Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nigerian President Jonathan, At Police Blast Scene, Urges Calm

Jonathan, At Police Blast Scene, Urges Calm

Saturday, 18 June 2011 00:00 From Madu Onuorah, John-Abba Ogbodo (Abuja), Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Ebere Ameh (Lagos)

PDP, Govs, ACF, Others Decry Violence

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday inspected the scene of the bomb blast at Police Headquarters, Abuja and implored Nigerians to remain calm.

The visit came amid a torrent of criticism that trailed the terrorist act. The blast was condemned, among others, by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Governors of Benue and Kaduna states, Dr Gabriel Suswam and Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa.

Jonathan said he has been meeting with the heads of the nation’s security forces to ensure that such incidents become a thing of the past in the country.

The President, who spoke with journalists after assessing the scene of the carnage, commiserated with the families of the victims, saying he was optimistic that the nation would overcome the ugly trend.

Such dastardly terrorist attacks, he said, are a global phenomenon not peculiar to Nigeria alone, pointing out that “all over the world, nobody is free.”

He said the terrorist act should not be viewed as an attack on the police, but on the entire nation.

Jonathan said although the explosion occurred at the Police Headquarters, “it is not just the IGP that was a target. Everybody is a target of terrorist attacks. I don’t want to make reference to what happened in the United States that they were to crash a plane into the White House. So, terrorists will aim at the top. If they can bomb the President, they will do it.”

The president was given a graphic account of the explosion by the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim. As at the time the president visited, forensic experts were seen conducting investigations.

On its part, the PDP called on the security agencies to rise to the current challenges facing the country. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, the party said: “The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Bello Halliru Mohammed (OFR) on behalf of the National Working Committee of the PDP, wishes to express his shock over the tragic loss of lives and destruction of property following the attack on the Force Headquarters of the Nigerian police in Abuja on 16th June, 2011.

“This attack on the premises of the headquarters of our police force, coming at a time the country is trying to recover from the post election violence, calls for vigilance and further awakening to the dangers facing our nation.

“This incident is a sad reminder of the necessity to redouble our efforts in securing not just our public institutions, but also the ordinary citizen. The PDP condoles the families of those who lost their lives in this carnage and wishes those who were injured speedy recovery.

“The National Chairman wishes to call on all patriotic citizens in the country to join hands with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his avowed commitment to tackle head-on all security challenges facing our country.”

As far as the ACF is concerned, the suicide bombing at the Police Headquarters, coupled with bomb planting in other parts of the country, should be seen as a challenge and must be taken seriously by President Jonathan.

Besides, the Northern elders condemned the unfortunate trend of introducing suicide bombing as part of a ploy by aggrieved Nigerians to redress their problems, saying that the current crisis may worsen the problem of the nation’s socio-economic and political development.

Governor Suswam described the suicide bombing as barbaric. In a statement in Makurdi by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Dr Cletus Akwaya, he said there was no single justification for anybody to resort to such an act of treason in the guise of showing dissent or expressing his opinion.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria we are operating has ample provisions for any aggrieved Nigerian to express his displeasure or air his views on any given situation, but the resort to violence and criminality certainly is not an acceptable way to canvass any opinion,” he said.

Suswam who condoled with the Inspector General of Police, also extended sympathies to the families of all those who lost their loved ones.

Speaking to reporters in Lagos yesterday, he described the IGP’s outburst at Maiduguri, the den of the Boko Haram that he would deal with its members as shakara (empty threat) while the spontaneous response by the sect hours later, is the action.

The lawyer added that if Maiduguri was too far from the seat of government to attract attention, “Louis Edet (Police) House was so close enough to the Presidential Villa, so close to the Supreme Court and the National Assembly to now attract government attention.”

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