Dissatisfied with federal government’s style of handling the security challenge posed by the spate of bombings and killing of innocent citizens occasioned by the insurgencies of a terrorist gang, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday pointedly told President Goodluck Jonathan to step aside if he couldn’t put a stop to the mindless killings in the country.
Specifically reacting to the attacks on Christian worshippers in Kano and Borno states, CAN said, “We are telling President Goodluck Jonathan, if he has not done anything to put an end to this madness, then, he should know that there is trouble in his hand.”
Meanwhile, Taraba State commissioner of police Mr. Maman Sule yesterday narrowly escaped death when a suicide bomber who laid ambush on the route to the commissioner’s office thrust an improvised explosive device (IED), at his convoy.
Although the commissioner escaped unhurt, many security operatives on his entourage were not spared: 11 persons lost their lives in the attack.
But speaking with journalists in Kaduna, the spokesman of the northern CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe, also accused northern traditional rulers of the mindless killings in the region.
He said: “We are telling the emirs, traditional rulers and the political chieftains in the north that they are behind these things and they must bring the perpetrators to book”
“To us, we feel that government is just playing games and politics with the church and the church is not going to take it anymore because anybody who kills is a murderer or arsonist.
“Why is the government becoming helpless to bring these people to book? Is the government telling us that a particular tribe or religion is superior to every other person in this country?
“We are feeling serious pains and disappointment at the entire system called Nigeria. It is highly condemnable in the strongest term because these are innocent students who were sent to school by their parents to acquire education.
“They went to worship their God only for some people to come and sniff lives out of them. It is highly condemnable, it is not just condemnable, but we will not sit down and fold our arms to accept this madness any more.
“This country belongs to all of us, and if truly it is one Nigeria, one indivisible country that has a government to protect lives and property, then, government must do something about it because it is the systematic approach of these murderers which tends to the fact that it is only Christians that are the major targets.
“They do it on Sundays and attack only places of worship owned by Christians. We have mosques scattered all over BUK, nobody has heard any attack on them. They said it is the issue of poverty, but they have not attacked any government infrastructure. If it is the issue of power, then, they should go and fight government. Why is it that it is Christians that they are fighting?
“The irony of this thing is that the people have carefully put a plan in place to eliminate Christians. Total annihilation of Christianity from the surface of this country - that is the target.
“And it seems that the government of this country led by Goodluck Jonathan is helplessly looking on, always telling us that security men are on top of the situation.
“We want to use this medium to tell the world that he has not stepped up to arrest and bring to book the people who carry out this heinous crime, who are behind these things. The country is on the verge of collapse, and no country has ever survived two wars.
“We had survived a civil war, but no country has survived a religious war. Let it be made known that Christians are not taught to retaliate, but Christians have been given the right to defend themselves, and we will do it with all manner of defence we know within ourselves.
“We cannot produce legitimate children, God-given children, beautiful children, sent to school, then people who have no value for life will continue to kill them.
“Christians cannot fold their arms anymore, and we are telling President Goodluck Jonathan if he has not done anything to put an end to this madness, then, he should know that there is trouble in his hand.”
Taraba Attack: I saw bombers force their way into my convoy — CP
A Red Cross information coordinator, M. Umar Waziri, who confirmed that 11 people died in the Taraba State commissioner of police convoy bomb attack, said: “We can confirm that 11 people were killed; 10 people died on the spot, while one person died at the Federal Medical Centre in Jalingo.’’
Waziri also disclosed that 20 others injured by the blast were taken to various medical centres in the city.
The Taraba State commissioner of police, however, told newsmen that the police only confirmed the death of three persons, saying that he escaped death by a whisker.
Explaining the circumstances that led to the attack, he said he was on his way to the office and the bombers struck just when he entered the premises of the state Ministry of Finance which was adjacent to the Taraba police headquarters.
The police boss, who said that investigation had begun towards apprehending the bombers, added:
“The explosives actually hit the official car I was riding in and shattered the windscreen and front bumpers but I escaped unhurt.”
Police sources in Taraba told LEADERSHIP that the bomb which exploded at the premises of the Taraba Ministry of Finance, at about 8.45am when workers were resuming for work after the weekend break, destroyed parts of the building and damaged valuable items.
Police sources said the bombers had the police commissioner as their target, as the explosive was thrown directly at his convoy. One of the explosives hit the rider leading the commissioner’s convoy.
The police headquarters in Taraba is 40 metres away from the main entrance into the finance ministry with the ministry’s premises forming part of the entrance into the building leading to the police commissioner’s office.
“The police commissioner usually has to go through the ministry of finance to enter his office. He was passing by that usual route when the explosives were thrown. So the police commissioner’s convoy was clearly the target,’’ a top police source who preferred anonymity said.
An eye-witness, Mr. Francis Dominic, who also confirmed the attack on the CP, told LEADERSHIP at the scene of the incident that “the suicide bomber, riding a JINCHENG motorcycle with registration number QB 928 LAU, forced his way into the commissioner’s convoy while trying to detonate the explosive device suspected to be a bomb.
“The outrider on the CP’s convoy who noticed how the suicide bomber was trying to force himself into the convoy used his power bike to displace him but, by then, the bomber had already released the explosive with intention to damage the commissioner’s car, but unfortunately, the bomb exploded before he could get to the commissioner’s car.”
Another witness to the bomb blast, Shehu Umar, who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Hausa language, said:
“We saw him as he kicked his bike from the other side of the road when he discovered that the commissioner’s siren was blaring, but we never knew he was that kind of person. All of us that used to stay here are used to seeing the commissioner passing, so we never expected anything new; only to discover a heavy explosion with noise from where the man was heading into the commissioner’s convoy.
“The explosion of the bomb wounded the outrider of the commissioner’s convoy, leaving his left leg broken and one of his eyes badly damaged while several others on the convoy were either killed or severely injured,” he said. A staff of the ministry, Nuhu Titus, was not lucky as he came out at about the time the CP’s convoy was arriving. While he was waiting for it to pass, the blast went off and he was crushed into the nearby drainage.
Meanwhile, the inspector-general of police, Mohammed Abubakar, who had a meeting with the vice president, Namadi Sambo, at the presidential villa yesterday refuted claims that the bomb attack that killed over 10 persons and left many civil servants in the Ministry of Finance building injured was targeted at the state commissioner of police.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting with the vice president, the IGP said, “My CP was not the target. It was placed on the road and it exploded; nothing happened to the commissioner and we have made arrests.”
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday condemned the bomb attack in Jalingo by terrorists, with an appeal to affected communities and Nigerians as a whole to report suspicious persons to security agencies.
Speaking through his special adviser on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the president once again reassured Nigerians and foreigners resident in the country that his administration was taking every necessary action to end the spate of terrorist atrocities in the country.
Abati said, “Noting, however, that success in the war against terrorism will be more speedily achieved with greater support and assistance from affected communities, President Jonathan calls on all patriotic Nigerians, once again, to promptly report all suspicious persons to national security agencies.
“Against the background of the recent upsurge in terrorist attacks, the latest of which occurred in Jalingo earlier today, President Jonathan urges Nigerians and foreigners living in the country not to be discouraged or deterred from going about their regular affairs by the persistence of the mindless bombings and gun attacks.
Attack on media, BUK are ploys to destroy nigeria — Jonathan
Similarly, President Jonathan said that last Thursday’s attacks on three newspaper houses and the Sunday attack on Bayero University Kano chaplaincy by suspected terrorists were indicative of the fact that the objective of the terrorist group was to destabilise the country by destroying its sensitive institutions.
He, however, implored Nigerians “not to succumb to despair over the persistence of the terrorist attacks, but to remain assured that the federal government is doing everything possible to ensure that Nigeria overcomes the scourge of mindless terrorism”.
Dr. Abati in another statement noted: “The president urges Nigerians to remain united in their condemnation and rejection of the terrorists, who have shown even more clearly by their latest attacks on the media and the academic community, that their objective is to destabilise the nation and its vital institutions.
“The president deeply regrets this utterly heinous descent to new depths of calumny by the perpetrators of the attack on one of the nation’s citadels of academic endeavour and its members.
“The president conveys his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of members of the Bayero University community who lost their lives in the attack.”
US, JNI, ACF decry attacks
In a related development, the United States government has stated that Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in Africa were the major sources of instability and underdevelopment in the continent.
This was contained in the reports presented to the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs by Ambassador Don Yamamoto, the principal deputy assistant secretary for African affairs, on Monday.
Apart from Boko Haram that was largely indicted in the testimony made by the United States official, al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and the The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) were also said to be part of the reasons the African continent is not stable.
Also, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) National Headquarters has expressed shock over the multiple bomb blasts on some media houses in Kaduna and Abuja, and the similar attacks in Yola, Gombe State University and Bayero University, Kano.
JNI however called for restraint on the part of the government, especially on the arrest of innocent people as a way of stemming the tide of insecurity in the country.
In a press release signed by the religious group’s public relations officer (PRO), Alhaji Umar Ahmad Zaria, which was made available to LEADERSHIP in Kaduna yesterday, it noted that human life is sacred and it must be treated as such by all, stressing that “these incidents call for sober reflection of our actions and inactions as a nation”.
It said JNI commiserated with the families of the bereaved and wished their loved ones the fortitude to bear the loss. “In the same vein, we wish all those who sustained injuries from the blast quick recovery and their respective families, the patience and perseverance in managing the patients.”
The JNI, which also called on Nigerians to be security-conscious, stated: “We call on the federal government not to handle with levity the issue of security upheaval the nation is passing through. It is now apparent that there is serious disconnect between security personnel and the citizenry on leading information, hence the need to bridge the gap so that trust and confidence will be restored.”
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), meanwhile, noted that the perpetrators of violence that killed innocent citizens in Bayero University, Kano should embrace constructive dialogue as the only viable path to peaceful coexistence and national security for collective good.
The Forum which condemned the attacks on Christian worshippers said: “The attacks on innocent people in places of worship in Bayero University is worrisome because it conveys some aimlessness on the part of the perpetrators, considering that those affected are not part of causes of any perceived grievances.”
A statement signed by the ACF’s spokesman, Anthony Sani, stated: “ACF submits that time for sheathing of the sword is long overdue and that whatever may be the nature of any perceived grievances, violence resulting in mindless killing of innocent people can never be the solution.
“This is because, however long any conflict may take, it would still be resolved at peace talks.
“ACF also condoles and commiserates with all those who lost their lives and properties and prays to God to provide them with the fortitude to endure what happened and in the hope that they will replace the losses many folds.”
Stop wasting human lives for political motives, Tambuwal warns
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has asked perpetrators of bomb blast attacks in some states of the country, including that of Bayero University, Kano, and that which occurred in Taraba State to halt their activities, saying no innocent life must be wasted on the altar of political motives.
The speaker, who made the statement yesterday in a press release issued by his special adviser on media and public affairs, Mallam Imam Imam, was reacting to the twin bomb blasts that rocked Bayero University, Kano, and the Ministry of Finance building in Jalingo, Taraba State, on Sunday and Monday respectively.
The speaker equally urged the victims of the attacks and other Nigerians not to despair over the security challenges facing the nation, recalling that many countries of the world had at one time or the other faced various security challenges, but the important thing was that the collective determination of the people of such countries saw them through the dark periods.
“Nigeria is today experiencing its tough challenge. I am however confident that what we are facing will soon be a thing of the past. Our collective resolve as Nigerians who desire peace and stability will triumph over all dark forces in our country,” Tambuwal added.
While commiserating with the families of those who died or suffered injuries in the blasts, Speaker Tambuwal urged the security agencies to unmask those behind the blasts and bring them to justice.
Academics, students now endangered species — Don
A university don and professor of veterinary parasitology, Prof. Barineme Fakae, said yesterday that last weekend’s attack on a university campus which claimed about 17 lives, including those of two professors, was unnecessary.
Concluding that academics and their students were now endangered species, Prof. Fakae, who is the vice chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), said that the university was a centre of knowledge that prepares people that will help the country. He therefore wondered why anybody or group would carry out such act of wickedness on a place that was expected to produce people of integrity and character.
“This type of incident is really unfortunate, unnecessary and uncalled for. If we now attack the centres where we are expecting people who can help the country, then himself it means our future is being threatened.
“Anybody who has respect for the future would not involve in this kind of act. When you attack and kill teachers, students, it is really unfortunate, I must say. And what it means for the university environment is that academics and students are engendered species,” the vice chancellor said.
Police defuse bomb at BUK as gunmen kill ward head
Anti Bomb squad of the Kano State Command of the Nigeria Police, yesterday defused a bomb suspected to be planted closed to the mosque of the new site of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK).
The bomb, according to the police, was found inside a polythene bag at about 6pm and was left by the side of the mosque at the university.
“It remained few minutes for the bomb to explode when the specialists of the anti-bomb department successfully defused it,” the police said.
According to the police account, the bomb timing had 25 minutes left before explosion, but was defused successfully.
State Police spokesman, Musa Magaji Majiya (ASP) confirmed to LEADERSHIP that the planted bomb was successfully defused by the anti -bomb unit of the state police command. “Thank God, the bomb was diffused before it exploded,” Majiya said.
Meanwhile, the police have confirmed the killing of a Ward Head in Hotoro Quarters of Kano Municipality, yesterday night.
According to the police, the deceased, late Yusuf Ali, was killed by unknown gunmen at about 7.30 pm yesterday.
An eye witness said the gunmen came to the house of the deceased, identified him from among some people, and shot him.
His brother, Ado Umar confirmed the attack and said the matter had been reported to the police.
Spokesman of the police, ASP Magaji Musa Majiya confirmed the incident and said that investigation was ongoing.
Gunmen kill 3 in Yobe
Gunmen yesterday killed three persons around T-Junction in Potiskum Local Government area of Yobe State.
A source told our state correspondent that the victims were shot at about 8.30pm by the gunmen in their house at the Residence of Alhaji Shehu Degree around T- Junction area
Confirming the incident, the Acting Area Commander (AC) of the state police command, Nuradeen Sabo, said investigation had begun over the matter. He added that no arrest had been made, saying that the remains of the victims had been deposited at the General Hospital, Potiskum.