It was about 8:30 am on a humid Monday in Damask, Borno State, and driver Hassan Bukkar was getting set for the day's business when he heard loud gunshots from the east. With elections less than 24 hours away, the government appears to be racing against time to prove it has the capacity to deal with the intractable insecurity situation that has plagued the northeast, in order to get Nigerians to vote it back to power.
Although the military has the town surrounded, and would have started the operation since last night, troops have been instructed by the GOC in Ilorin to wait, for fear that the terrorists may use the abducted girls as human shields.
Jonathan, who gave this assurance when he received four International Election Monitoring Groups, said already the Nigeria soldiers had successfully liberated Adamawa and Yobe from the menace of insurgency.
The forum however said the 10 days given to the committee to carry out the assessment for possible reconstruction is hasty and unrealistic. A statement signed by Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, the chairman of the forum, said they had consistently advocated for a marshal plan for the ravaged communities and thanked the federal government for responding to the call.
The Shehu of Borno Alhaji (Dr.) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin El-Kanemi, yesterday urged politicians seeking political offices to take the outcome of tomorrow's elections and subsequent ones in good faith. A statement issued by the secretary of the Borno Emirate Council, Alhaji Zanna Laisu, said the Shehu also appealed to all politicians irrespective of their political inclinations to preach peace and eschew all forms of bitterness and consider the unity, peace and progress of the entire nation as paramount and cannot be compromise for any political or selfish gains.
"By heeding to our submission which we have consistently advocated since last week, the Federal Government has proved be a listening one and this is highly commendable. We understand that the chairman of the Presidential Initiatives for North -East, PINE, Prof. Soji Adelaja inaugurated the committee on Tuesdayin Abuja with terms of reference that includes assessing status and conditions of liberated communities, with a view to determining the ones that are ready for occupation while it is also to determine, in conjunction with other relevant agencies, the immediate needs of the returnees and to recommend and implement modalities of how refugees can return to their communities after reconstruction works, among others."
An estimated 80 percent of eligible voters in Borno State have collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.
Making this call on Thursday was the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, who also called for efforts to ensuring the success of the polls. Advising the youth as generation of future leaders of the country not to allow themselves to be used as political tools to create havoc or destruction, the monarch Called for prayers for peace in the State and Nigeria.
Therefore, the APC has called on security agencies to be on red alert and place Sheriff under close watch as any violence in Maiduguri should be blamed on him.
A reliable source in the military told our correspondent on Thursday that the attack helicopters and the fighter jets departed Yola, Adamawa State, at about 3pm, heading for Gwoza, the last town in Borno State under the control of terror sect.
A coordinated attack is set to be carried out by the military to liberate Gwoza, Borno State, from Boko Haram captivity as the defence authorities have deployed four attack helicopters and two air force fighter jets to flush out the terrorists... A Somali businessman is betting on a biometric fingerprint system to keep alive vital money transfer firms which face closure after Western banks cut ties due to fears remittance cash may be channelled to militant groups.
The story was part of Al Jazeera's special coverage on the Nigerian elections. An Al Jazeera spokesperson said: "We call on the Nigerian authorities to release Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa; they have all the relevant paperwork to report on the Nigerian elections and stories related to the election. Both men had just finished filming a story on the military with their cooperation. They were not 'loitering', but were in the hotel room and had only passed through the restricted areas of Yobe and Borno State to get to Maiduguri."