In today’s edition of Nigeria in Brief, Nigeria splurges on SUV for Niger Republic amidst revenue crisis, terrorists attack senior police chief and broadcast regulator’s hammer lands on Trust TV over bandits documentary.
1. Nigerian government admitted it paid N1.5 billion to purchase 10 Toyota Prado SUVs as gifts to the neighbouring Niger Republic. Journalist, David Hundeyin blew the whistle on Wednesday, leaking documents, which revealed that the government approved the purchase of the vehicles in February this year. The contract for the supply of the vehicles, which were acquired at more than 120% of their market value was routed through an auto dealership linked to a federal lawmaker. Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed defended the largesse on Wednesday, arguing that the gesture was to support the fight against insecurity and that “President Muhammadu Buhari, who approved the purchase also has the right to make his own assessment of situations and act accordingly”.
2. Terrorists attacked a convoy of a senior police chief, left him with gunshot injuries and killed his orderly on Tuesday. Audu Madaki who is an Assistant Inspector General of Police, was on his way to the capital Abuja from Bauchi when the terrorists ambushed and attacked him between Barde and Jagindi area in Kaduna State at about 02:30 pm, Tuesday. This adds to a series of targeted attacks on security formations in the nation’s capital recently. Terrorists attacked a presidential brigade a fortnight ago and even threatened to kidnap the President, Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed said the terrorists who carried out the attack “just (wanted) to score a psychological point”.
3. Nigeria’s military will use maximum firepower to uproot the armed groups that are behind mounting insecurity in the country, the air force said on Wednesday, amid concerns that the situation, if unchecked, could impact a general election in February. Attacks by armed groups outside their base in the northeast have become more frequent recently. Air Force chief Air Marshal Oladayo Amao told commanders during a Tuesday meeting that the security situation “remains fluid and uncertain” with armed groups moving between northern states. He directed operational commanders to “show no mercy and ensure they employ maximum firepower against terrorists posing security threats in the country.”
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4. Nigeria’s broadcasting industry regulator fined a local TV station over the content of its documentary on the raging banditry and terrorism in Northeast Nigeria. The documentary embarrassed the government. The Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, NBC said Trust Television Network, which aired the “offensive” documentary on March 5, would pay a 5 million Naira fine for contravening a section of the broadcast code. Trust TV said it has done no wrong. “The documentary traces the root of the communal tensions and systemic inadequacies which led to the armed conflict that is setting the stage for another grand humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. It presents insights into the intersection of injustice, ethnicity and bad governance as drivers of the conflict,” the management of the station said in defence.
5. A facility suspected to belong to Shell Petroleum Development Company caused a fresh spill in Ogoniland, oil-rich Rivers State on Wednesday. The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, the rights group that raised the alarm, said the spill affected Bodo community, Gokana Local Government Area affecting residential areas with residents warned to evacuate immediately to mitigate the associated risks, including probable fire outbreak.