• New board chair pledges to sustain peace-building campaigns
• No hiding place for terrorists as rapid air strikes deny them freedom
The newly-appointed Chairman, Board of Directors for the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP Nigeria), Kolawole Olatosimi, has expressed concern over the rising waves of ethnic and sectarian conflicts, banditry and expanding violent extremism in North-Central and North-West zones of Nigeria.
He said the situation had made the regions increasingly insecure.
Olatosimi, who stated this after taking over from his predecessor, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, at the WANEP 2023 General Assembly held in Abuja with the theme, “Strengthening Peacebuilding Structures: Towards an Enhanced State Citizens Relations in Nigeria,” promised to energise and sustain the efforts of the peace and conflict resolution body by strengthening peace-building structures and collaborations with relevant organisations in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Akiyode-Afolabi commended the National Network Coordinator (WANEP Nigeria), Dr. Bridget Osakwe, for her leadership and commitments to the organisation and her role in bringing her team together towards achieving the network’s objectives.
According to her, “there have been remarkable improvements during this period of my tenure; giant progress was made as WANEP became the leading peace-building organisation in Nigeria.
“Today, we are discussing direct funding status from USAID and opened an office in Abuja. We can’t count our successes in conflict prevention and peace-building. However, more still need to be done in terms of increasing the number of members, capacity building for members and resource mobilisation.”
MEANWHILE, two major air strikes on November 8 and 11, 2023, undertaken by the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, have led to decimation of several terrorists taking cover at Ajigin and Banki areas in Borno State.
According to Air Force Spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the terrorists, who had hidden four gun-trucks under thick shrubs, had earlier perfected plans to attack friendly troops’ location around Damboa and Wajiroko.
He said during the air strike, three of the gun-trucks were struck, as evidenced by the thick black smoke and fire from the trucks after the strike, while the last gun-truck was observed fleeing the scene of the strike.
“The truck was subsequently tailed for about 26 kilometres and thereafter disappeared under a tree. The truck was subsequently struck and observed to be on fire with no sign of movement at the location. The destruction of the four gun trucks, along with the occupants, effectively degraded the capability of the terrorists to attack friendly forces and locals within the area.
“Air interdiction missions were also conducted at a location seven kilometres East of Banki Junction on November 11, 2023. The location was a well-known terrorists’ enclave hitherto deserted but suddenly active with high terrorists’ activities and used as logistics storage area and staging area to attack troops’ locations at Bank Junction. The need to attack the location thus became necessary.
“Accordingly, NAF aircraft were scrambled to interdict the location. The aftermath of the strike revealed the destruction of the location with the logistics sites on fire,” Gabkwet said.