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Boko Haram: Ex Gov. Sheriff quizzed

Former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, was yesterday quizzed by the State Security Services (SSS) operatives in Abuja over the Boko Haram menace. He has since been released.

Besides, the Islamic fundamentalists lived up to its threat as it bombed a popular joint in Kaduna on Sunday night. Scores were injured but no life was lost.

Although, Daily Sun authoritatively learnt that Sheriff was arrested and may be arraigned in court today over his alleged involvement in the existence of the Boko Haram sect, another source in the SSS office stated that the former governor only came on routine visit to the operative office.

The Kaduna blast, which occurred at about 10.30p.m along Forcados Street, Kaduna, took place near a residential building, close to the popular Ebeano Joint Hotel. But co-ordinator of the state security outfit, Operation Yaki, Colonel D.G Mamman (retd) told Daily Sun in a telephone chat that the incident was not bomb blast but an explosive.

“Each time people say bomb blast, I begin to wonder because you cannot easily move bomb to the street. In my 30 years in the military, I know what bomb is all about, and I want to tell you that there is difference between bomb and explosives. Anybody can easily assemble explosives such as knockouts and what have you, but not bomb. So what happened in Kaduna is explosive, not bomb blast”, Mamman stated.

He was corroborated by the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Kaduna Command, Bala Nasarawa, who confirmed that only five people were injured in the explosion.
According to him, ‘an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) exploded at about 2230hrs at a refuse dump along Forcados Street and slightly injured five people. They were treated and discharged while investigation has commenced’.

Eyewitnesses stated that people who were mostly injured were those who were hanging out for social activities with friends and other residents having good times with their neighbours.
The injured victims were said to have been rushed to near-by hospitals where they were treated of various degree of injuries.

It was gathered that the bomb was planted in a drum containing refuse from where it exploded with a loud noise.
As at yesterday morning, large crowd of sympathizers were seen at the scene of the explosion to sympathize with victims living in the area.

The incident, Daily Sun’s investigations showed, rattled the neigbouring popular Obalande drinking joint as people were said to have immediately deserted the area, just as sex workers in the vicinity were seen trying to relocate to another area of the city for fear of another blast.

According to one of the victims, who simply gave her name as Chika, ‘the bomb exploded few minutes after 10 pm, saying she was standing with her friends in front of their house when the incident occurred.
“She too was injured. But we did not see the people when they dropped the bomb”, Chika stated.
Another victim, Mohammed Aminu gave the time of the explosion as about 10.30pm, saying the sound was heavy and deafening.
“When I heard it, I was terrified. I was shocked. So, I fell down, and when I stood up I started to run and I discovered that there was blood on my body. So my friend rushed me to Rekiya Memorial hospital where I was treated.

“Also, seven of my friends, who were at the place when the bomb exploded, were injured, but they were treated in the hospital and discharged.
“The police came to the hospital and took our statements. I have been living on Forcados Street for the past four years and there has never been problem like this,” he explained.
Manager of the hotel, near the scene of the explosion, Steve Adeyemi, stated that he had closed for the day before one of his staff called to inform him about the incident.
“I started making calls and I was told that some people who were standing outside were injured, but I did not know where particularly, so I have to drive down to the hotel and when I got there I discovered that it was opposite one Alhaji’s house.

“The police were here that night, they parked their patrol vehicle here, and it is like the thing happened in their presence, but I left them there”, Adeyemi stated.
Among early sympathizers to the scene was the District Head of the area, Alhaji Bala Tijani who expressed his displeasure at the development. He appealed to the police to be on top of the situation.
“We pray that it doesn’t happen again. It is rather unfortunate; we pray that those that were injured recover very fast. We will continue to appeal to the police to be on top of the security, we will also continue to do our best, and that is all I can say.”

But speaking on the spate of bombings rocking the northern part of the country, Senator Dahiro Awaisu Kuta representing Niger East has expressed fear that the increasing spate of bomb blasts in the country posed a big threat to national unity especially the idea of targeting Christian places of worship as it happened in Suleja at the weekend.
Kuta said immediate steps should be taken by all concerned to arrest the trend in the interest of the survival of the country.

The senator who was in Suleja to condole with the leadership and members of the All Christian Fellowship Mission which lost three of its members to the bomb blast that hit the place of worship in the state also said that terrorism was attaining a different dimension because suicide bombing had been introduced into it.
He blamed the increase on high rate of unemployment among the youths, saying that government should look for ways of keeping the young elements in the society engaged in gainful assignments.
Kuta said the National Assembly had already summoned all the security chiefs in the country and ‘gave them the marching orders’ to stem the ‘dangerous trend’.

Niger state acting governor Ahmed Musa Ibeto, who also visited the scene of the blast, expressed government’s disappointment at the incident adding that people who committed the crime ‘are enemies of the society’.
“We must integrate irrespective of our differences in tribes and religion; this is the only way we can move the country forward”, Ibeto stated.

Describing the bombers as ‘faceless people’, Ibeto said terrorism was not restricted to Niger State and Nigeria as a country, saying ‘it is an international security challenge we must all cooperate to solve’.
Meanwhile, the General Overseer of the All Christians Fellowship Mission (ACFM), Reverend Willams Okoye, has described the bomb blast that took place in one of its parishes at Suleja, Niger state, on Sunday as a national embarrassment.

The clergy man called on the federal government to put stringent measures in place to protect its citizens and bring the ugly incident to a stop.
Okoye insisted that the bombing has religious and political motives, saying his church might have been attacked by the bombers because of its role in transforming the nation.
He said it was high time President Goodluck Jonathan stopped chasing shadows and arrest those behind the bombings, saying that those actually carrying out the act did not have the capacity to do most of the things they were doing if they were not backed by some powerful people.

“We all know that there are some people who said if they don’t have their way they will make the nation ungovernable and I fear that this might be the manifestation of making the nation ungovernable. The aim is to make sure that the present administration will be busy chasing shadows in the next four years”, Okoye added.

Okoye, who was speaking at a press conference over the bombing of the Suleja branch of his church, said that three persons lost their lives in the incident while two others, who were in critical condition were receiving treatment at the IBB Specialist Hospital, Minna, Niger State.
Apart from the dead and the injured, Okoye said that the children’s church and the pastors’ office were completely destroyed in the blast.

He lamented that despite all what the church of God was doing as its contribution to transform the Nigerian nation, members of the Boko Haram sect, still found it necessary to attack churches and kill innocent worshippers.

“I believe that the reason why we are subject of this attack is because of our role in working for the transformation of the country. Why should we be singled out? These people know the role that we are playing as far as the transformation of the country is concerned. I believe that the bombing has both political and religious motives.

“I have said it over and over again that there is no group of people that have the monopoly of violence. If we become pushed to the wall and we mobilize the Christians to also react, this nation will not contain us and I am praying that we don’t get to that level because most Christians are getting tired.

“That is why government has to do whatever they have to do to contain this because if this thing continues the way it is going, some of us might get tired and decide to respond the way that they are expecting us to respond so that this nonsense don’t continue and it is not going to be good for our country”, Okoye stated.

But speaking during a civil-military affairs seminar, held in Ibadan, yesterday, Chief of Army Staff,(COAS), Lt. General Azubike Ihejirika, assured of the capability of the army to tame the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, saying that Nigeria Army would do everything to subdue them.
The Army chief, was, however, quick to add that, there was the need for Nigerians to assist the army by giving out relevant information that would lead to the arrest of the sect members.

He said that despite the challenge, soldiers were up to the task as the sect would soon be crushed.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop on civil-military affairs with the theme; ‘Enhancing Civil-Military Relations on the need to meet Contemporary Challenges of the Nigerian Army in a Democratic Environment’, which was held at the 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Ibadan, the Army chief lamented that it was unfortunate that people have refused to give genuine information that could lead to the arrest of members of the sect for fear of being attacked.

Represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Muhammad Abubakar, Ihejirika recalled how some people who volunteered information to security operatives which eventually led to the arrest of some members of the sect were later trailed to their houses and slaughtered.
He pointed out that any information given on the activities and identity of the sect would be treated with confidentiality.

He noted that it has become inevitable for the military to build on professionalism with emphasis on creating an enabling environment to foster cordial relationship between the civil and military institutions.
The COAS further stressed that the military needs complete re-orientation to mitigate these challenges, saying that the interface between the civil society and the military could not be severed as both depend on each other.

He said one of the contemporary challenges in civil -military relations was inadequate or lack of cordial interaction between authority, civil society and the military, while expressing the hope that the forum would provide the enabling environment to enhance the understanding, support and cooperation of both the civil and the military towards achieving set objectives in the overall interest of national security.

Speaking earlier, Chief of Civil-Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army, Major General Bitrus Kwaji, stated that the objective of the workshop was to enhance the credibility and integrity of the Nigerian Army as a strategic conflict mediator and resolution stakeholders as well as promote cordial civil-military relations.

 -Sun

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Posted by on Jul 11 2011. Filed under Boko Haram, Borno, Latest Politics, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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