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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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You asked for the country to be fixed and it is being fixed- Prince David Osei reacts to Shatta/Medikal arrests

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Ghanaian actor Prince David Osei has opined that the current arrests of Shatta Wale and Medikal are true examples of the country being fixed.

Earlier on in the year, there were several social media protests led by Efia Odo and others asking the government of the day to fix the country.

While the protest has gone silent over the last couple months, the current actions by the new IGP has Prince David Osei agreeing that indeed the system was being fixed.

On Tuesday and Thursday night, Shatta Wale and Medikal were both arrested by the Police for committing various crimes.

Reacting to their arrests, Prince David Osei, who is a staunch member of the NPP, on Thursday evening shared on his Instagram stating that Ghanaians asked for the country to be fixed and that’s exactly what they’re getting.

“Did I hear someone say fix the country? Well the power that be heard your plea and is fixing the country. Ghana will prosper. Good night,” he shared.

He added; “In a country where the law works, the people prosper. 24/7 the system is working.”

See screenshot of his post below;

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Medikal arrested for flaunting gun on social media

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medikal

Rapper, Medikal has been arrested for brandishing a gun in a video on social media.

Medikal was with his wife, Fella Makafui, at the Accra Regional Police Command charge office.

He was brought to the station by police and is currently in police custody.

One of the lawyers who represented Shatta Wale, Jerry Avenogbor, was sighted at the police command but it remains unclear if he is going to represent Medikal in this case.

This comes a few hours after dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, and four other people were remanded into police custody following an alleged gun attack that turned out to be a hoax.

They were remanded by an Accra Circuit Court on Thursday, October 21, 2021, during their first appearance in court.

Medikal was at the court premises to offer support to Shatta Wale.

Shatta Wale was picked up by the police for spreading false news about an assassination attempt at his residence in Accra on October 19, 2021.

 

Source: Citinews

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Watch: Medikal reportedly arrested for brandishing a gun in a video on social media

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According to a CITI TV report, Ghanaian rapper, Samuel Adu Frimpong, aka Medikal, has been arrested for brandishing a gun in a video on social media. (more…)

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Full Winners Ghana Events Awards2021: Outstanding stakeholders awarded to boost morale in creative industry

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Full Winners Ghana Events Awards2021

Ghana Events Awards(GEA), a creative industry player has awarded over 20 of its members in the creative art sector to boost their morale and encourage them work assiduously to make the industry a lucrative job for the upcoming artists.

 

The host and co-host, Jay foley and Roselyn Felli both of Joy Prime television at multimedia were very magnificent and hilarious as they are on top of the game throughout the ceremony giving the audience and invited guests the pleasure needed to enjoy the awards night at Movenpic Hotel in Accra.

Also at the 4th GEA night, citations and plaques were presented to winners in various categories like Best MC of the year, Best Disc Jockey (DJ) player of the year, Best Event Planner of the year, Best Event of the year among others.

 

Speaking to journalists, the Chief Executive of GEA, Kelvin Kenneth was delighted and expressed his appreciation to the Board of Directors and all stakeholders who were involved in making the event possible and successful.

 

He explained that the nomination and selection of winners in the various categories is based on lots of considerations from the public, Board members and the economy which includes good lightening system, sound system, stage and the environment in which the event was held or occasioned.

” the public, Board members and other economic issues were considered and other issues factored in during the nomination and selection of Best possible winners in the various categories”, he said.

 

Mr. Kenneth added that his next option is to focus on how to improve and extend the awards ceremony to other African countries, adding that, this will even place Ghana on the limelight and also enhance the creative industry across the African continent.

 

He therefore called for unity among the industry players in the creative arts in order to fight a common course or agenda for the benefit of the upcoming artists.

The founder of Jandel Limited who own the overall Best award in the creative industry, Afia Moro advised her colleagues to have a passionate feeling for the creative art rather than seeking for money, stating that, your passion for the job will let you earn good money at the end.

 

She tasked all stakeholders in the creative art industry to be innovative and creative through learning in order to enable them reinvent new things and bring new ideas to the table which can be a tool to remain in business even in this era of the pandemic.

 

“try to be driven by passion whiles you try to earn good money and also educate yourselve and be in track by using the advance technologies like the internet and social media that will make us in the creative industry be at par with our competitors in the outside world”, she added.

 

She further outlined some challenges like failure to recognize the industry by government, division among members, failure to be paid the right amount among others that are facing the industry and wished they can be addressed as soon as possible to drive them forward.

 

” we lack so many things and when it comes to certain things, government fail to recognize us like the sharing of the stimulus packages during the COVID-19 era, most of our members who also placed in their request were sidelined and never get anything”, she said.

But she was grateful and optimistic that the challenges will be addressed due to government’s establishment of the creative art alongside the tourism sector, adding, we can voice out our grievances at that department to be addressed by the appropriate authorities.

 

Also, the Best Master of Ceremony (MC) winner from multimedia, Andy Dosty appealed to government to include the industry in the distribution of the stimulus package or offer some of the members some loans that will cushion them since the pandemic have already caused a huge damage to the industry and things are difficult for most of the members in the industry in Ghana.

 

He also praised the award planners and stakeholders for making the event successful because according to him, there has been an improvement in this year’s ceremony and very optimistic the previous award ceremonies will be greater.

 

” am considering and wished stakeholders will come together and put their resources together to ensure a massive awards ceremony in the next occasion “, he noted.

 

The winners of the various categories are as follows:

 

REGIONAL EVENT OF THE YEAR- UPPER WEST CREATIVE ART AWARDS

EVENT ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR – DIANA HAMILTON

EVENT OF THE YEAR – EXCLUSIVE MEN OF THE YEAR AFRICA AWARDS

BEST EVENT COMPANY OF THE YEAR – GENET SERVICES

BEST EVENT VENUE OF THE YEAR – ( ACCRA CITY HOTEL)

EVENT INFLUENCER OF THE YEAR (BLOGGER) – RONNIE IS EVERYWHERE

BEST EVENT SECURITY OF THE YEAR – ASUAVO SECURITY

GHANA’S FAVORITE EVENT – 3MUSIC AWARDS

EVENT MC OF THE YEAR (FEMALE)- MZGEE

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR – MANUEL PHOTOGRAPHY

CSR EVENT OF THE YEAR- MASK4ALL CHARITY CONCERT

EVENT MC OF THE YEAR (MALE) – NATHANIEL ATTOH

EVENT DJ OF THE YEAR – DJ VYRUSKY

YOUTH EVENT OF THE YEAR – GHANA TERTIARY AWARDS

MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT OF THE YEAR- RHYTHMS ON DA RUNWAY

MOST INFLUENTIAL EVENT OF THE YEAR- GHANA OUTSTANDING WOMEN AWARDS

BEST VIRTUAL EVENT OF THE YEAR – EXCLUSIVE MEN OF THE AFRICA AWARDS

BEST EVENT SETUP OF THE YEAR – VODAFONE GHANA MUSIC AWARDS.

BEST EVENT VENUE OF THE YEAR (DOME, GARDEN, CONFERENCE HALL) – UNDERBRIDGE EVENT CENTRE

BEST EVENT VENUE (BAR/LOUNGE) – FRONT/BACK ACCRA

EVENT HYPEMAN OF THE YEAR – KOJO MANUEL

EXPERIENTIAL COMPANY OF THE YEAR – BTL AFRICA

EMERGING EVENT OF THE YEAR- UPPER WEST CREATIVE ARTS AWARDS

CORPORATE EVENT OF THE YEAR – CHARTED INSTITUTE OF MARKETING GHANA AWARDS

EVENT SPONSOR OF THE YEAR-

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I don’t use a phone anymore- Kwabena Kwabena

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Although owning a mobile phone has become very critical in this now tech savvy world, Highlife singer, Kwabena Kwabena has revealed he doesn’t use one anymore. (more…)

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Shatta Wale, three others denied bail, remanded into Police custody for a week

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Reggae/Dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale and three other accomplices have been denied bail and remanded into police custody for a week.

They were remanded by an Accra Circuit Court on Thursday, October 21, 2021, during their first appearance in court.

Shatta Wale pleaded not guilty to the charge of publication of false news and causing fear and panic.

His Personal Assistant Kojo Owusu Koranteng, a.k.a Nana Dope, Idris Yusif and Eric Venator who were accomplices to the crime have also been charged and expected to spend the next one week in police custody.

They also pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The four persons are expected to reappear in court on October 26, 2021.

Shatta Wale was arrested on Tuesday to assist the Police in investigations for his alleged involvement in the creation and circulation of information intended to cause fear and panic after a gunshot prank.

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