Cars destroyed in Kano, Nigeria during January 2012. The attacks have been blamed on Boko Haram., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Attackers wore police uniforms
By Our Reporter
Some of the attackers who carried out last Friday’s co-ordinated bombings and shootings in Kano wore police uniforms as they gunned down officers, police said yesterday.
It was unclear how they obtained the uniforms, but their use led to further confusion on Friday night as the city exploded into violence claimed by Boko Haram.
“I saw somebody wearing a mobile (police) uniform with an AK-47,” Assistant Police Superintendent Wellington Asiayei said from his hospital bed.
Asiayei said he had just heard a bomb blast and was closing the door to his room in the barracks to run toward the main building at the time.
“I thought it was my colleague, so I said, ‘Come sir, let’s run to the headquarters. Something is happening.’ So I was about to lock my door ... I saw him raise the rifle at me.”
He was shot and his spinal cord was hit, leaving him unable to walk.
Another police source who spoke on condition of anonymity said others were wearing police uniforms as well.
“It was quite difficult for us because some of them wore our uniforms and camouflaged as members of the force,” the source said. “That was what made the situation more difficult.”
Kano bomb blasts
Another sad example of triumph of violence over government action
With at least 162 persons so far reported dead in the January 20 bomb attacks in Kano, the Kano State capital, indications are that the attempts to rein in the Islamic fundamentalists are inadequate or ineffectual, or both. As a matter of fact, morgues in the ancient city are said to be overflowing with corpses of the victims, the worst so far in terms of the number of casualties.
According to reports, multiple explosives went off one after the other in Kano, in the usual manner of similar attacks by members of the sect in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Potiskum, Gombe, Abuja, and Madalla in Niger State. The main targets were Nigeria Police Zone 1 Headquarters on BUK Road, the AIG Zone 1 residence at Bompai Road, police state command headquarters also at Bompai Road, Zaria Road Police Station on Zaria Road, Farm Centre Police Station at Farm Centre, SSS Headquarters, Gigiyu, Passport Office at Farm Centre and Immigration Headquarters at Bompai Road.
Although the invaders were said to have been repelled at the SSS office and the Customs Training School by officers who reportedly gave them a good fight, killing some of them in the process, the fact that the bombers still went as far as they did should make us ask what has happened to our security generally? Most of the places attacked are largely security agencies that people should be scared of attempting to violate. But the Boko Haram appeared unruffled by whatever security measures these agencies put in place. Indeed, the magnitude of the destruction was such that Kano would have been taken for a war zone by the time the smokes caused by the blasts had subsided. Many people were killed, including Channels Television’s cameraman in the city, Enenche Akogwu. The state government immediately declared a 24-hour curfew to underscore the level of destruction and loss of lives.
Our condolences go to the relatives of the dead; people whose lives were just wasted over a cause for which they had absolutely no business. We sympathise with the injured as well. But we must quickly add that the country cannot continue on this sad note. We can’t be reduced to a nation of experts in giving graveside orations. The ease with which the Boko Haram sect has frequently rubbished our security apparatuses is baffling. It is enough indication that something is wrong with the present security arrangement in the country.
A cardinal responsibility of any government properly so-called is the control of the instruments of coercion and provision of security. With regard to the Boko Haram and the menace of criminals generally in many parts of the country, the government has not been able to proffer any effective solution. We have had more of promises to arrest the situation than we have seen effective actions. Even in the case of the Kano bombings, what we have heard from the seat of government is the usual homily: we will wipe out Boko Haram. We need to move from this stage to the stage where the government would do less of talking and Nigerians would see more of action that indeed, the crime wave, including terror attacks, is falling.
Presidential assurances would amount to nothing if all Nigerians see are deadlier attacks by Boko Haram after the president had assured that perpetrators of previous terror attacks would be apprehended and prosecuted. It does the government no credit to learn that arrested members of the sect escape or get freed by their colleagues and the best the president will do is throw his hands up in frustration, lamenting that the sect has infiltrated even the security agencies.
Police: 10 bomb-laden vehicles found in Kano
By Kolade Adeyemi
Aftermath of Kano Bombing
-185 suspects arrested
-Mark, Tambuwal visit
-Death toll rises to 186
-Emir leads prayers
The police in Kano were still battling yesterday to free themselves from the hangover of last Friday’s shock-and-awe attacks.
But they were strong enough to begin the difficult task of counting the dead. The toll: 186 so far.
On the casualty list are 29 policemen, three State Security Service (SSS) officers, two Immigration officers, one Customs officer, a journalist and 150 others.
Police Commissioner Ibrahim Idris, in a statement, recounted the incident. He said a suicide bomber drove a car forcefully through the gates of the police zonal headquarters and detonated a bomb which destroyed part of the building.
Besides, said the police, 10 bomb-laden vehicles were found in the city, Nigeria’s second largest.
Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal visited to commiserate with the residents. The Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, led prayers for peace.
According to the police, who said 185 suspects had been arrested, “the same group of terrorists launched an attack at Farm Centre and Zaria road police division, Immigration Passport Office located at Farm Centre, SSS headquarters at Giginyu quarters, the official residence of the AIG Zone One and St. Louis Secondary School simultaneously.
“The command is made to inform the general public on the sad state of security and ugly incident of Friday 20th January, 2012. It was a day some extremists launched sporadic attacks with bombs and assault rifles in various parts of the state.”
The police said at the command headquarters in Bompai, two cars heavily loaded with explosive devices, apparently primed for suicide mission, were stopped. They said the first suicide bomber drove through the JFK end of Bompai Barracks when resisted by the officers on duty and detonated his bomb on the road when he could not access the barracks.
The statement added that the second vehicle – a Toyota Camry – was sporadically fired at by the police, ran into the wall and could not have access into the command headquarters. The driver was gunned down and the explosives demobilised.
The statement explained that the police recovered 10 vehicles including Honda CRV, Toyota Camry of various models, Honda Brahma, Golf, Toyota “First Lady” loaded with improvised explosive devices at places, such as Sheka Quarters, NNPC Mega filling station, Hotoro, Tishama Goron Dutse, Miller Road and Police Headquarters road, Bompai.
The police also recovered 300 Coca-Cola sized cans of improvised explosive devices at various locations in the city.
“Eight (8) Peak milk tins of 350kg loaded with improvised explosive devices, eight (8) drums sized of 350kg loaded improvised explosive devices loaded in cars in various locations in the city.
“The extremists attacked and brutally killed innocent civilian citizens who were going about their lawful business along Tudun Wada Road, Club Road, Cemetery Road, Abuja Yan Dusa, SDY Roundabout and St. Louis Avenue.”
The police also impounded two vehicles abandoned by suspected Boko Haram men. The police were on a stop-and-search yesterday and in two of the checkpoints, the Boko Haram members, on sighting the checkpoints, abandoned their vehicles and ran, a high-level police officer told Reuters, asking not to be named. “The vehicles were later checked and the cars were loaded with explosives. Two brand new Hilux open pick-up vans were also found packed with explosives in the Bompai area of Kano.”
‘Nigeria’s existence is threatened’
By Wale Adepoju
A group - Committee for Concerned Nigerians - yesterday raised the alarm that Nigeria’s corporate existence is threatened.
Members of the group include: acclaimed poet, Prof. Niyi Osundare, son of the late leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin, and professors, Amina Mama, Toyin Falola, and Funke Okome, all based in the United States.
The group, which has more than 60 Nigerians (both at home and abroad) as members, called for the convocation of a national conference to resolve the “fundamental crisis” in the country and to save it from “imminent collapse”.
It said: “The government of President Goodluck Jonathan, by its simplistic and haughty responses to the true wishes of (Nigerians) … has lost a golden opportunity to align itself with the people whose mandate it claims to hold.
“Though they are provoked by, and react to, different aspects of the national crises, both the terrorism of the Boko Haram group and the gallant efforts by the masses and the civil society against the increase in the pump price of oil, are manifestations of a perilous incoherence in the structural composition of Nigeria and the manner in which the country has been, and is being, administered.”
It said Jonathan has been rendered “inarticulate” by the incessant terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram.
The group condemned the “glaring incompetence, corruption and lack of vision” of the Jonathan administration, adding that the government’s shortcomings constitute a threat to the continued existence of Nigeria as a corporate entity.
“In spite of the promises that have been made by the present economic managers, the Nigerian masses and the withered middle-class will continue to experience a life of unrelenting misery unless a new path that encourages a fundamental and holistic restructuring of our national life, including economic and political structures, is stated immediately.”
Others who signed the statement include: Ms. Funmi Iyanda, a popular broadcaster, Dr. Dalhatu Umaru, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Titi Omo-Ettu, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Prof. Segun Gbadegesin of Howard University, Prof. Olufemi Vaughan, Dr. Momofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka, Dr. Chika Unigwe, a writer, Professor Moradewun Adejunmobi, Dr. Victor Isumonah of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Alade Fawole of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mr. Chido Onumah, Dr. Wale Adebanwi, Dr. Pius Adesanmi, Dr. Farooq Kperogi, Dr. Hussaini Jibrin, Prof. Tunde Bewaji, Mr. Laolu Akande, Mr. Chido Onumah, Dr. Ebenezer Obadare, Dr. Nduka Otiono, Mr. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, the Secretary of the Governing council of the Yoruba Academy, Dr. Muoyo Okome, Dr. Ike Anya, Mr. Aderemi Ojikutu, Dr. Baba Adam, Mr. Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo and Dr. Bunmi Aborisade.