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National Security Council meets, plans war on terrorism

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday presided over an emergency meeting of the National Security Council convened to address the state of security in the country.
The meeting became imperative following recent spate of bomb blasts in the country, including the New Year Eve bombing at the Mammy market opposite the Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja.
A source said that as part of the measures aimed at creating a focused national anti-terrorism policy, the President would in the next one week appoint a special adviser on terrorism.
President Jonathan is also billed to work with the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the anti-terrorism bill.

In addition, he is to set up a presidential committee on the control of explosive and other incendiary materials and another panel on public enlightenment on general security awareness amongst citizens.
The government also plans to introduce close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in public places for security purposes.
Also, armories licensed by the Police are to be inspected to regulate how explosive-making materials are imported and used in Nigeria.
In a related development, President Barack Obama and top United States (U.S.) government officials are reportedly deeply concerned about the New Year Eve blast in Abuja. They believe that it was a terrorist ploy that needs to be nipped in the bud, hence the country’s swift offer to assist Nigeria to unravel the culprits behind the attacks.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sources also confirmed that Nigeria has since been listed by the department as “a very helpful country” in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts after the December 2009 failed attempt to bomb an airliner by a young Nigerian, Farouk AbdulMutallab.
It is believed that the U.S. government is also keen to frustrate the seeming rise of Islamist fundamentalism and violence in Nigeria as part of its own counter-terrorism efforts without making it appearing to be against any particular religion.
Also, following the bomb explosions which killed and injured several people in Abuja on New Year Eve, Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, has placed the Police and other security agencies in the state on the alert, urging all indigenes to be vigilant and expose any evil plot by individuals or groups in the state.
Yakowa, who spoke at the 2011 Afan Festival in Kagoro, Kaura Local Council, condemned the Abuja and Jos blasts while commiserating with the Federal and the Plateau State governments. He also prayed for the repose of the lost souls in the incidents as well as quick recovery for the injured.
Also, President, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Abdulwahed Omar, has stated that the bomb blasts that had rocked parts of the country, including Abuja, constituted a threat to this year’s general elections and called for “practical solutions” to the problem.
And, Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Rules and Business, Ita Enang and the immediate past chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ekanem Ekanem have condemned the Abuja and Jos bombings. They stressed that the incidents should serve as a wake up call to the nation’s security outfits and charged them not to allow the security situation to degenerate further.
Omar, who spoke with The Guardian in Abuja yesterday, charged the Federal Government “to move away from the familiar cliché of ‘we know the perpetrators and we will bring them to book rhetoric’ to a more pragmatic approach of fishing out those behind the dastardly acts.”
The NLC president added: “The incidents are unfortunate and government must stop them. Government must find solution to it. Innocent lives are being lost and government is sitting down doing very little to halt the destruction while it comes with the same old story.
“The bomb blasts are really very potent threats not only to the stability of the country but to the aim of conducting elections that are free, transparent and fair. It is also a threat to having a peaceful election. It is our hope that government will find a way round the challenge.”
Yakowa said it was time for the Kaduna State government to rededicate itself to the peace-building process and harmonious co-existence in the face of the upheavals in some parts of the country.
A plank of the peace process as envisioned by the governor is keeping close contact with district heads, senior traditional rulers and other opinion leaders within the state.
Yakowa observed that the New Year was crucial and would be eventful for the nation “due to intense political activities ahead of us.”  
He appealed to politicians to play the game by the rule and run issue-based campaign “as against the maligning of personalities of one another.”
In his address, guest speaker at the Kaduna event and former Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, called on Nigerians to cooperate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to conduct free and fair elections across the country this year.
He also urged politicians to eschew acts of violence or intimidation and allow the electorate to freely choose their leaders.
Gana said Nigerians must strive to avoid being used as a tool of destruction in the hands of their persecutors, stressing that the key to the transformation of the nation lies in the transformation of the people for a better future.
Also, the former Plateau State Governor and erstwhile National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Solomon Lar, in his speech commended the Kagoro people for leading the charge in the emancipation of the minority in the north.
Lar urged the Federal Government to upgrade the Afan Festival into a national event to promote tourism in the country.
Enang said: “These bombings are not connected to the elections. It is a general trend which Nigerians must watch. When we had bombing on October 1, 2010 there was no election. So is the one on Christmas Eve in Jos and Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja. It is a general trend in crime which must be looked into seriously.”
But Ekanem argued that the development was politically motivated, adding that the perpetrators want to make the outside world believe that President Goodluck Jonathan is not capable of ruling Nigeria.
His words: “Having the bomb blast right inside the barracks shows that there are insiders or Fifth Columnists and if we go by the comments made by prominent politicians from the North, we can easily point accusing finger to such persons.
“Those politicians are known by the government, they should be
arrested as prime suspects. In fact, it is the handiwork of do-or-die politicians, they are behind this new trend of crime in the country.”
Enang, who said he has been cleared by the PDP to run in the party’s Uyo senatorial district primaries, called on law enforcement agencies to re-tool their intelligent gathering network in order to restrict access to bomb-making materials.
He said: “It seems intelligent gathering in the country may have become elitist. The grassroots where these crimes are planned and executed is neglected. We have to come down from the elitist security management approach and adopt a down to earth initiative.”
– Guardian

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