As Freed Abductee Said Chibok Girls Are In The Town

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday expressed the confidence that Nigerian troops will liberate Gwoza from members of the Boko Haram sect latest on Friday.

Once that feat is achieved, he said it would not take the nation more than one week to clean up.

Jonathan assurance is coming just as a woman who was recently released by the Boko Haram sect told the icirnigeria.org that the over 200 girls abducted in Chibok in April 2014 are being held in the town.

Speaking while granting audience to a group of international election monitors who paid him a visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Jonathan said “We believe by tomorrow (Thursday) or latest Friday, we will be able to take over Gwoza. If we take over Gwoza it will not take us more than one week to clean up. Now Boko Haram is not in position to come out and disrupt elections,” Jonathan told his guests.

He recalled that when security operatives advised that elections be rescheduled for security reasons, a number of people thought it was just because of the terror attacks in some parts of the North.

He however admitted that that was a major factor too because the Boko Haram set was in three states: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa at that time.

“They were holding territories, some local governments were completely under their control and invariably there were no government in those places.

“And of course, some states like Gombe and Bauchi were also not free. In fact, it would have been difficult to conduct elections in five states of the federation.

“If we had conducted elections on that February 14, they would have come up to disrupt elections in these five states and that would have made the presidential elections in these five states inconclusive.

“This is because whoever emerged a winner though we are 14 candidates but the PDP and the APC candidates are the two that are well known.

“It would have been difficult because probably the vote difference of any of these candidates, if you aggregate the remaining five states that elections would have been disrupted, it would have been difficult to declare a winner.”

Jonathan added that Gombe State was attacked on the same day the presidential election was earlier scheduled to hold. He said the aim of the insurgents was to disrupt the elections but they were repelled.

The President assured his guests that elections would be conducted on the Saturday across the country and there would be no reason for inclusive results.

On the whereabout of the Chibok girls, the woman who was recently freed by the Boko Haram sect said they are in Gwoza because she was held in the same location as the abducted Chibok girls.

Mbutu Papka, 56, who was kidnapped in July 2014 and held by the insurgents for eight months in two locations, said confidently that the abducted girls were being held under very tight security in a house in Gwoza.

Ms. Papka said nobody is allowed near the fenced building where the abducted girls are being held under 24-hour security. Even the heavily armed guards, who keep watch over the girls round the clock, it was learnt, are only allowed to go into the house to deliver food, water and other supplies to them.

The woman was seized along with others when Boko Haram attacked Gwoza on July 4, 2014 and taken to Mdita, a remote village near the notorious Sambisa Forest, bordering Askira Uba, Damboa and Gwoza.

The abductees, who included many children, according to Ms. Papka, were kept in Mdita for five months before being transferred to Gwoza, where they were held for three months before they were finally released on March 15.

It was while in Gwoza that she learnt that the Chibok Girls, whose abduction has attracted global attention, were being housed in a compound adjacent to where she and other abducted people were kept.

Asked how she knew the girls were there, Ms. Papka said she never saw the Chibok girls, but explained that people in the area pointed at the heavily guarded flat and said the girls were inside.

Because access to the house was restricted, she said, the girls apparently did their own cooking and chores by themselves.

“In the camp at Gwoza, there were clear demarcations between where people were kept. The Chibok girls, other captives and Boko Haram members and their family members all had their separate areas secured, though the security in the area where the girls are kept is visibly different and much tighter,” she said.

Ms. Papka explained that the conditions under which the captives in Gwoza were kept were fairly tolerable and far better than the first location, as there was water supply.

She said that after they were taken to Gwoza, their living conditions improved remarkably because the town has modern facilities, as opposed to the rustic Mdita.

“When we got to Gwoza, things changed because there were facilities there and the place was 10 times better than Mdita. We had a normal life in Gwoza, except the trauma of living in captivity. Whatever we wanted to eat, they were provided. They would bring water, firewood, etc., and leave them outside,” she explained.

A few other comforts were provided.

“They even provided perfume for anyone who requested for it,” she added.

According to her, at Mdita, she met other abducted people including women and children, among whom were many under the age of seven, all living in terrible conditions.

“There was a room we used to urinate in and because of lack of water, the place stank and maggots were everywhere. We took our baths once daily, if we were lucky,” she said.

Because of the terrible conditions and absence of health care facilities in the camp, many people fell sick and some died.

“There was a Redeemed Christian Church of God pastor who was killed during the attack on our village, and his wife was abducted with us. She died at Mdita due to the condition of the place and the death of her husband,” Ms. Papka said.

The pastor’s wife, she explained, had diabetes and, before her abduction, had been on a special diet which could not be provided by the insurgents.

Ms. Papka said she and the other women were not raped or assaulted, although she could not speak for the Chibok girls because nobody was allowed to see or interact with them.

She also said that the Boko Haram men lived with their wives and children in the Gwoza camp, but kept away from others and cooked their own meals.

On March 15, 2015, after three months in Gwoza, Ms. Papka and 10 other older women were taken from the camp, herded into a vehicle and driven to Izge, a village, from where she was taken to her own village on a motorcycle because the road is bad.

The ride, however, was not free.

“I was asked to pay N8, 000 for the motorcycle ride, which I collected from my family,” she stated.

This website also learnt that a two-year old boy was given to Ms. Papka when she was released. The boy, who is reported to be sick and has rashes on his body, has since been reunited with his family, which is now seeking financial assistance to take the child to hospital.

“He was crying uncontrollably, so they (Boko Haram) handed him over to me as we were leaving,” she said.

Gwoza local government area of Borno State, which is just over 100 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital, is said to be one of the council areas still wholly in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists.

Gwoza town was first captured by the insurgents in August last year, following a heavy gun attack by insurgents who hoisted the sect’s flag and declared it the headquarters of the group’s Caliphate.

Over 12,000 persons were displaced from the town and repeated attempts by the military to recapture it in the past have failed largely due to the hilly terrain, which provide hiding places for the terrorists from which to operate.

 

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