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A security barrier marks the scene of a car bomb explosion at St. Theresa Catholic Church (background) at Madalla, Suleja, just outside Nigeria's capital Abuja, December 25, 2011. Islamist militant group Boko Haram said it planted bombs that exploded on Christmas Day at churches in Nigeria, one of which killed at least 27 people on the outskirts of the capital. | REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the new leader of Boko Haram, has reportedly threatened to bomb churches and kill Christians while promising to end attacks on mosques and markets used by Muslims.

The Japan Times reports that an interview published on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, by the Islamic State group, had al-Barnawi declaring a major shift in strategy for the Nigerian extremists that have killed many Muslims in attacks on mosques with suicide bombers and gunmen.

He was quoted to have said there is a Western plot to Christianize the region and accused charities of using their aid for that.

As translated on SITE Intelligence Group in the Islamic State newspaper, al-Nabaa, the newspaper identified al-Barnawi as the new ‘Wali,’ or governor, of its West Africa Province. The ‘Wali’ title was previously used to describe long-time Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

SITE Intelligence quotes the new leader as saying, “Under my leadership the militants will work to seize back territory. Increasing numbers of youth are joining the cause, though Nigeria’s military reports that hundreds of its fighters have surrendered as aerial bombardments and ground assaults cut supply routes.

“There have been attacks on crowded marketplaces in predominantly Muslim areas and the killings and kidnappings of schoolchildren.

“The targeting of students accounts for its nickname Boko Haram, which means Western education is sinful or forbidden.

“They strongly seek to Christianize the society. They exploit the condition of those who are displaced under the raging war, providing them with food and shelter and then Christianizing their children.

“The militants will respond to that threat by booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those (Christians) who we find from the citizens of the cross.” He said.

Niger Delta Avengers Nigeria Troops MEND
Niger Delta: An indigene of Bodo, Ogoniland region in Rivers State, tries to separate with a stick the crude oil from water in a boat at the Bodo waterways polluted by oil spills attributed to Shell equipment failure August 11, 2011 | AFP/Pius Ekpei

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, August 4, 2016, said the cleanup of Ogoniland and other oil-impacted communities in Rivers State would last for 20 years.

Buhari said this while inaugurating the Governing Council and the Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project for the Implementation of the UNEP Report at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The clean-up exercise is expected to go on for two decades. The first five years will address emergency response measures and remediation while the subsequent years will look to restore the ecosystems in the Delta,” Buhari said.

“The governance framework we lay today, following extensive consultations, will form the bedrock for sustainability for years to come.

“Together we will be able to transform what is today a tragic tale of desolation and destruction to one of restoration and opportunity for the coming generations. The expertise and technology exist to make this a reality.

“In the end, this project will serve as the ‘gold standard’ for the cleanup of similar pollution in other parts of the Niger Delta, and the world at large.”

Buhari called on the local communities, especially the youth, to work with the government in ensuring the security of the projects and persons implementing them.

He also urged members of the BoT and Governing Council to ensure the highest standard of transparency and accountability in the task.

He said measures were being put in place to ensure that the funds devoted for the project are used only for the intended purpose.

“Since the time of flag-off, considerable effort has been expended to create a robust mechanism for implementing the project in the long term.

“The Governing Council and Board of Trustees, which are being inaugurated today (Thursday) jointly form an essential part of the governance framework.

“In addition to the management and administration structure, other systems and controls are being put in place to ensure that the funds devoted for this project are used only for the intended purpose.

“Indeed, a project of this magnitude requires extensive planning, scientific analysis, community involvement, and genuine partnerships. As a result, it will require patience and understanding of the key stakeholders as we move forward.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the project remains on course, as we face the challenges of high expectations and the current conflict in the Niger Delta.”

The chairman of the BoT, Mr. Olawale Edun, promised on behalf of others that they would manage the funds meant for the project efficiently and transparently.

He expressed the belief that the president would continue to support them to succeed in their task.

A member of the BoT, Senator Magnus Abe, told State House correspondents that with the inauguration, the clean-up had started in earnest.

Abe noted that the UNEP report specified $1 billion for the exercise and Shell had announced since the report was released that money was available.

He, however, said the money might not be enough and that was why Edun was brought in as the chairman to give confidence to the investors and donors that any fund that is brought out would be well utilised.

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, attends a Global Climate Fund forum at the opening ceremony of its headquarters in Songdo, Incheon on December 4, 2013. (Photo Credit: WOOHAE CHO/AFP/Getty Images)

The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) is shocked and alarmed over a recent claim by Nigerian-born director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), Ms Olatokunbo Ige to the effect that out of 500 million illicit Small Arms & Light Weapons in circulation in West Africa, 350 million of them or about 70% are in circulation and in wrong hands in Nigeria.

The Nigerian-born UN official made the bogus claims at the ongoing National Consultation on Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) in Abuja, organised by the Agency and Presidential Committee on Smalls Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM).

In other words, the Nigerian-born UN official is saying that 350 million Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) are in circulation in Nigeria. This is not only alarmingly false, but also demographically and statistically untenable, incorrect, unscientific; guesswork, contentious, unverifiable and socially disastrous.

We are deeply worried because the name of United Nations is involved, which explains our promptness in disputing and dismissing the bogus and highly inflated figure. It is no longer news that the Nigerian intellectual community has decayed steadily in recent times following gross bastardization witnessed in the country’s cultural and political values, courtesy of Nigeria’s political class.

The dicey situation under reference is compounded by the emergence of the Nigeria’s erstwhile chief propagandist opposition political party (All Progressives Congress) and its toutocrats, as the ruling political party in Nigeria; leading to the entrenchment of culture of denial, falsehood and propaganda as the core foundation of its presidency. Under the current APC-led federal government of Nigeria, if figures are not bandied and alarmingly inflated, they are mangled with utter alacrity as case may be.

It is therefore, most likely that Ms. Olatokumbo Ige of the UN Regional Centre for Peace & Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) is a major victim of this intellectual decadence or corruption, which is running riot on present Nigeria; under the presidential midwifery of the Buhari administration; which is why the Nigerian-born UN official has the audacity to misinform and mislead hundreds of millions of people and institutions around the world using UN as a cover.

The bogus claim of the UN official is totally dead on arrival and may most likely be difficult to provide grounded answers to the following questions, which are: (a) if 350 million illicit small arms and light weapons are in circulation and in wrong hands in Nigeria, what is the total population of Nigeria presently? (b) Does it mean that with credibly estimated population of 174million people in Nigeria, illicit small arms and light weapons to the tune of 350 million are two times higher the country’s population of 174million people? (c) Does it also mean that out of every child born recently in the country; every teenager, youth and adult including male and female and even President Muhammadu Buhari; there are two illicit small arms and light weapons in possession of each of them?

(d) If 500 million illicit small arms and light weapons are in circulation in West Africa, of which Nigeria accounts for 350 million or 70%; what then is the total population of the West African sub-region? (e) If 500 million illicit small arms and light weapons are in circulation and in wrong hands in West Africa alone, what then is the total number of illicit small arms and light weapons in circulation around the world?

We challenge Ms. Olatokumbo Ige to rubbish us publicly by providing empirical and statistically grounded answers to the foregoing. It is also correct to say that the Nigerian-born UN official is an acute victim of arm-chair syndrome and a product of networking-cabalism that characterizes sensitive inter-governmental and governmental appointments in recent times locally and regionally; producing unqualified, illiterately educated and dormant and dull brains to run strategic UN bodies such as the UN Regional Centre for Peace & Disarmament in Africa (UNREC).

In view of the foregoing, therefore, Ms. Olatokumbo Ige must as a matter of uttermost immediacy and local, regional and international importance, retract her grossly misleading and misinforming statistics and tender an unreserved apology to all Nigerians, the UN and the entire global community. We also advise her to upgrade herself at all times both academically and informally; likewise members of the Presidential Committee on Small Arms & Light Weapons (PRESCOM).

Opportunities abound for her in Nigeria to upgrade herself; one of which is exploiting the potentials of the departments of Criminology, Security Studies and Peace & Conflict Resolution at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The UN, on its part, must also be mindful of those it appoints to head its strategic and sensitive agencies or bodies. Such appointees must also be routinely upgraded through periodic in-service academic and non-academic trainings and professional exchange programs.

On the other hand, though the claim of the Nigerian-born UN official is bogus and condemnable, but the addition of the UN voice in the ongoing national debate on how to tame the scourge of illicit Small Arms & Light Weapons (SALWs) in Nigeria, is a welcome development as well as commendable. Statistically and credibly speaking, through the illicit use of SALWs, over six million people have been killed around the world since the end of the cold war in 1991 and through illicit use of same; an estimated 500,000 civilians are killed every year in the world and 80% of victims of illicit small arms and light weapons are non-combatants, dominated by women and children.

Further, there are a total of 600 million-700million licit and illicit small arms and light weapons in circulation around the world produced by about, if not over 1000 companies; most of which originate from five permanent members of the UN Security Council, with USA, Russia and China topping the list. Others are UK, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, North Korea, Japan as well as leading members of the defunct Eastern Europe and Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (former USSR). These weapons are traded licitly through inter-State channels and illicitly by profiteers of violence through war zones and regional or international organized arms trade syndicates.

Till date, the battered Republic of Afghanistan is the world most illicitly armed country with estimated 10million illicit SALWs in circulation; on average of one illicit SALW for every four Afghans out of its 2016 estimated population of 33million people. On the other hand, Republic of Egypt remains till date the world largest possessor of anti personnel landmines, estimated at 6million with many of them laid as far back as 1948, during Israeli-Arab War.

About 10 million illicit SALWs are in West Africa with Nigeria accounting for almost 50% or 4.5million, on average of one illicit SALW for 45 citizens (Sources: Departments of Peace & Conflict Studies and Criminology & Security Studies of NOUN: 2015: i.e. Arms Control & Demilitarization (PCR873): 2013; Public Security & Safety Advocacy Department of Intersociety: 2016).

Illicit Small Arms & Light Weapons; which are empirically or technically defined as weapons that can be carried by a single person, either for military or civilian use; relatively cheap, available in abundance, highly portable, long lasting and easy to carry or operate; are also responsible for 64 active internal conflicts presently raging across the world involving 597 armed opposition militias and asymmetric groups against their host political territories; out of which about 30 are raging in Africa involving 167 armed opposition militias and asymmetric groups, with the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for 36 armed opposition groups alone( Source: warsinthewar.org 2015).

SALWs range from pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, grenades, mortars to anti tank systems. Light weapons, on the other hand, are referred to as weapons that are man-portable or transportable by light vehicles, which do not require much in terms of service and logistical back-up training. Some of them are small caliber canons, light support weapons, combat grenades, anti-personnel mines, mortars, anti-tank weapons, anti-tank mines, etc.

In the battered Republic of Syria, for instance, availability, affordability and use of SALWs have killed over 260,000 people, mostly non-combatants or civilians, in just five years (2011-2016) of its internal conflict. While women and children are the worst hit, the SALWs-driven conflict has also displaced half of the population with 7.6million IDPs and 3.88million refugees as at 2014. While the number of world refugees has slightly decreased from 24million in the last five years to 21.3million in 2016, there have been spiral increases in the number of internally displaced persons or IDPs and Stateless Persons or SPs, with the UNHCR credibly estimating the current global IDPs at 65.3million persons and Stateless Persons at 10million persons.

In Nigeria, over 2.6million people including over 1.3million Christians have been displaced owing to Boko Haram insurgency using illicit small arms and light weapons. Since the inception of the Buhari administration, it has deadly and dangerously pursued a policy of militarism and militarization, leading to intensification of direct violence, structural violence and cultural violence on the polity, targeted at innocent citizens of the country, leading to the death in the past one year of at least 1300 unarmed and innocent civilians including women and children. The Buhari administration’s militant and confrontational policy under reference has also forced restive non-State actors to opt for counter-violence and reprisal radicalization in defense of their ethnic identities, religions and resource-values.

For clarity and record, militarization is a chronic habit or process undertaken by a militant political territory to increase influence of the military on all levels of the society. Militarism, on its part, is a set of attitudes or social practices, which regard war and preparation for it as a normal or desirable activity. It is also an act of seeking violent solution to social conflicts or problems. These have remained the negative cornerstone of the Buhari administration till date.

We hereby submit conclusively and correctly that the number one architect of proliferation and escalation of illicit small arms and light weapons in Nigeria is the Government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari and a meaningful solution to the scourge can only be found through demilitarization of the Buhari administration’s policy of militarism and militarization.

Signed:

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Emeka Umeagbalasi(Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies)
Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Website: www.intersociety-ng.org

Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL)
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Email: [email protected]

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Runsewe, Chrisland School, Lagos Man, Rape, Widower, Court
Photo Credit | Every Stock

Humphrey Omoregieva, a 43-year-old man, has been remanded in prison by a Magistrates’ Court in Benin, on Thursday, August 4, 2016, remanded over alleged assault on his parents which included raping his own mother.

The prosecutor, Mr. Ayo Augustine, told the court that the accused committed the offence on Monday, August 1, 2016, at No. 294, Upper Mission, Benin.

Augustine told the court that Omoregieva had beaten up his father by hitting him with a piece of wood on his forehead.

He said that the accused also beat up his mother and raped her several times.

The prosecutor added that Omoregieva maliciously damaged a sliding window in the house valued at N80,000.

He said that the offence contravened sections 355, 320 and 358 of the Criminal Code.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr F.E. Akhere, said that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case and ordered that copy of the case file be sent to the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice.

He adjourned the case till September 8, 2016, for mention.

Rotimi Amaechi Rivers State
Nigeria's transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi

Following several failed attempts at crippling the economy of Rivers State by promoting and deliberately amplifying insecurity in the State without much success, as it has remained undaunted and maintained its developmental strides under the leadership of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON; the All Progressives Congress, APC, through governmental channels has taken a dramatic and dangerous bid to cripple the economy of the State by targeting multibillion naira investments in it.

In one fell swoop, two of the largest revenue generators of the state, Indorama Petrochemicals and Notore Petrochemicals, have been accused of sabotaging Nigeria’s economy by the national security adviser to the president.

While indeed the clear details of the allegations amounting to economic sabotage are not readily available to the public, the office of the national security adviser has threatened sanctions on the companies should their business not conform to the unclear expectations of the government, strengthening the allusion to witch hunt and nothing more.

Quite queerly also, the plot is being strategically unleashed on the same day, the federal government is inaugurating a governing council and board of trustee for the much dramatised, but yet to be implemented, Ogoni Cleanup exercise, in a bid to both condense the effect of the move and mutate public opprobrium against it.

Indorama Petrochemicals is about the largest private sector investment in Rivers State currently valued at over $1.5 billion and is the cynosure of business success in the state. An attack on Indorama or Notore is not just an attack on the economy of Rivers State, it is an attack on the very nerve center of Nigeria’s economy and, quite frankly, smacks of crass senescence given the possible threats to national security that such growing fundamentalist moves pose across the country.

One is, however, not surprised that former Governor Rotimi Amaechi who governed the state for 8 solid years and is a chieftain of the fundamentalist political organisation and government that is hell-bent on crippling Rivers State, would sit comfortably and watch a state he claims a right to govern by proxy get completely grounded, since after his 8 years at the saddle. He, Amaechi, cannot show an investment of his loot in his Sstate.

Every single dime was freighted out of the State. Little wonder he doesn’t give a hoot if Rivers is completely razed aground. He has no stake in it. He never believed in it. All that he cares for is the flow of the milk until the cow can no longer be of use. But one thing is certain, the failure that has become a part and parcel of the APC will wreck it and all those associated with it, as even nature has rejected them.

The general public is alerted to the desperate moves by the APC. By its very hands, APC is stoking the heat.

APC is stoking the heat!

Oraye St. Franklyn is a barrister-at-law. He is senior special assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on Social Media. He is a strategic communicator and good governance advocate, writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He tweets from @RealOraye. He is also on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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An injured child waits to treated at a makeshift hospital following reported shelling by Syrian government forces in Douma, northeast of Damascus, on August 3, 2014. | Abd Doumanya/AFP/Getty Images

A human rights monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, has said that at least 16 civilians, including four children, have been killed in air strikes on rebel-held areas in Aleppo, Northern Syria.

The group said on Thursday, August 4, 2016, that the strikes were mounted by unidentified aircraft overnight on the besieged opposition-held Eastern Aleppo.

In recent weeks, activists have blamed intense air attacks on the eastern section on Syrian regime warplanes and those of allied Russia.

Last month, forces loyal to Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, imposed a siege on Aleppo’s rebel-controlled neighbourhoods after they blocked all supply routes into those areas, raising fears of a humanitarian disaster there.

The Observatory said that the was an ongoing fierce clashes between al-Assad’s troops and Islamist rebels on the South-Western outskirts of Aleppo, where opposition forces started a major offensive on Sunday in an attempt to break the regime blockade on the city.

It said that no casualties were reported as at the time of the report.

Once Syria’s commercial hub, Aleppo has been divided between government forces in the west and rebels in the east since fighting erupted for control of the city in mid-2012.

Nnamdi Igbos Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin DHQ Suicide bombers female
Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin

Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters, DHQ, has asserted that the announcement of a new Boko Haram leader is irrelevant and inconsequential to the military’s operation in the north east.

The director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, told newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, that the military remained focused on its operation in the north east.

He said the announcement of a new leader for the group was only aimed at seeking attention and relevance.

“As far as we are concerned, what Boko Haram or their cohorts are doing is of no relevance to our operations against them.

“We are just focused on clearing the remnants of the insurgents that are scattered around.

“What they are doing is to seek relevance and to tell the world that they are still around whereas they have been decimated.

“Their latest move is the antics of a fading group and I believe that in the shortest time they will be history.’’

In a related development, the commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, has expressed optimism that the country has developed the requisite manpower to address Nigeria’s contemporary security challenges.

 Alade, who spoke at the 2016 graduation dinner of the college, said the participants’ conduct at the college had been satisfactory and encouraging hence his confidence on the participants.

“In view of the outcome of the individual performances of course 24 participants I am confident that we have among them a crop of strategic leaders that can be relied upon to address challenging issues in the nation.

“Despite this optimism, I want to say that it is also a moment of reflection for the graduands as much is expected of them to impact positively on society’s challenges.”

Alade noted that past fellows of the college had distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavour.

He said the NDC had and would continue to contribute to development of strategic policies that would help address security challenges affecting the country.

It can be recalled that a foreign media reported on Wednesday that ISIS had announced Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new leader of Boko Haram, ousting Abubakar Shekau.

Al-Barnawi was the spokesperson of the group under Shekau. ISIS, the report said, did not say what happened to Shekau who has been out of the picture since 2015. Boko Haram had earlier in 2015 pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group.

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cult innoson Woman, Sons, Homosexual, Act, Police

Abiodun Agbele, an aide to the governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has been granted bail in the sum of N500 million for alleged money laundering by the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who granted the bail on Thursday, August 4, 2016, ordered the applicant to produce two sureties in the sum of N250 million each.

Dimgba said that the prosecution could not substantiate its claim that the defendant would jump bail.

“I note that the offense the defendant is charged with carries a sentence of three years imprisonment.

“Under Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), I am required to release a person charged within the threshold of the penalties referenced above to bail.

“This is, however, except in circumstances where there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant when released on bail will commit another offense.

“Taking a holistic appraisal of all the materials before me, I am not convinced that the prosecution has provided sufficient evidence as to stop the court from exercising it’s jurisdiction to grant bail.

“I hold, therefore, that I am inclined to admit the defendant to bail and I so admit him,” Dimgba declared.

He added that every citizen charged with an offence was entitled to a conducive environment devoid of fear to prepare his defence.

The judge held that Agbele would forfeit the N500 million to the Federal Government if he jumps bail.

He said that the sureties could be private businessmen, professionals or civil servants, adding that if in the civil service, he must not be less than the rank of a director and must also be owners of property within the Federal Capital Territory and in Ikeja or Victoria Island, Lagos.

The judge also ordered the defendant to deposit his international passports with the registrar of the court and must not travel abroad without the permission of the court, stating that the trial shall be accorded accelerated hearing and the defendant would remain in prison custody until he perfected his bail conditions.

He adjourned the case till October 26 and October 27, 2016 for hearing.

Agbele was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering.

Agbele, had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The others charged with Agbele were Musliu Obanikoro, Lt. A. O Adewale, Tunde Oshinowo, Olalekan Ogunseye, who are all still at large and Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Agbele and others are standing trial for conspiring among themselves to commit an illegal act to launder N4.6 billion transferred from the Office of the National Security (NSA).

This file image made available from Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2012, taken from video posted by Boko Haram sympathizers shows the leader of the radical Islamist sect Imam Abubakar Shekau. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Abubakar Shekau, who was replaced by Islamic State as Boko Haram’s leader, has spoken out about the news, claiming that he was betrayed and denouncing his purported new leader as an infidel.

He said this in an audio message, his first in over one year, after IS on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, published an interview with Sheikh Abu Musab al-Barnawi in its Al-Naba online weekly magazine in which he was introduced as Boko Haram’s new leader.

In the interview, Barnawi talks about the history of Jihad in this region but makes no clear reference to Shekau.

Since March 2015, Barnawi has appeared in several videos distributed by Boko Haram, claiming responsibility for successive attacks, earning him the reputation of group spokesman, experts say.

But in his message, Shekau takes aim at Barnawi, dismissing him as an infidel who condones living in an un-Islamic society without waging Jihad.

And in a tacit acknowledgement that his own position as leader may have been usurped, he speaks of being tricked by some of his followers.

“They deceived me,” he said.

“And now I find myself being forced to follow another character who practices disbelief,” he says, in a message which becomes increasingly more animated as he speaks.

Berlin-based jihadist expert Yan St-Pierre of the Modern Security Consulting Group, who confirmed the voice in the audio recording as Shekau’s voice, said his message had laid bare divisions within the group.

St-Pierre said the message suggested Shekau was trying to retain his base of support within Boko Haram without compromising the commitment to IS.

“In the message, Shekau refers to Boko Haram under its previous name, but with some ISIS propaganda elements, as if he wanted to reassure its old combattants and base, without denying his commitment to (its leader Abu Bakr) al-Bagdadi,” he said.

Speculation over the fate — and alleged disappearance — of Shekau has been rife in recent months: he was last seen in a YouTube video in March, looking weak, and saying: “For me, the end has come.”

He became Boko Haram leader after Nigerian security forces killed the group’s founding chief, Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009 sparking an insurgency that has left 20,000 people dead and forced 2.6 million people to flee their homes.

But the group has become fractured under his leadership, experts told AFP after the Barnawi interview was released.

“Boko Haram has lost its prestige and become difficult to control (under Shekau). Today, Boko Haram is divided into several little groups,” St-Pierre said.

And a Nigerian security analyst said he believed Shekau was still alive, but that IS may be seeking to clean up Boko Haram’s reputation among jihadists, by ousting a leader seen as disorganised and unreliable.

Boko Haram has been pegged back by an aggressive fight back from the Nigerian military since January 2014, losing territory and its capacity to mount conventional attacks.

US Presidential aspirants. Hillary Clinton (l) and Donald Trump.

If there was any hope that Donald Trump would change tactics and be more restrained after winning the Republican party Presidential nomination for the November 8 US election, that hope is now lost. The fellow has remained aggressive, incorrigibly brash and completely negative. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has asked: “Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?” (August 1). Robinson says he is “increasingly convinced,” and that Trump’s “grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best.”

The way he is carrying on, indeed Trump may need a mental fitness test soon. By now, it must be clear to all and sundry, that he poses a great risk to the United States, to democracy and the liberal world. President Barack Obama has dismissed him as being unfit to be President, he being so totally unprepared, he being no more than a bumbling apprentice seeking the highest job in the United States. A man given to melodrama and expletives such as Trump, without any respect for basic decorum and standards would make a very bad President. He must be prevented from doing damage to the free world.

I am however, surprised that there are Nigerians who insist that he is a better choice. I don’t think so. And don’t ask me why Nigerians should be so divided over another country’s election. The truth is that America’s Presidential election is a world election. There are millions of Nigerians and Africans living in the United States and even greater numbers hoping to visit, study or live in the United States. What happens in America affects the rest of the world. If a Trump Presidency happens, we are all in trouble.

What Trump stands for is anti-progress. It amounts to a fascist, authoritarian promotion of a brand of nationalism that defeats the objectives of inclusion and togetherness. But he says, “I’m really a nice guy believe me, I pride myself on being a nice guy but I‘m also passionate and determined to make our country great again” Nice guy? A nice guy who says he wants to build a wall to barricade Mexico. This nice guy couldn’t even stand the sight of a crying baby, interrupting his speech. He had to ask the poor mother to take her baby out of the room. Nice guy has been busy abusing the parents of an American soldier who died in action in Iraq. He doesn’t even believe that African Americans and other minorities should be allowed to vote. He says Mexicans are criminals and rapists.

This nice guy doesn’t want immigrants and Muslims in America. He talks down on women, Hispanics and blacks. He does not even believe that Black lives matter. He supports nuclear war because it would be “pretty quick” and he wants Japan and South Korea to have their own nuclear weapons. This nice guy is a fan of Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin. Affordable Care that allows more Americans to have access to quality healthcare is unacceptable to him. If he becomes president he will expel over 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and put an end to birthright citizenship. Trump’s real ambition is to become an Emperor of the United States, and by extension the world. But sorry, America’s Constitutional traditions will not allow that. The American voter should deny him his dream.

That moment which President Barack Obama alluded to, when he said there must come a moment when a people must say thus far and no further has come: with Trump, yes. Which is why it is good news that he has been dropping in the polls, and the myth that he is unstoppable is exploding. Common sense is beginning to prevail in America. Like all politicians in his situation, Trump has become more aggressive and temperamental. He even says the election will be rigged. It is so easy to complain about rigging in an election that has not yet taken place, not so?

His supporters are even threatening that there will be “bloodbath” and “widespread civil disobedience” if he loses the election! Wait a moment: are there some Nigerians working for Trump, some Nigerian politicians teaching him dirty tricks? He should wake up: if he loses the election as he should, there will be dancing in the streets from New York to my mother’s village. Every vote against Trump, the man who wants to turn America away from the rest of the world, will be a vote for American progress. But his latest desperation sends one clear message: he should not be under-estimated. His blunt refusal to back the re-election of House Speaker Paul Ryan just shows the kind of man he is: vengeful.

The Republican establishment wants to dump him. Forget it. That is too late in the day and it is probably the surest way to further damage the GOP. And how about Trump himself throwing in the towel? No way! His campaign spokesperson, Hope Hicks has ruled this out saying, “There is no truth to this whatsoever.” Of course, he won’t. Megalomaniacs like Trump do not quit. He likes the limelight. He enjoys being a Presidential standard bearer. Even when it becomes clear that he will lose, Trump would keep trudging on. Defeat would still be a win-win for him in any case. He can subsequently milk his Presidential campaign for big profit: a book, a movie, another reality television show, or speaking engagements. And Trump will still push himself into our faces on television: no doubt, he would make a good, fictional President on television, but not in the White House. Yes, Mr. Trump, stay in the race.

Hillary Clinton is the acceptable choice. But it is unfortunate that the 2016 US Presidential election has been reduced to a strictly moral choice: who sounds more humane between the two candidates? It has also been reduced to emotions rather than the big issues: who makes us feel safe, and which candidate makes us nervous? Trump does not inspire with any of his incoherent ideas: what miracle can anyone expect from a Presidential candidate who says climate change is a “hoax”, specializes in abusing people, and believes that he needs bully tactics rather than ideas to win an important election. He combines this with make-believe strategies. But the American Presidency is not Trump Casino or Trump Steaks. Trump’s strongest point is his ability to exploit the fears of an alienated middle class that feels shortchanged by the American system.

He has accordingly, been very aggressive in labeling Hillary Clinton as a co-architect of this system and co-author of all the fears currently being entertained by average middle class Americans: fears about how the power elite and the rich are alienated from the people. Fears about spreading poverty and unemployment particularly in inner America. Fears about the continuing rise of a rich minority that continues to dominate American life, business and culture. Fears about the increasing influx of immigrants who bring problems of their own and take jobs meant for white Americans.

These fears are real and Trump, being the ultimate salesman and xenophobe is heaping all the blames on Hillary Clinton and the class she seemingly represents. He calls her “the devil,” and now he says, she is “the founder of Isis”. Trump wants to be President for the sake of it. He wants to prove that he can be President. But he has no idea about governance and he really does not think governance matters. Hillary Clinton can win and should, but overwhelming international goodwill is not the thing. The current lead in the polls in Mrs Clinton’s favour may not be enough to discourage Trump, who is apparently far more desperate.

Offensive as his messaging process is, I repeat that he cannot be under-estimated in any way, and Hillary Clinton must not assume that victory is certain without the rigorous hard work that will stop Trump from getting to the Oval Office. She needs to allay the fears of the alienated and vulnerable Americans who actually suspect that she may be one of the many “Devils” in America. Trump must not be allowed to use Casino tactics to become America’s President. He is unfit.

Dr. Reuben Abati was spokesman and special adviser, media and publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan (2011 – 2015). He tweets from @abati1990.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.

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