Thursday, June 23, 2011

Doubts Rage Over 'Who' Carried Out the Nigerian Police Headquarters Bombing

Doubts rage over ‘who’ in Abuja bombing .

Thursday, 23 June 2011 00:00
Nigerian Guardian
From John-Abba Ogbodo, Abuja John Ogiji (Minna), Anietie Akpan, (Calabar), and Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin)

Don’t jump to conclusions, says Ringim, deploys bomb experts in states

THE cloud over last Thursday’s bombing of the Police Headquarters in Abuja is thickening as the High Command has retracted its assertion that a “lone suicide bomber” was responsible for the terror attack.

A foreign media outfit had yesterday quoted Force Police spokesman, Mr. Olusola Amore, as saying that the incident was still being investigated and that the “suicide bomber theory” no longer holds.

He was quoted as saying: “We are correcting the report about the fact that it is (a) suicide bombing.”

At the Louis Edet House, where the alleged suicide bomber in a car and traffic warden died in the incident, 30 vehicles were burnt and 43 others damaged.

Amore allegedly distributed a press statement to journalists and refused to take questions from them.

But when The Guardian contacted Amore last night, he denied issuing any press statement, adding that the report that the police had retracted its statement should be discountenanced.

Amore said it was only the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim that addressed the press on the blast yesterday.

The Police had said shortly after the attack that it was a suicide bomb, linking it to the Boko Haram sect, which has claimed responsibility for several bombing cases in some northern states.

At the rescheduled meeting Ringim had with senior officers yesterday in Abuja, he appealed for patience and advised against jumping into conclusion on what kind of bomb exploded at the building. He denied receiving the suspected bomber in his house.

The Guardian learnt that the police chiefs recommended the mass deployment of personnel from the anti-terrorism and anti-bomb squads to Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Katsina and other vulnerable states. They also agreed that intelligence should be improved upon in such vulnerable areas. A minute silence was observed in honour of the deceased.

The meeting sent condolences to all police officers and others who died or suffered injuries during the incident.

The police said they were working out more strategies to confront the menace.

Ringim said the meeting was essentially to assess the menace of bombings in the country and work out fresh security strategies to check the terror attacks.

“We invited you this afternoon (yesterday) to share with you the experience of the last blast as well as to afford you the opportunity to look at the totality of the damage caused by the blast and also draw some lessons,’’ he said.

He stressed that as senior police officers, the police high command felt that they could make meaningful contributions towards improving security in the country.

“As senior police officers of the Nigeria Police Force, we invited you to this meeting because officers with years of experience in law enforcement, we sincerely believe that you have a lot of contributions to make in our efforts to chart a course that will make us rise to the challenge. Taking cognisance of the situation, there is certainly an urgent need to review the current security situation in the country as well as plan how the police and other law enforcement agencies will tackle it,’’ he noted.

He commended them for the new security blueprint worked out in the last 24 hours and assured that it would be implemented. “You have spent the last 24 hours reviewing what we have on the ground and proffered solutions that will ensure as well as guarantee the security of the nation now and in future. I have seen the wonderful work that your various committees have put up and I am indeed, pleased to announce that, God willing, we will adhere to some of your recommendations so that we can move forward,’’ Ringim assured.

He pleaded with Nigerians not to jump to conclusion on the nature of bombing until the outcome of the investigation saying, “let me start by correcting the report about the fact that it is suicide bombing. Investigation has not been concluded to confirm the motive as to whether it is suicide bomb or time bomb or otherwise,’’ he cautioned.

Ringim also commended President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan for their support during the incident.

“As you are aware, this is a period that is very critical for the Nigeria Police Force. I want to take this opportunity to condole the county and the police force over the loss of our gallant people in the last explosion. Particularly, I want to condole the family of the late ASP Dangtan Nagour, the gallant officer that lost his life in order to save us all.”

In the renewed efforts to beef up security in the country, soldiers in Cross River State are now on the alert as officers and men of the 13 Brigade in Calabar have embarked on exercises targeted at foiling any terror attack.

As part of the operations, the Brigade yesterday conducted a mock exercise code-named “Exercise Ciwon Baya,” meaning “Pain in the neck” at its headquarters, 13 Brigade, Akim.

Commander of the Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Shehu Yusuf said the exercise was routine, noting that “this particular exercise is to put up a mock scenario of crisis and for our staff and officers to experiment on our skill to contain the situation not necessarily at the war front. We as soldiers, we must constantly be on the alert so that we are not cut napping.”

Kaduna-based human rights activist, Shehu Sani has blamed the Federal Government over the activities of the Boko Haram, saying that the government’s attitude of trying to pleasing every group that takes up arms against it and Nigerians gave birth to the group.

In an interview with journalists in Minna, Niger State yesterday, Sani said the government had made militancy and terrorism attractive since it budgeted a large sum of money for the repented militants of the Niger Delta in the name of amnesty, stressing that it would only be fair if treatment given to the militants in the oii-rich South-South was extended to the Boko Haram group.

Also, the Action Alliance (AA) in Lagos has identified the display of ill-gotten wealth by some Nigerians as the remote cause of the violence in the country.

Senator Suleiman Salawu, AA National Chairman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that to check violence, the Jonathan administration must ensure that the “unreasonable display of ill-gotten wealth is stopped.

``The various kidnappings, robbery and the Boko Haram atrocities are reactions to the political, economic and social oppressions experienced by the masses from the domineering capitalists and political class in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Similarly, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, has said the plurality of religions and culture in Nigeria should not be seen as a curse but a veritable tool that could be used for the positive growth of the nation.

Oloyede, who received the Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN), Sunday Makinde yesterday in Ilorin, lambasted those using the plurality factor for egocentric tendencies, warning that such should be jettisoned if the nation would match the pace of progress of other developing countries.

Makinde said he would continue to savour the warm reception accorded him by the vice-chancellor.

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