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Feature: Effects of Boko Haram Weapons Stockpiling on Lake Chad Basin Region

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Lake Chad Basin

The Boko Haram fighters started their attacks on security personnel in the mid-2010 in a hit-and-run version at police checkpoints. They did this on motorcycles, whereby pillion rider would kill officers on duty and made away with their weapons. Today, the terrorist group has metamorphosed from ragtag fighters to one of the world’s deadliest sects. While its regular onslaughts against civilians are worrisome enough, of greater concern is its many successes against the military, especially in recent times. Since its emergence, Boko Haram has constituted a huge terror on the Lake Chad Basin region, comprising Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Its unending attacks on military bases have netted the group cache of arms and ammunition large enough to make leaders in the region shudder and brace up to avert more devastating future events. 

Findings show that “crates and crates” of thousands of weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition” have been lost to the jihadists. In late April, members of Boko Haram and its aligned terrorist organization, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), showed off different types of operational vehicles and armoured tanks stolen from Nigerian soldiers on 25th April in an attack on a Nigerian Army location at 156 Battalion in Mainok area, Borno state. Such display isn’t uncommon, as the militants enjoy exhibiting their purported wins against the military in the decade-long war. In November 2018, ISWAP also boasted about making away with four tanks and other military vehicles. Aside from the displays of weapons, the militants also enjoy releasing videos of human rights abuses of their victims. This sometimes includes beheading or humiliation of their captives in an attempt to mock the governments and militaries in the region.

It is understandable that terrorism is a global phenomenon, and military bases and personnel are usually the main targets for insurgents. However, the frequency and ease with which Boko Haram attack militaries in the Lake Chad basin, especially Nigeria, calls for deep retrospection. While Nigeria has been the worst hit, the three other countries have also had their fair share of onslaughts. An ongoing review on more than 100 attacks on armed forces personnel between 2015 and 2020 shows that “Boko Haram fighters have overrun fixed sites of companies and battalions in all four countries.”

At every successful attack on military locations, the extremists become richer in arms and ammunition, which they then use to terrorize communities in the region. Given Boko Haram’s insatiable quest to inflate its successes, the governments’ efforts at downplaying the conflicts and the media’s focus being more on humanitarian issues emanating from the war, it is difficult to ascertain the true scale of weapons in the terrorist’s camp. However, what is certain is that from its attacks on military locations, Boko Haram has acquired thousands of assorted firearms and rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, and hundreds of military vehicles, including armoured tanks and self-propelled artillery Council on Foreign Relations stated. It has also seized petrol, uniforms, communication gear, and other non-lethal materiels in a sizable scale.

The stolen weapons have kept the group in business and pose a great threat to the Lake Chad region and the entire continent, which already grapples with high humanitarian crises. In 2021 alone, Boko Haram and its allies have killed hundreds of soldiers and officers in Nigeria. In the Mainok attack in April, over 30 soldiers were reportedly killed by the group. In March, at least 33 soldiers were killed in Wulgo when two explosive-laden vehicles rammed into a military convoy. In February, the Nigerian army also lost about 20 soldiers to Boko Haram at Malari, Borno State. The downsides of these incessant onslaughts on the armed forces include low morale, mutiny and desertion from war fronts. The development has affected the once healthy civil-military relations drastically. The military appears to be helpless, and the masses gradually lose their trust in the military.

Apart from the effects on the military, other sectors are also impacted severely. The militants have overrun and grounded socio-economic activities in many communities. Farming, which is the most popular business in many of these places, has also been grounded due to incessant attacks on farmlands. In late 2020, scores of farmers were rounded up on their farms and gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram. The kidnapping of schoolchildren for ransom is another regular event in those communities.  To date, the group has killed more than 36,000 people and displaced millions. It has contributed significantly to the refugee crisis in the region and the continent. The four countries are homes to over 300,000 refugees, most of whom fled terrorist attacks. The region also has more than 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). This includes 2.9 million persons in north-eastern Nigeria and more than 684,000 persons in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Unfortunately, the militants still attack their victims in various IDP and refugee camps. In 2020, a deadly terrorist attack was recorded at a western Niger refugee camp. Also, many IDPs in Nigeria have also been struck, resulting in killings and abductions of the already downtrodden people.

The crisis has also exacerbated the hunger problem in the region. According to the UN, around 12.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 5.3 million being food insecure. Children suffer some of the greatest tolls, making them highly disadvantaged academically, financially and in various other aspects. 1.5 million Children in Lake Chad are internally displaced or refugees. Over 400,000 are affected by school closure as 1,014 schools remain nonoperational, mainly due to violent attacks. And over 420,000 (ages 5 and below) are also at the risk of severe acute malnutrition.

Despite local and international efforts to curb the menace, the conflict and its resultant effects seem to get worse by the day. Many communities that were once calm and peaceful have recently become hotbeds for violence, just as various other armed groups spring up in different locations. Though they operate under different names, such as hoodlums, killer herdsmen, and bandits, their modus operandi is quite similar to Boko Haram’s. This suggests that the Boko Haram group has infiltrated many places unknowingly under different guises. A few weeks back, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State confirmed the active presence of the sect in his domain after 50 communities were seized in the north-central state. North-western states such as Zamfara and Katsina have also recorded various Boko Haram attacks in recent time. This shows that the jihadist sect has spread into all three northern Nigerian regions, compared to its early days when it was only active in the northeast.

While the current events are devastatingly worrisome, there could be much more damning long-term effects if the situation continues unchecked. Nigeria recently became third in the global terrorism index, and most of the conflicts responsible for this are caused by Boko Haram. It is an indication that insecurity in the country has gone from bad to worse, and the bad boys are gaining far too much ground. The recent situation calls for concerted efforts by military and political leaders in the Lake Chad region. Boko Haram and its allies must be stopped for the region to have lasting peace, and stopping the monsters’ sources of arms should be considered a topmost priority.

Olusegun Akinfenwa is a correspondent for Immigration News, a news organization affiliated with Immigration Advice Service (IAS). IAS is a leading U.K. immigration law firm that helps people immigrate and settle in the U.K

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Incredible Zigi and BTL Africa Set To Launch Maiden Edition Of Afrozig Dance Fiesta

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Grab your dancing shoes and get ready to be thrilled, as all is set for the world to witness the first of its kind dance festival in Ghana; Afrozig Dance Fiesta, a breathtaking dance event founded and created by multiple award-winning Dance sensation and Choreographer, Incredible Zigi.

To be held at the UPSA Auditorium on Saturday June 11, 2022 this maiden edition of Afrozig Dance Fiesta seeks to celebrate dance in Ghana and provide a platform where dancers can always look forward to expressing themselves through their craft.

Dance is evolving globally and the fraternity in Ghana is growing strongly due to its important role within the creative arts industry. Afrozig Dance Fiesta is an all-inclusive dance concert to be held annually and it shall feature communities / dance groups and individual dancers in the country.

As part of the fiesta, a section has been created themed “The Diva Dance Competition”. Its purpose will be to unearth a female dancer that would be groomed for a year by Incredible Zigi and enrolled on Afrozig Dance Movement. This is to encourage more female dancers and recruit them into the Ghanaian dance scene. This shall be judged by former world dancing champion Adjetey Sowah, legendary highlife singer and dancer Akosua Agyapong.

According to Incredible Zigi, the goal of Afrozig Dance Fiesta is to provide a platform where dancers will be groomed and held under a big umbrella where they can thrive. It will also serve as an avenue to offer huge inspiration and nurture upcoming dancers and empower existing ones.

There shall also be a Masterclass during the dance fiesta where these dancers shall be taken through branding, staying relevant and monetization of the dance craft among others with Adjetey Sowah and Akosua Agyapong leading the session.

The power-packed event will see performances from various dance icons including revered pioneers, who will provide support and direction. There will be a mix of musical performances from your favorite musicians such as Joey B, Medikal, Sefa, Kelvynbwoy, among others.

Afrozig Dance Fiesta is in partnership with BTL Africa and proudly sponsored by Guinness – Black Shines Brightest with support from Belaqua and Abrantie the gentleman and MX24 as the official media partner.

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Snoop Dogg and Steve Aoki Present New Group Alpha Doggz, Debut Collab EP ‘Da Da’

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West Coast rap legend Snoop Dogg and EDM pioneer Steve Aoki have teamed up to create a new duo Alpha Doggz and are announcing their debut EP titled ‘Da Da.’ The project is slated for release on May 23 exclusively on blockchain-based Gala Music and in partnership with seminal hip hop label Death Row Records.

 

Available today, Gala Music x Snoop Stash Box holders and the A0K1VERSE will each receive their own exclusive free song from the heavyweight duo–“Super Freak” ft. October London and “Holy Grail,” respectively. This coming Monday, May 23, the final three tracks from the EP will be available to the public: “Da Da,” “Girls” and “How I Do It.”

 

Each track off the new EP features the rap and EDM luminaries at their creative best; “Da Da” and “Holy Grail” are classic Steve Aoki club bangers, while “Girls” and “How I Do It” evoke Snoop’s unmistakable laid back groove. On “Super Freak,” old-soul singer/songwriter October London adds an intriguing jazzy layer to Alpha Doggz’ electric sound. Overall, Alpha Doggz represents the perfect marriage between Snoop Dogg and Aoki’s distinctive and addictive MOs.

 

This genre-spanning project is the first of many for Gala Music, which officially launched in February 2022. Gala has already partnered with internationally recognized artists across genres, including Snoop Dogg, Steve Aoki and Kings of Leon, to bolster new music releases and decentralize the world of music streaming.

 

In February, Snoop Dogg made headlines after acquiring Death Row Records and its catalog. During a Gala Music-hosted AMA with Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg remarked that Gala Music will be the exclusive place that Death Row lives in the Metaverse.

 

We plan on giving people access to buying and trading some of these classic songs, classic records that were the foundation of Death Row,” Snoop Dogg said during the AMA. “We [also] plan on bringing great music and great artists [to the label]. This is what Death Row is all about, trying to expand and take it to new regions.”

 

This upcoming NFT EP drop furthers both Aoki and Snoop Dogg’s ambition to leverage the Metaverse and spark a revolution in the music business by transferring power back to artists and away from traditional labels. For Gala Music, this release is an exciting step towards bringing decentralized music to the masses, providing the opportunity to expand the company’s reach across different genres by bringing these two major artists and Web3 pioneers together.

 

Full ‘Alpha Doggz’ track list:

  1. Holy Grail
  2. Da Da
  3. Girls
  4. How I Do This
  5. Super Freak ft. October London

 

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Coded blames 4×4 breakup on pressure from Shatta Wale to release hit songs

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Member of defunct 4×4 music group, Coded has finally revealed the reason why they decided to go their separate ways.

According to Coded, the group decided to go solo at the time where Shatta Wale was putting every artiste in the country on their toes.

Coded states that the pressure from Shatta Wale to release hit song after hit song prompted the group to go solo so they can match up to the “Dancehall King.”

“I think it would basically be the fact that was the era where a lot of singles were coming from Shatta Wale…that was the era where he was releasing countless hit records, like he would release a song today, give it max two weeks, he would release another song. So, that was putting a lot of musicians on their toes. You’re working but you are not working enough. You need to work harder, meet up to that level. And its good when it’s healthy competition so we decided that we need to do our solo projects so when we add it to the group projects,” he revealed in a recent interview.

4×4, the three man group — made up of Captain Planet, Fresh Prince and Coded — have been releasing only solo projects the past couple years.

Coded had stated in previous interviews that the decision to go solo was done collectively by the group after Fresh Prince brought the idea but at the time he wasn’t on board with it.

Although the group has not released any projects together and have fueled break up rumors, the leader of the group, Captain Planet insists they have not broken up.

“I am not happy myself hearing and reading comments from social media that we have broken up. I know that our fans expect us to be everywhere like we used to be but in life when you keep doing the same things over and over again, people become fed-up with you,” he told Graphic Showbiz in 2017.

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Captain Planet rubbishes Coded’s claims over why 4×4 went solo

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Member of defunct 4×4 music group, Captain Planet has rubbished claims by former group member, Coded that the reason they went solo was because of Shatta Wale.

Earlier today, Coded had revealed in an interview that the reason the group decided to go solo was because of pressure from Shatta Wale to release hit songs.

“I think it would basically be the fact that was the era where a lot of singles were coming from Shatta Wale…that was the era where he was releasing countless hit records, like he would release a song today, give it max two weeks, he would release another song. So, that was putting a lot of musicians on their toes. You’re working but you are not working enough. You need to work harder, meet up to that level. And its good when it’s healthy competition so we decided that we need to do our solo projects so when we add it to the group projects,”Coded revealed in the interview.

The interview has since gone viral and captured a lot of reactions. However, Captain Planet has shut down Coded’s claims stating that he does not know where they are coming from.

“Stop that rubbish it’s never true. I dnt know exactly what coded was trying to explain. May be he was talking for himself the reason he started doing his solo project . I showed the video to fresh prince this morning he was even laughing his lungs out,” Captain Planet reacted on Twitter.

See screenshot of his tweet below;

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“Pepper Dem Ministries” welcomes Nana Aba Anamoah to the “bitter side” over recent comments

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Some members of popular feminist group in Ghana, “Pepper Dem Ministries”, have called out ace-broadcaster Nana Aba Anamoah over recent comments she made about taking up traditional roles at home. (more…)

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Watch: Aisha Modi show of her post-surgery banging body on social media

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Aisha Modi has returned to social media by showing off her newly acquired body. (more…)

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