NEWS

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The allegation by Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis that former Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika is one of the front line sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents group may have drawn the attention of the United States Government.

Abusidiqu have learnt that the United States is insisting that the former army top gun be probed for alleged diversion of funds meant for the procurement of weapons and other warfare equipment meant for the army.

There have been pockets of grumbling amongst the army rank and file over obsolete and sometimes lack of top shelf weapons. This boiled over when some soldiers mutinied against a General. Those soldiers were court martialed and sentenced to death.

The lack of weapons and other military welfare have been sighted as the inability of the army to properly prosecute the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents who until recent times have escalated their violence campaign against the Nigerian state.

Sources hinted that Ihejirika who arguably one of the wealthiest retired Generals allegedly pocketed billions of naira meant for the Army. He is now the front-runner for the Abia state Gover?norship seat where a large part of the fund he allegedly embezzled would be channeled to.

A source said the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle raised the issue of Ihejirika facing probe when he met recently with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.

Ambassador Entwisle at the meeting at the Presidential Villa, said the U.S is particularly concerned about the sudden riches of Ihejirika.

The US Ambassador told Jonathan that the Americans who were in Nigeria to assist in the fight against insurgents were shocked to find out that what was on ground did not match the
billions allocated under Ihejirika’s watch.

In 2012 alone the defence budget for capital expenditure was N34.36 Billion? with a whooping N5.71 Billion earmarked for the acquisition of equipment by the Army.

U.S President Barack Obama or the Secretary of state, John Kerry is expected to discuss the issue with Jonathan at some close sessions during the United Nations General Assembly.

The alleged rot and high level corruption in the military, sources said, has affected the morale of the Americans who here as technical partners and advisers.

Entwistle, it was learnt told Jonathan, every top military officer should be held accountable if he wants the US to be part of the fight against insurgents.

It was also gathered that the high level corruption, contract inflation and purchase of obsolete equipment and arms cut across the three services.

This rot made Defence minister General Aliyu Gusau to insist that every contract or procurement must pass through his office. Curiously, this move did not go down well with the service chiefs who had hitherto enjoyed autonomy.

Said our source ” the Americans want Ihejirika and his cohort probed. They are insisting that the Government must hold thieving Generals accountable if Nigeria wants them to be part of the fight against Boko Haram”

“The Ambassador expressed his nations unhappiness with what Ihejirika did with the billions allocated to the Army. They are insisting he be probed.

We all know he is one of the riche retired Generals? around. He made billions that is why he wants to be Abia Governor,” said our source

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Governor Willie Obiano’s pursuit of excellence in Anambra State has continued to resound across the world as the investment community recently responded to his economic programmes by investing a whopping $382.3m (N62bn) into various strategic economic segments in the state.

Out of this sum, a total of $220m was signed in at the weekend when two major investors decided to swoop on the agricultural and tourism sectors of the state. The companies are Joseph Agro Ltd which pumped in the sum of $150m into the Omor Rice Mill project in Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state and Cardinal Developers Trust Ltd which is investing the sum of $70m in a four-star hotel project in Onitsha respectively.

Joseph Agro Limited, a subsidiary of Bravura, one of Nigeria’s major energy firms and its technical partner, REI Agro Commodities, the world’s leading rice producer has by this agreement taken over the Omor Rice Mill with its 10,000 hectares of virgin land and the 3,850 hectare Lower Anambra Irrigation Project.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony in Awka at the weekend, the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano explained that Joseph Agro Ltd would produce 120,000 metric tonnes of rice paddies per year in its first phase, pointing out that in addition to the output of Coched Farms, the project would completely eliminate the state’s rice supply deficit by 99%.

Said he; “Joseph Agro Ltd will help expand our scope in the agricultural sector. When fully operational, it will put 10,000 people in direct employment and about 25,000 in indirect employment. At the same time it will lead to the development of human and technical capacity to enhance local rice production as well as boost the growth in our internally generated revenue,”

Like Joseph Agro Ltd, Cardinal Developers & Trust Limited is also taking over the completion of Anambra’s 4-Star luxury hotel in Onitsha, which will be managed by Radisson Blu on completion. Cardinal Developers & Trust Ltd is expected to build a 2,000 capacity conference center in Onitsha and construct 161 units of luxury apartments, flats and terrace houses in Onitsha.

Offering insight into the nature and benefits of the agreement with Cardinal Developers & Trust Ltd, Governor Obiano explained that “the project is expected to form a part of the Onitsha Entertainment Hub which has a world class shopping mall currently under construction and is financed by Africa Capital Alliance. This project will generate 400 direct jobs and 2000 indirect jobs.”

According to him, on completion, the hotel is expected to attract discerning clientele and stimulate a new culture and lifestyle in Onitsha that has not been in existence all these years in addition to catalyzing the interest of investors in Onitsha which is in line with the state government’s on-going urban renewal efforts in the major cities.

Also speaking at the MoU signing, the Managing Director, Mr. Joe Billy Ekwunife explained that the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) through which the investments found their way into the state had received 112 presentations and proposals from prospective investors and service providers in the last four months.

Said he; “These investors and proposals are put through a generic assessment and viability exercise which evaluates the investor’s credibility and competence, financial capacity and timeframe of investment, among other criteria. At this moment seven (7) proposed investments have been identified as suitable, credible and value-creating for the indigenes of Anambra State. It is worthy of note that the generic assessment and risk analysis exercise has been carried out.”

ANSIPPA estimates that by the end of December this year, Anambra would be $1.5bn richer in investments arising from another five MoUs that are in line to be signed.

Anambra State is fast becoming an investors’ haven of sorts since the Obiano administration tightened the noose on crime and insecurity in the state

Already, one of the investors, Coched Farms Project, a subsidiary of the Coscharis Group has set up an office along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, hired some workers and mobilized to its farm settlement in Anaku.

On its own part, the state government has moved in to build the capacity that would support the impending agricultural revolution, successfully midwifing the formation of 1,874 cooperative societies that will catalyze the revolution. The members of these cooperatives will be trained and prepared in modern technics of mechanized farming.

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Two lawyers and a human rights activist have asked Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to restrain the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from fielding President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo as presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the forthcoming 2015 presidential election.

The plaintiffs, Mase Daphine Acho, Saeeq Umar Sarki (both lawyers) and Murtala Abubakar, said that Jonathan and Sambo were ineligible to be elected president and vice-president respectively.

The suit was filed Friday at the Federal High Court Abuja, barely a day after the PDP endorsed Jonathan as its sole candidate for the election.

They want the court to determine whether the first oath of office taken by Jonathan and Sambo on May 6 and 19, 2010 respectively, by virtue of section 146 of Constitution of the 1999 (As amended), should be taken into cognisance in determining the number of years that they have spent in offices for purpose of determining their eligibility to contest for another term of four  years.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, Mustapha Ibrahim, Mr. Abdul Mohammed and Aliyu Lemu, argued that by virtue of the Supreme Court’s decision in Marwa vs Nyako (2012) 6 NWLR (Part 1296) at 199, both Jonathan and Sambo are not qualified to be elected as president and vice-president respectively.

According to them, Jonathan and Sambo are caught by the provisions of the constitution, which state that no person can stay in office of the president and vice-president for a period beyond a period of eight years.

They said: “The current holders of the offices of the president and the vice-president, at the expiration of their current terms in office would have held their respective office for a period of five years.

They stated that Jonathan and Sambo had held office for two terms recognised by the 1999 Constitution to wit: (i) the first term was held to conclude the un-expired term of the late president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua between May 6, 2010 to  May 29, 2011; (ii) the second term is still being served from May  29, 2011 to  May 29, 2015.

The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Jonathan and Sambo do not have the capacity to serve as president and vice-president respectively for another term of four years after the completion of their current terms  in office in view of the combined effect of the provisions of sections 135(2) (a) and 137(b) of the constitution.

They further asked the court to declare that Jonathan and Sambo having already spent five years in office as president and vice-president respectively are not eligible to contest for the office of president and vice-president for another term of four years thereby amounting to a contravention of the combined provisions of sections 135(2) (a) and 137(b) of the Constitution.
Other reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are: A declaration that the first oath of office subscribed to by Jonathan on May 6, 2010, being the oath of office administered to him to occupy the office of president for the purpose of completing the un-expired term of office of the late President (Umar Musa) Yar’Adua must be taken into cognisance in computing the number of years that he has served and can serve as president, in determining the effect of the combined provisions of sections 135(2) (a) and 137(1)(b) of the Constitution.

An order of the court restraining INEC from recognising Jonathan and Sambo as presidential and vice presidential candidates of the PDP or any other political party for the 2015 presidential elections.

The plaintiffs claimed that allowing Jonathan and Sambo to contest in the 2015 elections would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution, which they swore to uphold.

They said that the intervention of the court was required for an interpretation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

According to them, it will be a colossal waste of resources to allow Jonathan and Sambo to run even when they were ineligible to contest.
The defendants are yet to file their defence to the suit.

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April 14: The Government Girls Secondary School in the village of Chibok reopened for exams.  Armed men in Nigerian military uniform stormed into the school at night, telling the girls they would take them to safety.  The students soon realized the men were not real soldiers; they were actually from Boko Haram, a terrorist group based in northeastern of Nigeria whose name figuratively means “Western education is a sin”.

April 16: The government of Borno state announce a reward of $300,000 for information leading to the rescue of the school girls. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan calls a National Security Council meeting in Abuja to review security measures to determine the best way forward. The Nigerian military issued a statement that almost all of the girls had been freed. The next day, the military retracted their claim.

April 24: Parents of the missing girls and other Nigerians take to social media to call the attention of the international community to their plight and to put pressure on the Nigerian government to take action. Ibrahim M. Abdullahi, a lawyer in Abuja, sends the first tweet using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

April 30: The “Million-Woman March, held in Abuja, gathers about 500 people who were mostly women dressed in red. They marched to the National Assembly and delivered a letter,  complaining that the government was not doing enough to ensure the release of the girls.

May 2: President Goodluck Jonathan announces a “fact-finding committee” to help in the search of the girls. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Washington “will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice. That is our responsibility and the world’s responsibility.”

May 5: In a video statement, Boko Haram leader acknowledges that his group was responsible for the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. He declares the students “will remain slaves with us”. The White House confirms that the United States is helping Nigeria in the quest to find and free the abducted schoolgirls.  There is some speculation that the girls may have been moved into nearby countries.

May 7: Boko Haram attacks the Nigerian village of Gamboru Ngala on the border with Cameroon. Over 300 people are killed in the attack. In Paris, French president François Hollande offers Nigeria a “special team” to look for the girls and Britain says it will send a team of experts to Nigeria to help with the crisis. China’s Premier Li Keqiang, on a visit to Abuja, promises that his country will make any useful information acquired by its satellites and intelligence services available to Nigeria’s security agencies.

May 12: In a new Boko Haram video, the leader of the group Abubakar Shekau claims to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls. The girls say they have converted to Islam and the terrorist group declares they will release the schoolgirls in exchange for all imprisoned militants.

May 17: United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, President Goodluck Jonathan and French President, François Hollande are among attendees of a summit in Paris on the growing threat of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. William Hague offered Nigeria assistance in the form of military advisors, but has insisted that the country must take its security responsibility seriously in the face of ongoing attacks from Boko Haram.

May 21: Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US Professor Ade Adefuye responds to disparaging remarks made by Senator McCain at a meeting in Washington DC. He said the Nigerian government was doing everything possible to secure the safe release of the Girls and assured that #our girls will be back.

May 27: The military says it knows where the girls abducted by Boko Haram are, but ruled out using force to rescue them.  Nigeria’s president was sent a new video of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in which they plead with him to spare their lives through a prisoner swap. The Nigerian government has denied that any deal was on the table, and has so far neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the video.

July 12: Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai visits Abuja and meets, first with five of the girls who escaped (July 13), and then with the President (July 14).

July 15: Jonathan’s planned meeting fails to hold as the parents reportedly cancel it the very last moment. Goodluck Jonathan blames #BringBackOurGirls campaigners for whisking away the parents who were to visit him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

July 16: Parents explain that they did not shun the meeting with President intentionally, but were unaware of it saying they received the invitation already on the day of the visit scheduled by Jonathan.

July 17: Presidency sends another letter to the girls’ parents and the event gets rescheduled to the next week.

July 22: Jonathan meets with the parents of the Chibok girls at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Culled from The Nation

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By David Olanrewaju

The office of the Auditor General of the Federation has dissociated itself from media reports alleging that his report indicted Nigeria’s former head of Service, Mr. Steve Oronsaye in a 123billion Naira fraud.

In a full page disclaimer published on page 28 (ii) of ThisDay; page 51 of The Nation; page 60 of Daily Sun and page 14 of Daily Trust Newspapers of Friday (today), the Auditor General frowned at what he described as malicious and character assassinating publications against the former Head of Service.

“With rude shock and disbelief, our attention was drawn to an online publication by Premium Times of September 15, 2014, with the misleading caption: “Investigation: Auditor General’s Report indicts Ex-Head of Service, Oronsaye, for N123 Billion Fraud”.

“Paragraph 5 of the said publication alleged that the Auditor-General submitted an audit report, which indicted an ex-Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, for N123 Billion fraud, to the government in 2012, without corresponding action from the Government.”

“A similar story was also published on page 12 of ThisDay Newspaper of Tuesday, September 16, 2014 and on Page 5 of Daily Trust newspaper of Wednesday, September 17, 2014.”

“These publications, in all ramifications are an embodiment of mischief and misrepresentation of facts of the matter”

“In the light of this ugly development, the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation totally and vehemently dissociates itself from the malicious and character assassinating publications by Premium Times, ThisDay Newspaper and Daily Trust Newspaper and also condemns its intention,” the disclaimer reads in part.

Efforts to reach Mr. Oronsaye for comments on his next line of action for the malicious publication proved abortive, as his lines could not be reached.

Sources close to the former Head of Service however revealed that he may be considering dragging the affected newspapers to Court for a multi-billion Naira suit.

Further investigations revealed that the malicious publication may have been sponsored by those opposed to the Bill for the establishment of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Center being supported by the former Head of Service, in his capacity as Chairman, Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force.

Available information show that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC is the only agency opposed to the Bill, out of over twenty stakeholders.

EFCC sees the NFIC Bill as offensive, as its success amounts to her losing control of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, which is its highest source of foreign donor support.

All other stakeholders are in total support of an independent Financial Intelligence Center for Nigeria.

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For the past few months, Nigerians have been inundated with reports that the Nigerian Government and the Boko Haram sect have reached agreement to swap the 219 Chibok girls kidnapped in April with some members of the Boko Haram sect imprisoned by the govt, but none of it has come to pass.

While there are evidences that there were actually negotiations from the two parties, the agreements have failed due largely to the lack of trust between them.

The closest the government has gone to releasing the Chibok girls was sometimes in May when President Jonathan reportedly Canceled last minute deal to free the girls.

Latest development however suggest that Boko Haram has agreed to release the abducted 219 Chibok girls if the Federal Government will simultaneously set free its 18 key commanders.

The decision of the sect was said to have been reached after much persuasions from intermediaries between them and the govt.

The Nation reports that the two parties have asked their representatives to go back to their leaders on the new swap deal proposal.

Prior to the latest agreement at the talks in Abuja, which was witnessed by some officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), Boko Haram had insisted on a piecemeal release of the girls, with priority given to 30 married Christians among them.

The Federal Government also offered to release six of the 18 sect leaders in detention.

The two sides maintained a parallel stand until they met again in Abuja at a session facilitated by the President, Civil Rights Congress (CRC),  Comrade Shehu Sani.

The sect said if the government attempted to secure the girls by force, it might lead to fatalities.

At the meeting, Boko Haram also maintained that it had the capacity to “engage the Federal Government for 45 years”.

It said the outcome of the talks would determine the end of the insurgency.

Some of those at the talks gave insights into the new dimension to the moves to free the Chibok girls, who were abducted from their hostel on April 15.

It was gathered that the session was attended by ICRC officials.

One of those who attended  said: “The sect shifted its position and agreed to release all the girls instead of 30 Christian married girls it had promised. But Boko Haram said it does not trust the government going by previous experience.

“If the government had respected previous talks, the Chibok girls were initially meant to be off the hook during the Eid-el Fitr festival. Again about two weeks ago, a delegation was already in Maiduguri until the swap deal was bungled.

“Some security agents only advised on the release of six out of the 18 leaders of the sect. They rated the rest 12 as dangerous.

“When the insurgents found out, they backtracked and demanded the release of the 18 leaders. The development paved the way for the latest talks in Abuja which involved the ICRC.”

“By the new arrangement, ICRC will pick up the girls and simultaneously hand over the detained 18 leaders to Boko Haram.

“The government also said it would not free the detained leaders of Boko Haram until all the girls were released.

Asked what was eventually agreed upon, another source at the session said: “We generally agreed that all the parties should go back to their leaders on the agreement reached. The government said no to piecemeal release of the girls and Boko Haram claimed that it will not have any business with the government until all the 18 leaders of the sect are freed.

“After the Eid-el-Kabir festival, the two parties will meet again on the terms to finalise the agreement or part ways.

“Before the meeting rose, Boko Haram representatives warned against the use of force to liberate the girls. It also made it clear that it had the “capacity to take on the Federal Government for the next 45 years.”

Responding to a question on whether the sect will end the insurgency or not, another source said: “The delegation from Boko Haram said the outcome of the latest round of talks will determine whether they should ceasefire or not.”

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By PR Nigeria

Nigerian troops might have scored a strategic victory in the current battle against terrorists operating in the North East on September 17. During a desperate attempt to capture Konduga in their delusion to eventually marching on and capturing Maiduguri, the man who had been mimicking Late Abubakar Shekau in recent videos might have been finally killed.

According to senior military and intelligence sources, “it is getting more certain that the terrorists’ commander who has been mimicking Shekau in those videos is the one killed in Konduga on September 17, 2014.”

READ: Nigerian Security Probing Possible Death of Boko Haram’s Shekau During Konduga Battle

The PRNigeria sources said the suspected demise of the Boko Haram leader is responsible for the scattering of the sect members in different independent locations in the neighbouring countries, especially in Cameroon noticed in recent days.

The security sources did not deny the suspicion but cautioned that “the process of confirming that the dead body we have is the same as that character who has been posing as Shekau is ongoing. He is definitely a prominent terrorist commander. I don’t want to say anything about this yet please.”

same-guyAnother high ranking military source insisted that the resemblance is too striking to be a coincidence. They cited his facial marks, beards and teeth apart from the recovery by the Nigerian troops of some of the Armoured Vehicles and Hilux jeeps that had featured in previous videos of the prime suspect.

The officers assured that the Defence Headquarters will soon address the nation after full investigation of their latest discovery.

Image of terrorist killed in Konduga battle. No confirmation if this is Shekau II
Image of terrorist killed in Konduga battle. No confirmation if this is Shekau II

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Abusidiqu has reported on Saturday that a Nigerian journalist, Fejiro Oliver, who recently took up appointment as the Managing Director of an online news medium, Daily Voice NG is missing after honouring an appointment with officials of the Niger State government. [See: Journalist Fejiro Oliver Declared Missing!, Niger State Govt Fingered ]

More than 24 hours after our report, the family of the missing Journalist confirmed that they have been unable to speak to their son and declared that officials of Niger State government might be behind his kidnap.

According to Mr. Ejiro’s wife, she last spoke with her husband on Friday while he was in Abuja to honour an appointment at the instance of Mr. Ndako.

Speaking to Premium Times over the telephone on Sunday, Mrs. Oliver said, “We were together when he received a call and he told me that the SSG of Niger state insisted that he should go over to Minna so that they can meet.”

She said her husband insisted that he would not go to Minna, but would meet with the SSG and Mr. Ebije in Abuja “for security reasons”.

Also speaking, the father of the missing journalist, Godwin Oliver, said his son has been missing since Friday after travelling to Abuja to meet with the Niger officials.

“We have been trying to reach him but he has not been picking his calls. After sometime, the calls are either rejected or the phones are switched off and then put on back after sometime,” he said.

The senior Oliver said he planned to “go to all relevant security agencies by tomorrow (Monday) to report the matter since today is Sunday”.

Mr. Oliver who was said to be working on a story on the activities of the Niger State government had called

called Israel Ebije, the spokesperson to Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger, to seek the governor’s version of events in the story.

Mr. Ebije reportedly referred him to the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alhaji Saidu Idris Ndako Kpaki. Mr Ndako has however not responded to inquiry from both Abusidiqu since Saturday and the one made by Premium Times on Sunday.

According to Premium Times, he did not answer calls to his two mobile telephone lines. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.

In his version of events, Mr. Ebije said that Mr. Oliver had contacted him regarding a story he was working on.

He however denied threatening Mr. Oliver, but, rather “advised him to come to Minna and see for himself if the allegations against the governor are true or not.

“In Niger state everything is done transparently and we have nothing to hide. The documents he is claiming to have are executive council decisions which were obviously given to him by an aggrieved official who has been relieved of his appointment,” the spokesperson said.

Mr. Ebije said he was in Abuja for an official function and “cannot confirm if he (Mr. Oliver) is with our people or not until probably tomorrow (Monday).

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Assorted arms surrendered by Boko Haram terrorists in Konduga. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria

SR-Following relentless onslaught by troops, many members of the Boko Haram terrorists group are beginning to surrender voluntarily. Some of them submitted themselves and their weapons to the leadership of the troops in Konduga during a further campaign at the weekend.

The Defence Headquarters has tweeted that “as the heat on the terrorists continues, five terrorists surrendered on Saturday (September 20, 2014) with all their weapons to troops at Konduga, pleading for mercy.”

Other captured terrorists who refused to surrender have also been giving useful information on the subsequent plans of the group in an apparent offer to cooperate.

In the last few days there have been several attempts by terrorists desperate to gain entry to Konduga, which the Nigerian troops, have continued to foil.

The PRNigeria gathered that the terrorists’ move was aimed at recovering the bodies of their prominent fighters who had died in the previous encounters in the area.

Meanwhile the Nigerian troops have recovered more weapons during the mopped up operations while some of their (terrorists’) vehicles have been destroyed.

See attached some of the recent pictures from military operations.Arms surrendered by Boko Haram terrorists in Konduga.

One of the terrorists vehicle captured by troops. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria
One of the terrorists vehicle captured by troops. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria
Residents of Konduga cheering the troops. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria
Residents of Konduga cheering the troops. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria
Some of the terrorists vehicles destroyed in Konduga recently. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria
Some of the terrorists vehicles destroyed in Konduga recently. Photo Credit: PR Nigeria

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