Saturday 26 April 2014

33-Point Recommendation That Will Curtail Pervasive Instability, Insecurity and Terrorism in Nigeria.

Written By
Don Okereke


The spate of wanton insecurity in Nigeria is to say the least, very worrisome and unpredictable. The remote and immediate causes of insecurity, terrorism/insurgency and instability are intertwined. Experts and Stakeholders agree that a multifaceted, not a piecemeal approach that treats the symptom of the disease or postponing the evil day as is often the case in Nigeria, will go a long way in taming this quagmire. Galvanized by passion, patriotism and disenchantment with the prevailing situation in Nigeria, I set out to brainstorm socio-political, economic, technological, tactical/operational strategies, solutions that will curtail the aforementioned challenges stifling Nigeria. This list is not absolute nor is it omniscient, please feel free to augment my contributions. Perhaps "ogas-at-the-top" (apologies) and relevant authorities, will glean nuggets of information from our humble contributions. In no particular order:

1.         Comprehensive restructuring of the status quo political system of government in Nigeria. Over concentration of political power at the centre (Aso Rock), the States and the kamikaze quest for it by unscrupulous politicians profoundly contributes to the status quo. 'True Federalism' or 'Devolution' of political power as practiced in the United Kingdom will go a long way. National Conference take note.

2.         Urgent need to articulate an all-embracing and coherent counterterrorism policy/strategy as against the penchant for setting up Paper-Tiger committees.

3.         Ongoing Sporadic vulnerability assessment/audit of critical public infrastructures, public places (schools, churches, mosques etc) to ascertain potential security threats.

4.         Deploying a cobweb of intelligence/surveillance network across Nigeria by exploiting the human element of security.

5.         Effective border control, stopping arms proliferation. Deploying avantgarde technologies such as "Unattended Land/Ground Sensors", unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) etc across our vast borders will help. The Nigerian Air Force must play more active role by carrying out intermittent reconnaissance patrol of these hotbeds.

6.         Very Stringent regulation and sales of chemicals such as TNT, Acetone and even fertilizers (precursors) to production of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's).

7.         Deploying efficient access control and 'SENSITIVE' explosives/metal detectors in public places- motor parks, schools, banks, offices etc.

8.         Installing FUNCTIONAL and probably, solar powered Internet-Protocol (IP) enabled CCTV Cameras in the aforementioned public places. CCTV Cameras was instrumental in unmasking masterminds of the Boston marathon bombing.

9.         Provision of a countrywide, preferably a memorable and unique 3-digit National Emergency Phone number for reporting incidents.

10. The government must partner with stakeholders, NGO's, faith-based organizations to ramp up public enlightenment campaigns aimed at de-radicalization and reawakening the security consciousness of Nigerians. Nigerians must imbibe a resilience attitude.

11. Using Social Media, not necessarily the overzealous NSA type, to filter information, trends, events that are potential security threats. Thankfully the bad guys also use Social Media for their propaganda/Press Releases. They will likely leave IP forensic fingerprints behind.

12. Discouraging tribal jingoism, irredentism and whittling down radicalization by run-of-the-mill religious bigots, clerics.

13. Recruitment into military and para military agencies: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Intelligence Agency, SSS, Immigration amongst others, must be transparent, merit-based and for those that are passionate to serve. Merit must never be sacrificed in the altar of godfatherism or 'namu ne' (Hausa word for nepotism). Let's make use of the best and brightest. Government Agencies must not charge fees for employment application.

14. Decentralization of the Nigerian police will reduce Byzantine bureaucracy and improve efficiency. Please revisit, revive 'community policing'. With a population of 160 million people and plausibly 370,000 police staff strength, Nigeria is profoundly under policed. This falls short of UN recommended police-to-people ratio of 1:450. Imagine the plethora of police officers attached to serving and former Presidents, Governors, Ministers, Presidential aids, National Assembly members, Commissioners in all the States, 774 LGA Chairmen, their families/concubines, other VIPs, religious leaders, celebrities. Don't forget that all the bank branches, embassies, telecommunication, multinational firms, hotels, posh real estates, some churches, mosques in Nigeria have 3-5 or more police officers attached to them. Do the math, how many are left on the streets?

15. A concerted effort to tackle abysmal poverty, unprecedented unemployment in Nigeria through capacity building, scholarship opportunities, trickling down wealth. Some form of Social Security (safety net), a variant of the 'amnesty largesse' extended to ex Niger Delta militants, should be extended to unemployed youths across Nigeria.

16. Whittling down a growing culture of impunity, arrogance of power by "ogas-at-the-top".

17. Waging a serious fight against corruption and unprecedented profligacy. Poverty is stifling Nigerians, dying of hunger, whereas Nigerian politicians wallow in luxury. Mr. President is reported to have about a dozen Presidential jets at his disposal and his Ministers globetrot on Private jets. Take a cue from the UK where the Prime Minister is not entitled to a single 'Presidential' jet; he flies British Airways first class. Take a cue from the former Premier of the Canadian Province of Alberta who recently resigned over an expenses scandal of $45,000, a paltry 'chicken change' to a  dilettante Nigerian public official. She did not wait to be impeached or convicted before quitting. Public office holders cannot be rubbing in their ill-gotten wealth and expect tranquility, sanity and reason to reign. Similarly, terrorism, insurgency basks on proceeds of corruption. Politicians must justify and judiciously use the 'Security Votes' accruable to them. Same applies to relevant government agencies.

18. Stifling access to funds, finance and other resources to terrorists. Relentlessly go after their sponsors.

19. Dissuading rivalry and encouraging inter-agency synergy and information sharing amongst Nigeria's Security Agencies.

20. Provision of State-of-the-art national forensic laboratory and database of ex felons accessible in REAL TIME across Nigeria by the Security Agencies.

21. Use of satellite-based technology. NigeriaSat-1, NigComSat, NX Nigeria must be deployed towards tracking vestiges of insecurity, terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria.

22. Setting up counterterrorism, first responder and victim support centres across Nigeria, especially in the hotbeds of terrorism/insurgency.

23. Upholding the rule of law, reforming, strengthening the judiciary to dispense justice as quickly as possible. President Obama once said that, "Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men". A popular dictum goes thus, 'justice delayed is justices denied'.

24. Resolving the state-of-origin ("settler" and "indigene") syndrome in Nigeria and resolving the Fulani herdsmen and cattle rustlers wahala. This  contributes to the intermittent communal crises/violence in North central Nigeria (Plateau, Taraba, Benue states.

25. Our so-called politicians, must be patriotic, put Nigeria before their inordinate ambitions. They should take a cue from American politicians who put America first.

26. Partnering and sharing intelligence with the security agencies of neighboring countries.

27. Military, para-military  Personnel deserve all the motivation they can get. Prompt payment of their salaries, hazard allowances, life assurance, decent accommodation and provision of needed equipments, tools will definitely boost their morale.

28. Good perimeter fencing and deployment of military, para military personnel to guard schools round the clock especially in North Eastern part of the country.

29. Infiltrate terrorist cells, their chain of command and plant 'moles' amongst them.

30. Been proactive, preemptive by taking the battle to their doorstep not waiting until they strike then everybody starts running helter skelter. Not forgetting winning hearts and minds of the local populace.

31.  Rein in extra judicial killing of felons, terrorism suspects. Recall how the erstwhile leader (Yusuf) of Boko Haram was summarily killed in broad daylight. A while ago, the State Security Service (SSS) extenuated the killing of some suspected terrorists in its Abuja detention facility on the guise of jail break. SSS is currently struggling to wriggle free from an indictment for indiscriminately killing 8 people on Friday 20/09/2013 in an uncompleted building in Apo, Abuja. Killing suspects without extracting nuggets of sensitive information from them is counter productive.

32. Military and paramilitary formations must weed out dismissed personnel and bad eggs from the barracks. More often than not, wrongfully dismissed folks have an axe to grind with the system and may resort to passing sensitive information to terrorists.

33. The Security Agencies must desist from deploying native-born personnel's to lead or be part of operations in their place of origin because such folks may have divided loyalty and be sympathetic to their kin.

Don Okereke is a lover of mankind, a Writer, Security Consultant with over 17 years combined Industrial Security, Military (Air Force), entrepreneurial experience gleaned from within and outside Nigeria. Disenchanted with the unprecedented insecurity situation bedeviling Nigeria, Don brainstormed a spirited campaign: 'SAY NO TO INSECURITY & TERRORISM'

Twitter: @DonOkereke

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Boko Haram Attack Chibok (Bornu State), Kill Soldier, Abduct 103 Female Students

Suspected members of the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, have abducted 103 students in a daring raid at the Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a town on the border between Borno and Adamawa States.
The group’s assault on the all-female high school took place on Monday night. A security source disclosed that members of the extremist Islamist group killed a soldier guarding the school and inflicted injuries on several villagers before abducting the students.

The police commissioner in Borno State, Lawan Tanko, confirmed the kidnapping of the students to reporters in the state.
A source who lives near the school said there was complete chaos during the attack, adding that the students could put up no resistance to the heavily armed attackers.

The mass abduction lasted between 9PM -3 AM as sect members made several trips picking and choosing their victims out of the 250 students enrolled in the school.
Residents of the area also said that  the militants  razed 100 homes because some of the residents initially resisted the militants.


Monday 14 April 2014

PDP Expresses Shock Over Abuja Blasts Blames Attacks On Opposition

The Peoples Democratic Party has condemned as barbaric, monstrous and extremely wicked, the bomb attack which claimed the lives of innocent Nigerians in Nyanya, Abuja on Monday.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement on Monday said the party was shocked and has remained grief- stricken since it received the news of the gruesome attack and killing of Nigerians pursuing their legitimate endeavors.
“The PDP weeps. We are indeed grief-stricken. Our hearts go out to the bereaved, especially those who have been orphaned and widowed and those now deprived of their bread winners by this evil act. We share in their pain, their anguish and their loss and pray that those behind their grief must not escape justice,” the party said.
Stating that the attacks cannot be justified under any guise, the PDP maintained that they are politically motivated and can be traced to the utterances and comments of desperate persons who seek to undermine and discredit the present administration and make the nation ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan by instituting a reign of terror against the people.

“We stand by our earlier statements that these attacks on our people are politically motivated by unpatriotic persons, especially those in the APC, who have been making utterances and comments, promoting violence and blood-letting as a means of achieving political control.
“Nigerians are also aware of utterances by certain APC governors which have been aimed at undermining our security forces and emboldening insurgents against the people.
“Those who have been promoting violence through their utterances can now see the monster they have created. They can now see the end product of their comments; a country flowing daily with the blood of the innocent.
The question is; how do they feel when they see the mangled and blood-soaked bodies of their victims? How do they feel when they hear the voices of the dying and the injured?
“Of course they feel nothing. Their hearts have been hardened and they are embittered by the fact that they have been rejected by the people.
They are bitter because the people have chosen to rally round the government they love and voted for; but must they chose the path of
violence and bloodletting as a response to the wishes and aspiration of the people”, the statement queried.

Urging all well meaning Nigerians to stand up and join President Goodluck Jonathan in his untiring efforts to check terrorism in the
country, the PDP caution those fueling the attacks to retrace their steps, rid themselves of bitterness and desperation and seek forgiveness from God.
The party, in solidarity with the people also shelved all official engagements while praying God to grant the bereaved the fortitude to bear the loss.

Nigerian Bulletin

More than 71 People Confirmed Dead, Hundreds Injured Aftermath of Abuja (Nyanya) Bomb Blast

A blast at a Bus Station in Nyanya, an outskirt of the Nigerian capital Abuja during a Monday morning rush hour killed at least 71 people and 140 injured.

A Reuters cameraman saw 20 bodies at the depot at Nyanyan bridge, around 8 km (5 miles) south of Abuja, and two witnesses said another 15 had already been removed by the emergency services.

"I was waiting to get on a bus when I heard a deafening explosion then smoke. People were running around in panic," said Mimi Daniels, who works in Abuja. Another blast followed, she said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion is likely to fall on Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The Islamists have been waging an increasingly bloody insurgency in the northeast.

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 60 people in an attack on a village in northeast Nigeria late last week. Eight people were killed in a separate attack at a teacher training college, witnesses said.


Saturday 12 April 2014

Boko Haram Ambush, Kills Scores of Students Writing University Entrance Exam (UTME) in Borno

Scores of students trreportedly missed writing theiravelling to write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination in Borno State have been reportedly killed by the Boko Haram sect. 

They were among several persons that lost their lives in multiple attacks unleashed by the dreaded sect in four communities.

The Senator representing Borno Central in the Senate, Zannah Ahmed, on Friday, accused the military of complicity in Thursday attack on part of troubled Borno State where he claimed that 210 people were killed in attacks on four towns: Dikwa, Kala Balge, Gambulga and Gwoza.

The senator claimed that the attackers were all dressed in military uniforms and spoke English language, a departure from the Hausa and Kanuri language spoken by the Boko Haram insurgents.

He even lamented that authorities of the military post in Gamboru, which purportedly received a distressed call from the people of Kala Balge avoided the town, claiming that it was not in its area of command.

The senator who said he was compelled to speak out because his people were being killed on a daily basis, added “what happened in Borno was beyond understanding.”

He said: “It is a must for me to speak since the people lives are involved and they are my people. All these are happening in my constituency and it will be wrong to keep quiet. I feel so much pained and would not have spoken but definitely my conscience will not let me do that.”

According to him, they attacked a Teachers College in Dikwa and killed seven people, burnt down the school library and administrative block.

He said Kala Balge was the most devastated as 60 people were killed by the armed men who went on the rampage.

He said after they left Kala Balge they attacked three other towns in the area where a total of 150 persons were killed.

A security source, however, said that the insurgents laid ambush for a group of students who were on their way to Biu from Maiduguri to write Senior the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examination scheduled for Saturday April, 2014.

It was learnt that the JAMB candidates were riding in eight vehicles when they ran into the insurgents ambush.



Friday 11 April 2014

Boko Haram Kill 8 Teachers in Bornu, Engage Nigerian Military On Several Fronts

In their latest and daring onslaught, Boko Haram Sect members yesterday broadened the theater of conflict in Borno State by freely and simultaneously engaging Nigerian soldiers in several towns in the state. Sources say the Sect invaded Dikwa killing eight teachers.

Also, the Sect members raided Gwoza and Kalahgde engaging in fierce fight to take control of the townships.
The fighting that started yesterday has lasted till the wee hours of today in some of the places that came under attack.


Thursday 10 April 2014

Boko Haram: North-East governors Appeal to INEC on 2015 Polls

Governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, facing the challenges of Boko Haram insurgency on Wednesday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to postpone the 2015 general elections in the states.

The call was contained in a statement jointly issued in Maiduguri by their spokespersons.

The statement urged INEC to disregard calls by some politicians for the postponement of the elections due to the security situation in the states.

It urged INEC to take a cue from war-ravaged Afghanistan where elections were recently held, in spite of threat of attacks by the Taliban terrorist group.

“INEC should take a cue from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission which courageously held the country’s presidential and provincial election last Saturday despite strong threats issued by the Taliban.

“Afghanistan was celebrated worldwide for liberating herself from the scourge of fear, thereby sending a strong signal that no threat would prevent them from choosing their leaders through democratic processes,” it said.

The statement further pointed out that the Afghan government provided adequate security for the conduct of the polls, urging the Federal Government to do same.

“INEC should as a matter of counter insurgency approach, ensure that no part of Nigeria is excluded from the election.

The Nation Newspaper

Boko Haram: Security Agencies Issue Travel Advisory To IBB, Buhari, Sultan, others

FOR safety, security agencies have restricted the movement of some Very Important Personalities (VIPs) including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, former-President Shehu Shagari, former military President Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and others.

Also affected by the “protective” restriction are prominent emirs, governors, former-governors, ministers, former-ministers and some highly-placed Nigerians.

Those concerned are to depend on travel advisory from security agencies before visiting any part of the Northeast – the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed thousands of lives.

It was learnt that where visits are inevitable, security will be strengthened to guarantee the passage of such personalities.

The travel advisory followed threats by Boko Haram to attack Gen. Babangida and a former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Others targeted by the sect are Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, a former Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero and the Shehu of Borno.

The agencies do not want the politically-exposed persons to be either victims of the insurgents or be caught in a crossfire.

A security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The restriction is in form of travel advisory. It is part of our new proactive steps to check these insurgents who can hit any target.

“The killing of Gen. Muhammadu Shuwa, the attacks on the Emir of Kano and Shehu of Borno and others have made this restriction necessary.

If they want to travel to any part of the Northeast, intelligence report will determine clearance by security agencies.

“And as for those whose visits are unavoidable, like governors, adequate security measures will be put in place for easier passage.”

The aim is not to curtail their fundamental human rights to freedom of movement. Security agencies are usually updated with their movement schedules by their security detail and where it is challenging to be in a place or an environment at any given period, a clear and concise advice is given.

He cited Senator Ali Ndume whose convoy was sighted by Air Force jet fighters. He was asked to stop and he did, when it was confirmed who he was, he was waved on. The convoy was almost picked up as that of the insurgents.

Many former-governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives enjoy such services. Among them is a former governor in the Northeast who was once quizzed on alleged link with Boko Haram.

The Nation Newspaper

Wednesday 9 April 2014

How to Keep Your Neighbors from Hijacking your Wi-Fi

By Lincoln Spector  Follow

Your Internet connection could be slow for many reasons, but you can rule out local Wi-Fi thieves by employing strong passwords.
A number of issues can produce intermittently slow Internet access, and most of them don't involve foul play. You could have bad cables, a bad modem or router, or simply outdated firmware on either of these devices. The problem may be with your ISP, and therefore completely out of your hands.
But as much as we'd like to think otherwise, your problem could be with a dishonest neighbor. And in these days of data caps, such neighbors could be running up your bill as they're slowing down your connection.

I'm assuming you've password-protected your Wi-Fi network. If you haven't, check your router's documentation and do so immediately.
But nothing is ever completely secure, and Wi-Fi networks can be cracked. You need to take extra precautions.
Every technique I've seen for cracking Wi-Fi networks involves either a dictionary or a brute-force attack. There's a very simple tool for protecting yourself against these attacks: a strong password. Use a long, random string of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and punctuation, and avoid anything found in the dictionary. Read more here on how to A use strong passwords.

Since you and other people will likely be typing this password manually from time to time, avoid lower-case L, upper-case I and O, and the digits 1 and 0. This will avoid confusion when people read the password and recreate it on a keyboard.
Test the password's strength with "How Secure is My Password", which estimates how long it would take a standard PC to crack your password. If it would take more than a million years to crack, consider the password safe.
The usual complaint against strong passwords--they're too hard to remember and type--doesn't apply here. You only have to type this password when setting up a new Wi-Fi-capable device, or when helping a guest who brought their own device to your home. You can just keep the password on a scrap of paper--or in your password manager.

Of course, if you're worried that a neighbor has already cracked your Wi-Fi, changing the password will get them off of it immediately.
In addition to your password, make sure your Wi-Fi security is properly set up. Go into your router's setting screen and check the options. Ideally, you should be using WPA2 encryption. If your modem doesn't support WPA2, use WPA-Personal--or better yet, buy a new router.

Boko Haram Gunmen Strike in Jigawa State Killing 8 Persons, Order Residents To Close Down Schools and Football Viewing Center

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members killed eight persons while four persons were injured in the early hours of Wednesday at Gwaram Sabuwa, Gwaram local government area of Jigawa state.
The gunmen invaded the town between 2-4 am Wednesday morning, bombed the police station before shooting indiscriminately at villagers.
Residents said the unknown gunmen numbering over 20 entered the town in cars to perpetrate their dastardly act and left the town unhindered after causing severe harm to residents.
The gunmen threatened to come back if the people did not to stop enrolling their children in schools, stop accepting polio vaccination and close down all football viewing centre in the town.

Those killed were taken to a morgue in the state capital while the injured are currently receiving treatment at Gwaram general hospital. This is third time Gwaram town came under attack by unknown gunmen, but the latest attack is the most deadly because 9 innocent persons were reported killed in the attack.
The Assistant Inspector of Police (AIG) in charge of zone 1, Mr. Tambari Yabo confirmed the attack and the killings.


Counter-Terrorism not Targeted at Any Religion, Ethnic Group - Nigerian DHQ

The Defence Headquarters in Abuja said that no religion or ethnic group was targeted at the ongoing counter terrorism campaign in the country.
Olukolade said that the Armed Forces comprise Nigerians from all religious persuasions and could not be used against any particular religion as purported.
Olukolade described the statement issued by the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr Khalid Aliyu as "spurious and inflammatory".
Recall that Aliyu had in the statement alleged extra-judicial killing of Muslims and people of Fulani ethnic group by the Nigerian military.

``The Nigerian military remains non-partisan, non-sectarian and will continue to be the symbol of patriotism and a unifying factor in the face of threats to national sovereignty.
``If this wild allegation was meant to cause disaffection or brew disharmony within the military, then it has woefully failed as the Nigerian military does not operate along religious or ethnic lines.
``It is unfortunate that the unjust imputation is coming from respectable and responsible organisation like JNI,’’ he said.
Olukolade urged the body not to join in the fray of propagandists bent on discrediting genuine efforts at finding solutions to the nation’s security challenges.
He said that the military would continue to be driven by patriotism and commitment to the cause of the nation and its law abiding citizens.
``Individuals with similar prejudices are advised to abandon such biases as the challenges at hand calls for prayers and support of all well-meaning organisations and groups.
``Instead of trying to turn the public against the military all responsible organisations should be more interested in seeking solutions to the nation’s security challenges,’’ Olukolade said.

The spokesman said ``that for the avoidance of doubt the military and other security agencies do not have any policy, agenda or plans to perpetrate massacre or extra-judicial killing of law abiding citizens.”
He said the authorities had no reason to take side or shield anyone from justice.
``Individuals apprehended in the course of counter-terrorism campaign will continue to have access to justice as provided by law.”

Daily Times

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Israeli Firm Prototypes 30-Second Battery Charger

A battery that can charge in under 30 seconds has been shown off at a technology conference in Tel Aviv.
Israeli start-up StoreDot displayed the device - made of biological structures - at Microsoft's Think Next Conference.
A Samsung S4 smartphone went from a dead battery to full power in 26 seconds in the demonstration.
The battery is currently only a prototype and the firm predicts it will take three years to become a commercially viable product.
In the demonstration, a battery pack the size of a cigarette packet was attached to a smartphone.

"We think we can integrate a battery into a smartphone within a year and have a commercially ready device in three years," founder Dr Dorn Myersdorf told the BBC.
The bio-organic battery utilises tiny self-assembling nano-crystals that were first identified in research being done into Alzheimer's disease at Tel Aviv University 10 years ago.
The nano-dots are described by StoreDot as "stable, robust spheres" that are 2.1 nanometers in diameter and made up of peptide molecules.
The technology has a range of uses, founder Dr Myersdorf said.
"Batteries are just one of the industries we can disrupt with this new material. It is new physics, new chemistry, a new approach to devices," he said.
The team has also used the nano-crystals in memory chips which could write three times faster than traditional flash memory and as a non-toxic alternative to cadmium in screens.

Dr Myersdorf said that the batteries are likely to be 30 to 40% more expensive to manufacture compared to traditional ones and the final product will be twice as expensive than those on the market today.
But making them should be a relatively easy process.
"It is about letting nature take its course. We just need a facility that can do chemical processing," he said.


Terrorists Kill Five Soldiers In Northeast Nigeria-Defence HQTRS

Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters has announced the loss of five soldiers, including an officer, during an ambush by the terrorists today, Tuesday 08/04/2014.
In a Statement, the Director of Defence Headquarters, Maj. General Chris Olukolade, indicates that the incident occurred during an assault on terrorists’ enclaves in Sambisa forests and surrounding locations.

“Operational activities around Wala, Gwoza, Pulka and environs have been intensified.  Encounters resulting from air and land strikes and an ambush of troops on patrols in the area have resulted in the death of scores of terrorists and loss of 5 soldiers including an officer."
Olukolade stated that a timely distress call saved communities besieged by terrorists in search of food around the Lake Chad area.
The heavily armed terrorists, on sensing the approach of troops before they could carry out their mission, scampered for safety, General Olukolade said.

"The troops of the Multi-National Joint Task Force on patrol of the area have so far recovered some arms and ammunition left behind by fleeing terrorists.  Cordon and search of the area is continuing with a view to apprehending any of the terrorists that could be lurking around.”


Microsoft Ends Security Updates, Bug Fixes for Windows XP Operating System

Microsoft will ditch Security updates, bug fixes for the venerable Windows XP  Operating System today, Tuesday 08/04/2014.

It means that there will be no more official security updates and bug fixes for the operating system from Microsoft.
However some governments have negotiated extended support contracts for the OS in a bid to keep users protected.
Security firms said anyone else using the 13-year-old software would be at increased risk of infection and compromise by cyber-thieves.

Old code
Statistics suggest 20-25% of all users have stuck with XP despite the fact that there have been three major releases of Windows since its debut in 2001.
Some existing XP users have struck deals to get security fixes from Microsoft while they complete their migration away from the ageing code.
The UK government has signed a £5.5m deal for extended support. Similarly the Dutch government has signed a "multi-million euro" deal to obtain help for the 40,000 PCs running XP used by the nation's civil servants.
Anyone currently running Windows XP already faced a disproportionate risk of falling victim to malware, said Dave Emm, a senior research analyst at security firm Kaspersky.

Many of the world's cash machines are still believed to be running Windows XP.
"Our data indicates that less than one fifth of our customers run Windows XP but more than a quarter of infections are Windows XP-based," he said.
That exposure ratio was only going to get worse after 8 April, he said, once the last security patch for Windows XP had been released.
That final patch will fix a series of bugs, one of which is rated as critical and is already being actively exploited despite only being discovered in late March.
"Effectively, every vulnerability discovered after 8 April will become a zero-day vulnerability - that is, one for which there is and never will be, a patch," said Mr Emm.

Windows XP users topped the list of victims cyber-thieves targeted, said Maik Morgenstern and Andreas Marx from the German AV-Test group, which rates and ranks security software.
"Malware writers go for the low hanging fruits because it's a lot easier to infect systems running on an old Windows XP operating system compared to brand-new Windows 8.1, with all its built-in security features," they said.
"We think we will see a lot of attacks for Windows XP within the next few months, but attackers will also always add exploits for other Windows systems just to catch those systems as well."
Patch plan

Many have stuck with XP and ignored newer versions of Windows
Orla Cox, a senior manager at cyber-defence firm Symantec's security response unit, said criminals groups were likely to hoard the XP vulnerabilities they knew about rather than use them to bolster malware being spammed out to millions of people.
"The types of groups sitting on zero-days will tend to use them against high-end targets and for corporate espionage," she said. "Some organisations will have particular concerns because they find it so hard to move away from XP."
However, she added, any zero-day that did get used against a corporate target was likely to be re-used later on.
"Once it's out there it gets into the malware kits and then gets circulated and there will be no defence," she said.
Mark O'Neill, a spokesman for data management firm Axway, said organisations were getting better at coping with software that had hit its end-of-life.
"Beyond high-profile programs like XP there are a lot of products that have gone out of support because the company behind them has gone out of business or was acquired," he said.
In addition many other products were written in old programming languages that made them expensive to maintain and update.
As a result, many IT departments have put such ageing programs in the virtual equivalent of a "black box" and subsequently update the external code if security patches need to be applied.
"You can create a layer above the older application and that gives you a place to patch," Mr O'Neill said.
"Companies are not defenceless even with the things they cannot patch."


The National Human Right Commission's Report on the Apo massacre vindicates our Press Release Titled: Apo, Abuja, (Nigeria) Indiscriminate Killing: Part 2, Scene 2?

The Nigerian National Human Right Commission's Report on the Apo indiscriminate killing of squatters in an uncompleted building in Abuja vindicates our Press Release on the issue then.

To refresh your memory, about 8 people were on Friday 20/09/2013 indiscriminately killed in an uncompleted building at Bamanga Tukur Street, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, by Nigeria’s Security Operatives. The SSS justified this wanton massacre claiming those killed were Boko Haram members. We issued a Press Release then condemning the circumstances surrounding the killings. The Nigerian National Human Rights Commission released a report indicting the Department of State Security Service. Recall that this déjà vu played out 8 years after the infamous unprovoked extra-judicial killing of some Igbo traders by overzealous Policemen in what became popularly known as ‘’Apo 6 massacre’’.

While we hold no iota of brief for the activities of Boko Haram and their ilk’s, we strongly decry a penchant for Government Security Operatives to wantonly gun down supposed suspects without first ascertaining their culpability or extracting sensitive information from them.  The issue of the 60 bodies that were reportedly sighted floating on Ezu River in Amensea, Anambra State is yet to be unraveled. Who knows whose turn it will be tomorrow? We profoundly believe in the sanctity and right to life of innocent Nigerians irrespective of their ethnicity, religious and political affiliations. Life expectancy in Nigeria will continue to shrink if such blanket killings are not checked.

A penchant for extra-judicial killing of suspects and innocent people invariably creates mutual distrust, hate and dichotomy between the security agencies and the citizenry that are supposed to volunteer nuggets of sensitive information. Such a proclivity is definitely counter-productive to the fight against insecurity and terrorism. No wonder people failed to volunteer useful information aftermath of the killing of SSS and Police officers by the Ombatse.

We immensely appreciate and commend the sacrifices, unconventional and precarious nature of the onerous task that Nigeria’s Security Agencies are encumbered with in their fight against insurgents and terrorists. We respectfully implore them to stick to international best practices, be less pugnacious, very discerning and surgical, more proactive and invest more resources in intelligence gathering so as to nip insecurity and terrorism in the bud. Due diligence and utmost care must be factored in before embarking on such operations so as to forestall indiscriminately gunning down innocent people or operatives endangering their own lives in the guise of fighting terrorism. With all due respect, Nigeria’s Security Establishments must not metamorphose into terrorists in the guise of fighting terrorists.

Beyond the NHRC indictment, recommendation for monetary compensation, in the interest of justice and in line with global best practices, those responsible for this killing should also be made to face the wrath of the law.

How France Will Support Nigeria’s Anti-Terror War’

FRANCE intends to help Nigeria overcome terrorism and insurgency by amongst other measures, providing high-calibre intelligence reports leveraging on its special relationship with Nigeria’s French-speaking neighbours like Cameroon.

France sees terrorism largely as a regional problem, one that needs not just the collaboration of neighbours but also development partners.

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, stated this in an interview with The Guardian at the weekend.

It is believed that the shared intelligence reports such that France is now offering, is largely responsible for the recent breakthrough by the Nigerian counter-terrorism team and the military joint task force in foiling bomb attack plans by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect in parts of the North-East.

France has defence pact with her former colonies which surround Nigeria. Cameroun and Niger have lately been fingered by intelligence reports of harbouring some terrorist cells apart from the provision of what appears to be safe havens for insurgents who have been striking at both soft and hard targets in North-East of Nigeria.

Last month, during a visit to Nigeria, French President Francois Hollande pledged his country’s support in the war against terrorism and insurgency by extremist group Boko Haram as France’s way of defending democracy.

Hollande told delegates at a security summit in Abuja ahead of Nigeria’s unification centenary celebrations: “Your struggle is also our struggle.”

Although Labriolle fought stridently against exposing the nitty-gritty of the French support for strategic reasons, he stressed that the role intelligence reports sharing in the fight against terrorism can never be underestimated.

He said: “This is not a matter which is meant to be public. But it includes intelligence, intelligence sharing, strategic information and data. Things like these are not meant to be public as you can see; help is going on, you know in a very useful way which is also that we have good relations with the neighbouring countries and we can share views and bring assistance on what is going on.”

He added: “The regional dimension is what I believe is where we can help best. You were saying that the terrorists are coming from Cameroon. They are not coming from Cameroon, they are just coming and going very easily because the borders were not really secured. It is a matter of exchanges, legal and illegal that have gone on for decades that now have a consequence, that is very difficult to prevent people crossing the border which is the problem because security forces of one country cannot go after them in another country, this is not the state of international relations as we speak...”
On the collaborative nature the French involvement in the days ahead, he said: “Our ideal which is drawn from the lessons we learnt in the Sahel is that for a long time, terrorists have been hiding in neighbouring countries, sometimes having deep-rooted shelters and things like that, it is part of the action against terrorism to address this so we came to think that instead of just speaking of borders and trying to see that the specific line between two countries be not crossed, a deep analysis would now be put at the centre of the thinking that it’s a regional wide action that is needed, it’s a borderless region which is at stake with people from both side that may have problems that have to be addressed for terrorism to recede. I have said earlier that terrorism is also a consequence of a certain state of things in terms of economic, social and political development and this has to be addressed within the frame-work of inclusive strategies. That is something that we can help and as we have a good record working with the neighbouring countries, indeed we have been discussing with them and with Nigeria on how best is the way out of this crisis.”

Guardian Newspaper

Monday 7 April 2014

Army, Boko Haram Working Together in Parts of Nigeria?

By Pamela Dockins, Voice of America

A Nigerian soldier says he has witnessed incidents that suggest some Nigerian military commanders are working with Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009.

In an exclusive interview with VOA's Hausa service, he described how his military unit, based in the northeastern Borno State region, was ambushed by Boko Haram fighters.

The soldier, who did not want to be identified, said the commander of a nearby military unit, based in the town of Bama, recently sought assistance from his unit in carrying out a raid.

The soldier said when the two military units joined up, they were given different uniforms. The Bama unit commander gave his own troops green uniforms. The soldier said his unit received tan "desert camouflage" uniforms.

When the troops reached the battle area, the soldier said the commander of the better-equipped Bama unit suddenly withdrew his forces, leaving the remaining troops to fend for themselves against Boko Haram fighters.

Speaking in Hausa, he said, "We had only light arms and our men were being picked off one after the other."

The soldier also said he recognized some of the Boko Haram fighters as his former military trainers in Kontagora, a town near the capital, Abuja.

"We realized that some of them were actually mercenaries from the Nigerian army... hired to fight us," he said.

This soldier and others have said that too often, commanders have pocketed money that was supposed to be used to help equip units.

Government has no comment

VOA has made repeated attempts to get reaction from the Nigerian government for this story but no officials have been willing to speak on the record.

However, in a January 2012 speech, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Boko Haram members have infiltrated his government's executive, legislative and judicial sectors, as well as the police and armed forces.

Saturday 5 April 2014

Google Halt Sales of Hi-tech Fire Alarm Due To Safety Concerns

Google-owned Nest has halted sales of its Nest Protect fire alarm after the firm found out that users could accidentally disable the device by waving their arms.
The company said the feature, Nest Wave, which allows users to wave their arms to deactivate the alarm, could be activated unintentionally.
In a blog post, the company said current users should disable Wave.
Google bought Nest Labs for $3.2bn (£1.9bn) in January.

The firm, which is primarily known for its hi-tech thermostat, launched in the United Kingdom this week after strong sales in the US.

Nest chief executive Tony Fadell emphasized "We identified this problem ourselves and are not aware of any customers who have experienced this, but the fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me and I want to address it immediately.
"We're enormously sorry for the inconvenience caused by this issue."

All current users of Nest Protect who have their device connected to the internet via wi-fi will have the feature disabled automatically.
He said that all current owners of Nest Protect alarms would be offered refunds, and added that he thought a fix could take between two and three months.

Culled from:

Toddler Discovers Xbox Security Flaw

A five-year-old boy who worked out a security vulnerability on Microsoft's Xbox Live service has been officially thanked by the company.
Kristoffer Von Hassel, from San Diego, figured out how to log in to his dad's account without the right password.
Microsoft has fixed the flaw, and added Kristoffer to its list of recognised security researchers.
In an interview with local news station KGTV, Kristoffer said: "I was like yea!"

The boy worked out that entering the wrong password into the log-in screen would bring up a second password verification screen.
Kristoffer discovered that if he simply pressed the space bar to fill up the password field, the system would let him in to his dad's account.

"I got nervous. I thought he was going to find out," Kristoffer told television station, KGTV. "I thought someone was going to steal the Xbox."

Dad Robert - who works in security - sent details of the flaw to Microsoft. In a statement, Microsoft said: "We're always listening to our customers and thank them for bringing issues to our attention.
"We take security seriously at Xbox and fixed the issue as soon as we learned about it."
Kristoffer's name now appears on a page set up to thank people who have discovered problems with Microsoft products.
The company also gave him four free games, $50 (£30), and a year-long subscription to Xbox Live.

Culled from:

Friday 4 April 2014

Israel Revs Up Cyber-Security Defences

Worried by imminent fears of a cyber-attack by Palestinian activists, Israel has blocked international data from reaching government sites. By blocking traffic, Israel hopes to limit activists' ability to knock out official sites. In addition, government workers are being instructed to be wary of email messages from beyond the nation's borders.

The precautions are expected to be in place over the weekend.
The measures involve filtering traffic so only data originating within Israel reaches the sites. Systems that accept payment for government services made by people outside the country are also being put on hold.

Israeli web news site Walla said the precautions were being taken to deal with a "huge attack" being prepared by hacktivists acting for pro-Palestinian groups.
Reuters reported that Israeli government security teams were also carrying out work on official websites to make them more resistant to attack.
Israeli officials have declined to comment on the action the country is taking.
The precautions come a couple of months after security company Seculert revealed that activists had managed to breach Israeli government defences using a booby-trapped email.
The attack reportedly left the perpetrators in control of 15 computers that were used to manage some of Israel's armed forces.


Egypt to Pass New "Anti-terrorism" Law: Ministers

CAIRO: Senior Egyptian ministers said they would pass legislation on Thursday "connected to confronting terrorism", in a statement released hours after three explosions killed two people in Cairo.

The statement from a high-level security committee including the prime minister and ministers of defence and interior, did not go into further details on the contents of the law. It said the bill would be presented to the cabinet for approval.

Egypt's government already has wide-ranging security powers and has detained thousands of supporters of former President Mohamed Mursi, ousted by the army in July. Cairo declared Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in December.

Daily Star Lebanon

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Beyond Nigeria's Newfound ''Soft Approach'' Towards Terrorism and Insurgency.

Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), Nigeria's National Security Adviser

Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) succeeded late Lt. Gen. Patrick Azazi as Nigeria's National Security Adviser in June 2012. After nearly two years of painstakingly reappraising the Boko Haram miasma, he recently unveiled a 'Soft Approach' towards combating terrorism in Nigeria. The NSA proceeded to say, "my approach has been to understand the problem in order to apply the appropriate solutions. What we have learned is that there is not any particular path that leads to terrorism. Rather there are many, often complicated, paths that lead to terrorism". According to Dasuki, "the strategy would complement, not replace, military efforts to fight the Boko Hiram Sect. He continues, 'the Soft Approach will encompass de-radicalization of terrorists and revamping economy of Northern States'. He reeled out Poverty, social injustice, isolation and sectarianism amongst the factors causing terrorism and Insurgency in Nigeria. 

State Security Service (SSS) Accuse Suspended Central Bank Governor-Sanusi of Financing Terrorism

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Suspended CBN Governor
A new twist has been added to the ongoing travails of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi, as the Department of State Security Service, SSS, has accused him of financing terrorism. The SSS stated this at the Federal High Court, Lagos, while defending its decision to seize Mr. Sanusi’s international passport.
Mr. Sanusi’s passport was seized on February 20, as he arrived the Lagos international airport, hours after he was suspended as Central Bank Governor by President Goodluck Jonathan.