Many soldiers were killed when a Boko Haram insurgent rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into them during a clash in Yobe on Monday. The bomber, believed to be a member of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of the group, targeted the military convoy in Goniri, a border community between Yobe and Borno states. “There was an SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) attack at Goniri yesterday, so many soldiers were killed and injured. The number of casualties is currently unknown,” a military source said. On Sunday, the group killed five Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State. The IDPs were attacked inside a forest outside Damboa town while they were searching for firewood. ISWAP, which split from the mainstream Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant group, focusing on military targets and high-profile attacks, including against aid workers. The Nigerian Army has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency had been largely defeated and frequently underplays any losses. The terror group has caused over 40,000 deaths and displaced millions of individuals mainly in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.
The Nigerian Army has recaptured Marte, an area in Borno, from the hold of suspected members of the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) according to army spokesman, Brig-Gen Mohammed Yerima. The development comes after army chief, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, gave the soldiers 48 hours to recapture the town and other enclaves held by the insurgents. The army chief had, on Sunday, asked the troops to clear areas around Marte, Chikingudo, Kirenowa, up to Kirta. He had also assured the soldiers that the necessary provisions would be made for all they needed to ensure satisfactory performance on the field. “You must not let this nation down. Go back and do the needful and I will be right behind you,” the army chief had said on Sunday. Earlier on Tuesday, media reports said about 100 villagers in Marte were being held by ISWAP members. Unnamed military sources said that the captured villagers were being used as human shields against military offensives. “The soldiers on the ground are in close range, but airstrikes from the NAF air support have been put on hold to avoid casualties on the civilians held hostage,” one of the sources had said.
The Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters, a group of Niger Delta militants, has threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos and Abuja. In a video published on Tuesday, the group accused the FG of marginalising the region and failing to deliver on the amnesty programme. Reading from a statement, a masked member of the group said after accepting the amnesty pact, “till date, there are no schools, no potable water, no light, no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy”. The group also complained that “no meaningful progress has been made” with the Ogoni clean-up project “because the Nigerian government has decided to place politics against the meaningful development of our people”. It asked the government to allow the region to manage its resources “the way Zamfara gold mining sector is being handled by their own people”. “Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment… but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves. They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate,” a member of the group read from a statement. “Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping, and maiming the innocent people of the region. “Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies have decided to shortchange our people. Now in our territorial waters, it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage. “Don’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos.” The group nominated former President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike to mediate between it and the FG. The threat of attacks by the militants is coming at a time when Nigeria is grappling with banditry, kidnapping and terrorism in various parts of the country.
A COVID-19 antibodies survey in Nigeria suggests that four million people in Lagos state alone have had the virus – more than has been officially recorded for the whole continent of Africa. The study was done on 10,000 people from four states, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos and Nasarawa, to estimate the extent of coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation. It was conducted before a second wave began in early December. The findings of the seroprevalence survey, carried out in September and October by Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), are staggering. Rates of infection were initially thought to be low during the first wave of the pandemic. “80 to 90% of the population in these four states are still susceptible to the virus which makes the vaccination efforts we are about to start in Nigeria even more important,” said Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the NCDC. Nigeria recorded its highest daily infection rate in January, when it logged 1,600 new cases, suggesting many more people were infected in the second wave. The official figure for Nigeria as of Monday, 22 February 2021 is 153,000 cases with 1,862 deaths.