Nine soldiers and one mobile police officer were yesterday afternoon feared dead during an attack on a security patrol team in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital. Some military personnel in the targeted patrol vehicle were injured and rushed to hospital for treatment.
The Yobe State police command’s public relations officer, Toyin Gbadegeshin, yesterday confirmed the attack on security patrol team in Damaturu by gunmen.
The police spokesman said “the gunmen laid ambush on a security patrol team using explosive devices around Shagari Low-cost housing area”.
He said some military personnel in the targeted patrol vehicle were injured and rushed to hospital for treatment.
“Some of the injured security operatives, including police and military personnel, are feared dead.
“There were also gunshots reported around the ‘A’ division police station.
“We are still working to collect the details of the incident,” the police spokesperson said.
Also, former Borno State commissioner for environment Alhaji Kadiri Kaza’a and a senior immigration officer with Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Lawan, have been shot dead at their residences by suspected gunmen in the presence of their wives and children at Bayan Railway Quarters and Gwange wards of the metropolis yesterday.
According to an eyewitness, the attack on Kaza’a occurred in the early hours of yesterday, while that of the serving immigration official was about 8am, before men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) rushed to the scene and cordoned-off the area.
Confirming the multiple attacks and killings in Maiduguri, the Borno State police public relations officer, Gidieon Jibrin, said the retired government official and immigration officer attached to the Passport Office at the Customs Area were yesterday morning trailed to their respective residences by suspected gunmen.
He said when the gunmen reached their residences in Bayan Quarters and Gwange wards of the metropolis, they asked for the whereabouts of the commissioner (Kaza’a) and immigration officer (Lawan), saying that the suspects, who disguised as errands boys, shot them dead at close range before their family members.
Jibrin said no arrests had been made. Information provided by residents could assist in apprehending the unknown gunmen that have continued to target policemen, security agents and traditional rulers in the state, he stated.
The two affected wards have already been cordoned-off by the JTF and the police, while the stop-and-search exercise continued into the night before the 9pm curfew.
Clark goofed on Boko Haram
Former military president General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) has dismissed insinuations by First Republic minister of information and prominent Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark that he has a hand in the depredations of the militant Boko Haram sect, saying that Clark’s position is based on flawed premises.
While further stating that the current menace was not solely a northern affair and threatening legal action against such future slights, Babangida challenged Clark to seek plausible and efficacious solutions to the insecurity in the country instead of accusing folks who had made heroic sacrifices for the sustenance of one Nigeria.
Clark had last Thursday declared that some highly placed individuals from the northern part of the country were behind the increasing spate of violence in Nigeria to actualise their vow of “making the nation ungovernable for President Jonathan”.
But Babangida in his response yesterday said: “With the ethnic mindset of a Chief Clark, we can understand why the country appears fixated and why there has not been a nationally accepted approach to combating this Boko Haram menace.
“Anyone who sees the Boko Haram menace as strictly a northern affair would be exhibiting crass ignorance about leadership in a multi-ethnic configuration like Nigeria.”
In a statement signed by Babangida’s media spokesman Prince Kassim Afegbua and obtained by LEADERSHIP yesterday, the general stated that his career trajectory is sufficient defence of his place in the nation’s history.
He said: “General Babangida, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and civil war hero, does not and will not have a hand in anything untoward against the unity and stability of the Nigerian state.
“Having seen it all in life, and now enjoying his retirement in Minna, Niger State, General Babangida has paid his dues by serving his fatherland to the best of his ability at various times in the history of the country.
“Having invested so much in the unity and stability of the country, to the extent of fighting in the civil war to keep the country together, it is out of place for anyone, least of all an old man of Edwin Clark’s nomenclature, to input directly or indirectly that the great IBB should prove his innocence on the Boko Haram menace.
“General Babangida has offered several approaches and methodologies to addressing the precarious situation both in public and private, and had stated without equivocation that dialogue would serve as a better tool than this militant approach which is not yielding appropriate result.
“He had also stated that President Goodluck Jonathan should use some of the respected Muslim clerics in the North as middlemen to reach the members of Boko Haram and appeal for calm and understanding, in the interest of the unity and stability of the system. Needless to state that Government is a huge institution with several options open to it.”
According to a miffed Babangida, “Instead of buck-passing and playing the blame game, we expect Edwin Clark to advise the government of the day to do more of consultation with former presidents, opinion moulders and leaders of thought across the country with the aim of getting lasting and integrated solutions to our problems.
“Let it be noted that further implied statements and misplaced accusations from Chief Edwin Clark would be greeted with litigation. A word is enough for the aged.”
Babangida and former President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in a recent weighty joint statement on the state of the nation, counseled President Jonathan on the way forward.
Security beefed up around Sheikh Gumi, CBN office
In a related development, tight security has been built up around a famous Islamic preacher, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, because he dared to speak the truth about the activities of the Boko Haram.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Sheik Gumi, who has been preaching against the bombing and killings of innocent lives through act of terrorism, has been under security since Friday.
The fearless Islamic preacher, who is the son of the late famous Sheik Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, in one of his tafsir (sermons), noted that “all those carrying out suicide bombings and killing people are not real Muslims, but misguided heretics that have completely deviated from Islam”.
A top security officer disclosed to LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity that the decision to strengthen security around the preacher was necessitated by the Boko Haram threat to go after the people preaching against its struggle.
The source said: “As I speak to you now, security has been mobilized around the Islamic preacher. We have enough security around the Sultan Bello Mosque where he preaches, we also have security around his residence. The preacher is bold and courageous to come out and condemn this form of terrorism.”
In one of his sermons aired by a Kaduna-based radio station which was monitored , Sheik Gumi charged all Muslims to stand up and save their religion from present challenges, even as he called on those mounting the attacks to renounce violence and embrace dialogue.
Our correspondent who visited the Sultan Bello Mosque at Ungwan Sarki, Kaduna, observed the presence of security operatives comprising soldiers, policemen and the Civil Defence Corps who were on ground to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
Meanwhile security concerns have been raised over the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) zonal branch in Kaduna following a security report that members of the group were planning to launch an attack on the place.
Our security source also disclosed that the “strengthening of security around the CBN office along Yakubu Gowon Way was in view of a recent security report of a possible attack on the financial institutions around the area.”
He added: “You will observe that there has been improved security around CBN office and other financial institutions along the Yakubu Gowon way. We do not want to take any chance again, we want to be on red alert. That is why we are asking people on motorcycle to come down and push their machines on approaching CBN office.”
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that heavy security has been mounted around the CBN office, with hefty policemen conducting stop-and-search on motorists plying the busy Yakubu Gowon Way.