Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nigerian News Update: Government Says Those Responsible for Attacks Will Pay Dearly

Those Responsible Will Pay Dearly, Says President .

Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
From Isa Abdusalami (Jos), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) News
Nigeria Guardian

32 Died In Explosion In Jos
6 Killed In Attack In Maiduguri
CAN Faults Govt’s Security Plan, Commitment To Peace

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan says the Federal Government will take all necessary action to ensure that those responsible for Friday’s fatal bomb blasts in Jos are brought to justice.

“Government will do everything possible to unearth those behind this unfortunate incident,” the President said at a Christmas day audience with residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), led by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

The warning came as the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdulrahman Akano, has put the number of those killed in the explosion on Friday night at 32 while 74 people are critically injured and are spread in various hospitals in the state for treatment.

More than 40 victims are receiving treatment at the Evangel Hospital in Jos and about the same number at the Jos University Teaching Hospital and the Plateau State Specialist Hospital. Some of the victims’ hands and legs were chopped off in the blasts.

Also, it was a black Christmas in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, as 30 suspected Boko Haram armed sect members attacked the Victory Baptist Church, Alamderi, and the Sinimari Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), killing six people.

Among the dead was Rev. Bulus T. Marwa, 37 and a retired soldier, Mr. Philip Sopso, of the two churches respectively.

In the simultaneous attacks on Friday at about 6.30pm and 7.30pm, the armed men hit the COCIN Church and set ablaze the Dala Baptist Church, before killing its pastor at his official residence with 25 members of the church injured.

In the interim, worried about poor security situation in the country, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has raised an alarm over the continued violence in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

CAN notes that there seems to be a deliberate conspiracy and a hidden agenda by the government and security agencies in dealing with the crisis in Jos.

In a highly worded press statement in Kaduna, signed by its Secretary-General in the state, Rev. Joseph Hayab, the Association said it was suspect for the explosives to find their way into Jos despite the high security presence in the metropolis.

President Jonathan expressed sadness at explosions, which killed many innocent Nigerians, Christians and Muslims alike, in Jos. He also expressed his deepest sympathy with all families, who lost loved ones in the bomb incidents.

Noting that the Christmas season should be one of peace and forgiveness in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the president said that Nigerians must imbibe the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness for progress to be achieved in all parts of the country.

He thanked the delegation, which also included the Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Obadiah Ando, the Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Nuhu Wya, the Senate Leader, Chief Teslim Folarin, and Senator Smart Adeyemi for the visit.

Vice President Sambo had prayed that God Almighty should grant President Jonathan greater strength and wisdom in the discharge of his responsibilities.

Sambo appreciated the tremendous progress, which the nation has achieved within the six months of the president’s tenure and prayed for peaceful and successful elections in 2011, as well as good health for the president and his family.

Dignitaries at the occasion included the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of the Vice President, Hajia Amina Sambo, top civil servants and the FCT chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Israel Akanji.

How Bombs Were Exploded In Jos

Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
From Isa Abdusalami
Nigeria Guardian

.THE pattern of the multiple blasts that killed 32 people and injured 74 on Friday in Jos has emerged.

At Kabong on Zaria Road, there were two explosions in the night. One was near the footbridge and the other was close to the Sacred Catholic Church, Gada Biu, where many people were killed.

At Eto Baba, in Angwan Rukuba, Jos, people were drinking at a beer joint when an unknown person quietly came and threw an explosion in the midst of those drinking. And many of them died when the bomb exploded.

Due to the nature of the explosions, many aggrieved youths were already warming up at Angwan Rukuba for a revenge mission before Governor Jonah Jang came to address them.

The youths were not ready to evacuate the corpses there, saying they wanted the governor to come and see the level of damage and the dead bodies.

However, at Gada Biu, the irate youths quickly went into action, killed about 10 innocent people and burnt vehicles, including a truck loaded with Omo products going towards the northern part of the country.

So, the atmosphere was charged until the governor came to address them that the perpetrators would be fished out and punished accordingly.

The burnt bodies by the irate youths still littered the roads at Gada Biu.

Governor Jang, while addressing the youths, told them to be vigilant and not just go home to sleep. He urged them to form themselves into a vigilante group.

He promised that very soon, the security system in the state would be re-arranged, revealing that he had spoken to both the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major-General Sunday Idoko and the Commander of the Special Task Force, Brigadier-General Hassan Umaru about the matter.

However, in his broadcast to the people of the state yesterday afternoon, Governor Jang said the explosions were not religious but political.

According to him, “among the spots targeted are a church, newly constructed President Goodluck Jonathan flyover at Kabong, the Kabong Satellite market and a social joint at Angwan Buba.”

“As of this morning (yesterday), many dead bodies had been recovered with several injured rushed to hospitals within Jos metropolis.

“My fellow citizens, this, no doubt, is a black Christmas for us on the plateau when we should be celebrating peace.”

The governor said that at an emergency security council meeting, which he summoned on Friday night following the attacks, the security chiefs reviewed the situation and noted, among others, that the attacks in the two communities were carried out simultaneously.

“The aim of the mastermind is to pit Christians against Muslims and spark off another round of violence that will eventually culminate in the scuttling of the ongoing electioneering activities.

“It is also part of a calculated attempt to scuttle the efforts that the state and federal government have taken to consolidate on the peace.

“This sad and ugly development is most condemnable, as its mastermind and merchant of violence, who trade in human pain, anguish and shedding of blood have remained undeterred in their quest for reducing our dear state into one of anarchy.

“The enemies of Plateau State, in their vicious quest, have continued to show hatred and incite animosity among the people based on ethno-religious divides.

“We, the peace loving citizens, however, must rise in unison as one people and say no to violence and blood shed,” he said.

Sheriff, Police Blame DPOs’ Lapses In Maiduguri Attacks

Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri News
Nigeria Guardian

GOVERNOR Ali Modu Sheriff and the Police Command in Borno have blamed the attacks and killings in the state by the extremist Boko Haram sect members on security lapses. Six people, including a pastor and a retired soldier were killed and 25 others injured in the evening attacks at two churches.

Reacting to the attacks and killings, Governor Sheriff declared: “It is very unfortunate and sad for the Christian community to be attacked and killed without any genuine cause.

“Prior to these attacks and killings, I alerted the police and other security agencies in the state to take no chances of any reprisals from the outlawed sect members.”

Similarly, the Borno police commissioner, Mohammed Abubakar, told The Guardian that: “Yes, we confirmed the serial and coordinated attacks and killings on the two Churches.

“It is very unfortunate at this time of the Christmas season for the outlawed sect members to launch fresh attacks and killings on innocent citizens of this state without any cause.”

Abubakar said the armed sect members could have been arrested, if the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) had heeded his warnings on the planned attacks by the rampaging sect members that resurfaced two weeks after the Zinnari community attacks where one was shot in the leg.

He said the police divisions had enough patrol vehicles to have prevented the attacks.

Sheriff stated that the attacks could have been prevented, “if the police had heeded my security advice.”

At Sinimari COCIN Church, the gate and the walls of the church were riddled with dozens of bullets, after armed attackers in two vehicles killed the security guard, Mr. Sopso, 60.

The church was not set ablaze, but a local bomb detonated shattered one of the entrances to the church.
The attackers, believed to be 30, however, went straight into the Victory Baptist Church and set it ablaze.

Not satisfied with the burning of the church, five armed gunmen, according to Mr. Danjuma Akawu, allegedly fired at two choir members, Philip Luka, 22 and Paul Mathew, 21, killing both on the spot.

Akawu added that a tea vendor, Yohanna Adamu, 26, and Christopher Balami, 50, a lecturer at the Ramat Polytechnic, were not spared by the armed sect.

“They hacked the two to death, using knives and petro bombs before heading to the pastor’s official residence where he was also killed.”

Akawu said that the serial attacks and killings were, however, caused by the lapses of the police and other security agents, alleging that whenever they complained to the police for protections, they would give many excuses for not patrolling the street on which the church was built.

He said: “Until government and security agencies take drastic measures, the outlawed Boko Haram sect members could continue to be attacking the Christian community and other innocent citizens.”

He said the attacks were a repeat of the February 18, 2006 sectarian crises that claimed over 57 lives with the razing down of 21 churches.

CAN Calls For Thorough Probe

Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna News
Nigeria Guardian

CHRISTIAN Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for thorough investigation into the deadly blasts in Jos on Friday.

The Association says the explosions came so soon at a time of throwing political invectives by the country’s political actors in bids for political power.

“There is no smoke without fire and the cause and effect relationship between such comments must be investigated thoroughly,” CAN declared in a strong statement by its Secretary-General in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph Hayab.

The statement reads: “We received the news of the bomb explosions in Jos, Plateau State on Friday, 24th December 2010 and the killing of innocent Nigerians with shock and dismay.

“Shock at the porous nature of the security of the country at this critical time ahead of the declarations of security commitment by security chiefs, assuring Nigerians of utmost security and claims that they are on top of our security challenges.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria is concerned as it has always stated on how lives of Nigerians will be taken for granted on baseless and unjustifiable reasons with impunity. It is on this premise that CAN is making the following observations.

“There seems to be a deliberate conspiracy or a hidden agenda by both government and security agencies in dealing with the ethno-religious crises rocking Jos, Plateau State for almost ten years without a cogent action or resolution to put the menace at bay.

“Suffice to say, there is something about the problem that is not known to Nigerians or being concealed if known by the security agencies. We wonder how explosives and other armour will be ferried to the state without security breach or compromise.

“Common sense will dictate that with the heavy presence of both uniformed and plain security operatives in the state such movement cannot go undetected. That it went ‘undetected’ means that there is some collusion between the security agents and the perpetrators.

“Security agencies must convince Nigerians that there is no security lapses or they are not shielding sacred cows, as far as the Jos menace is concerned. The litany of killing in the state calls for worry and better explanation is needed for Nigerians to know and understand the whole puzzle.

“Perpetrators of such a wicked act irrespective of religion, ethnicity, and political inclinations must be fished out and be made to face the law and be punished severely in accordance with the provisions of the law.

“This will not only overcome such occurrences, but will serve as a deterrent to prospective perpetrators and prevent any thoughts of a reprisal attack which we do not support.”

CAN called on security agencies to immediately overhaul these anomalies and act swiftly for the stability of the country, and preserving its sovereignty.

Specifically, the Association noted that, “we are ahead of a critical time in our national life going by the preparations of the 2011 general elections,” and we must ensure that security and stability of the country was preserved to the highest order without compromise.

“And these explosions must be investigated and the culprits brought to book no matter how lowly or highly placed they may be,” it said.

Police Foil Assassination Plot

Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki News
Nigeria Guardian

WHAT could have ended as yuletide tragedy was averted in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital when more than six armed and masked men stormed the residence of former State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Henry Alo, at Liberation Estate, Abakaliki.

The Police also foiled a politically motivated crisis in Afikpo council area of the state as supporters of rival groups clashed over distribution of Christmas munificence from the council chairman.

According to the former Commissioner, who narrated the failed assassination plot to newsmen, the men broke into his home through the rear perimeter fence separating the estate from adjoining private buildings at about 9.15 pm, searching for him and his wife.

Alo, who was the personal physician to the former Governor, Dr. Sam Egwu, noted that but for the timely arrival of the Police, he would not be alive to celebrate the Christmas, saying that he was still at a loss on why some people should be after his life almost four years after he buried his political ambition to contest the governorship of the state.

He recalled how about eight weeks ago, he received a message on his phone with the warning that “we will surely get at you no matter when” pointing out that the phone number has remained silent ever since.

In Afikpo north council, supporters of the Commissioner for Education, Hyacinth Ikpor and former Special Adviser to Governor Egwu on Petroleum Matters, Mudi Erhenede, clashed at the premises of the council headquarters over the sharing of Christmas gifts from the Council Chairman, Tony Ekoh.

The minor squabble nearly escalated into a full blown battle between the two political camps, when one of the parties allegedly organised some of his boys to chase out non-indigenes from the council area, saying that the fight at the council headquarters was part of a long plan by his opponent to stall his rising political profile.

Police Nab 19 Suspected Kidnappers, Robbers .

Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri News
Nigeria Guardian

Places N1 million Reward For Information

THE Imo State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Maishunu, at the weekend in Owerri, paraded about 16 out of 19 suspected kidnappers and armed robbers who were arrested by officers of the command recently.

About 12 AK 47 rifle magazines, vehicles and ammunitions were recovered from the hoodlums. Three suspected kidnappers in the gang of the recently killed kidnap kingpin Obioma, a.k.a Osisikankwu in Aba, were among those arrested in Imo. Parading the suspects, Maishanu, who was worried by the spate of kidnapping, robbery and other forms of criminality in the state, disclosed that Governor Ikedi Ohakim has mandated him to announce a cash reward of N1 million to any person who gives correct information that could lead to arrest of any kidnapper or armed robber in any part of the state, adding that such informant would be protected.

Said he: “I have the mandate of Governor of Imo State, Chief Dr. Ikedi Ohakim to announce that a cash reward of one million N (N 1 m) shall be given to anyone with useful information that leads to the subsequent arrest of a kidnapper, armed robber, or the recovery of firearms. Let me assure the general public that every such information will be treated with utmost confidentiality.”

Other arms and stolen vehicles recovered by the police, Maishanu said included, one Nissan Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), with registration number Lagos TL 299 KJA, one Camry XLE car with registration number AH 451 BRR, one pump action rifle with number P.627457, one German made revolver pistol with defaced number, one cut to size locally made gun, one cut to size double barrel number 092711510, 19 live cartridges, GSM handsets and one expended cartridge. Others include one G. 3 rifle magazine with four rounds of ammunition, 10 single barrel guns, 12 double guns, four locally made pistols, one Carina wagon vehicle with registration number BT 126 KRD among others.

He announced names of the suspected late Osisikankwu’s gang members who have been transferred to the Joint Task Force in Abia as Chinedu Obiefule, from Abia State, Uzoma Nwankwo alias Search of Umura Ogwa, and Daberechi Ezekiel of Ngwa, Abia State.

Two persons suspected to have murdered retired Assistant corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Dr. Adol Nwachukwu and another Chukwuemeka Nneji, he disclosed, are Ifeanyi Njoku and Ibezim Anyanwu.

One Obinna Okoro was arrested for being in possession of a substance suspected to be weeds stocked in eight polythene black bags, he said.

On the preparedness of his men to face next year’s elections, he disclosed that a good number of officers and men were undergoing training on rudiments and application of the Electoral Law, electoral offences, crowd control and intelligence gathering.

While stating that the command had initiated aggressive neighbourhood policing, Maishanu warned that unauthorized persons moving in vehicles blaring sirens will be dealt with accordingly.

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