ABUJA— Following the increase in the spate of Boko Haram bombings and attacks in the country and seeming inability of security agencies to stop them, retired military generals have scheduled a two-day meeting in Abuja to deliberate on present security challenges and come out with possible solutions to the problems.
The retired generals under the auspices of Alumni Association of National Defence College (ANNDEC) in conjunction with the National Defence College , will converge at the auditorium of the NDC on 24th and 25th, January 2012, to brainstorm on National Military Strategy and serve as a bridge between the current participants at the College and ANNDEC.
Addressing the media on the objectives of the meeting at the weekend, Chairman of the organizing committee and former Guards Brigade Commander, Major General Alexander Mshelbwala (rtd), noted that “It is to bring the experiences of members of the Alumni Association including former Service chiefs, GOC’s, etc, to bear on the academic learning of the participants in order to galvanize them for the daunting work awaiting them in the field with respect to national security”.
Commenting on the importance of the seminar, General Mshelbwala said, “The answer is not far-fetched. The Vanguard for national security is the armed forces since the main purpose for their creation or establishment is for the defence of the territorial integrity of the nation”.
‘In other words, to the armed forces, the survival of the Nigerian nation is not only fundamental but indeed not negotiable. Nonetheless, it is the people that make or unmake the efficacy of the military in this direction. Realizing this therefore, the seminar has been carefully structured to harp on the critical sectors of national endeavours with a view to distilling the security support components inherent in them”, he said.
Meanwhile, after last Friday’s bomb explosion, armed soldiers have been drafted to the troubled city to beef up security in the state. The 24- hour curfew imposed on Friday was still in force, with the exception of those returning to their homes and those searching for lost loved ones.
A source said that corpses continued to arrive at several mortuaries in Kano, including Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Murtala Hospital, and Nassarawa Hospital.
Hundreds of seriously injured victims were also receiving treatment and first aid across the ancient city.
Some corpses were mutilated and others burnt beyond recognition. In some cases, aid workers pieced together torn and scattered body parts before moving them to mortuaries.
A staff of a hospital said that many people besieged his hospital looking for missing relatives or the corpses of those confirmed dead.
“Those who cannot trace their loved ones just fall on the ground and wail,” the source said.
Boko Haram, sect had claimed responsibility for the attacks in a widely circulated paper written in Hausa and released on Friday.
The statement read:
“In the name of Allah, Peace and Mercy! We are the group called ‘forbidden’ that is Boko Haram but we love to call ourselves Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Liddaawati wal Jihad. This message is to all inhabitants of Kano State especially the security agencies, those arresting our brothers and telling the media they are arresting thieves or armed robbers. These are our brothers they are arresting. We don’t have the right to attack those who don’t attack us but our war is with the government fighting Muslims, its security agencies and Christians (under C. A. N), those killing Muslims and even eating their flesh and all those helping security agents even if they are Muslims. Anybody who becomes an accomplice to arresting our brothers should wait for our visit.” The message ended with the words, “Message from Leader Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Liddaawati wal Jihad. Imam Abu Muhammad Abubakar Bin Muhammad (Shekau).”
Three days after the deadliest Boko Haram attacks yet, police in Kano State announced that they had impounded 10 cars laden with explosives. Some of the vehicles were found to have been abandoned by their owners, while another was arrested along with the owner at Gwauron Dutse in the ancient city. On the same day, •Senate President David Mark, speaking on behalf of the leadership of the National Assembly, said laws would be amended to strengthen the fight against terror; •Four Boko Haram suspects were killed in Maiduguri, Borno State; and •A man was shot in the leg at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, on the suspicion of being a terrorist. THISDAY gathered from security sources in Kano that two of the vehicles were abandoned by their owners since last Friday at various locations within Kano metropolis. The Kano attacks, launched simultaneously at eight spots, left nearly 200 persons dead. It was learnt that a Honda Civic car was found abandoned close to the NNPC Mega Station in Hotoro, beside Kano depot, laden with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), while the second car, a Kia, was discovered at Tula in the suburb of Kano by the eastern by pass. The vehicles were evacuated safely from the area by security agents with the help of residents of the area, THISDAY learnt. The third car, which is a Honda Brahma series, was found abandoned on Sunday at Sheka quarters after residents reported the unusual presence of the car since last Friday to security agencies. THISDAY was also informed that the fourth car, a Toyota Camry, was intercepted yesterday during security operative’s wait and search operation at Gwauron Dutse quarters in Kano city. Both the car and its driver were arrested. Items found in the car were: a bullet proof vest, a gun and some chemicals believed to be used in making IEDs. Two brand new Hilux open pick-up vans were also found packed with explosives in the Bompai area of Kano. Special prayers were conducted in mosques throughout Kano yesterday to seek divine intervention in order to prevent recurrence of last Friday’s bomb blasts. Prayers were also said at Kano Central Mosque, led by the Chief Imam of Kano, Professor Sani Zaharadeen. In attendance were the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and all ulamas in the state. “I will pray to God that we should never re-live the catastrophe that resulted in the deaths and maiming in our city,” Kwankwaso said. Bayero told the clerics: “I enjoin you to continue praying for peace and stability in our city. I call upon you to use any religious fora to pray for peace in our land.” David Mark assured Nigerians Monday that the National Assembly would as a matter of urgency revisit the Anti-Terrorism Act, which was passed last year, to give maximum legislative and legal support in the fight against the Boko Haram menace. The law, as it stands, makes prosecution difficult because of the evidence required. Most of the suspects charged to court so far were arraigned under other laws which allow them to be granted bail. Mark promised a review of the law when he led the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and other principal officers of the National Assembly on an on-the-spot-assessment of the damage done by last Friday’s bomb attacks. He consoled the Emir of Kano, the Kano Emirates Council, government and people of the state, assuring them that the perpetrators of the dastardly act would soon be brought to book. He said: “We will do all within our powers to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this anywhere in our country. If there is anything we in the National Assembly can do in terms of taking a second look at the Anti-Terrorism Act, we will go ahead and do it. We will give maximum legislative and legal support so that those who are involved are dealt with. “It’s time for all good men in our country to speak out and condemn this act with all our might and with all our powers. It is also time for our security agencies to double their efforts and prevent such mishaps before they happen.” Meanwhile, police Monday said a suspected Boko Haram militant on Sunday evening killed the registrar of Maiduguri High Court, Baba Loskurima, at his residence within the metropolis. According to the police, the deceased, 47, was attacked at his Tandari residence in Budum ward at about 7pm. Borno State police spokesman, Samuel Tizhe, said: “An unknown gunman approached the house of the High Court registrar at his house and fired severally into Baba’s head and chest with a Kalashnikov rifle, before he fell on the ground and died in front of his wife and children.” In another development, the Field Operations Officer of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Col. Victor Ebhaleme, in a signed press statement, said: “Four members of the Boko Haram sect involved in the killings in Maiduguri and environs and have been under the surveillance of security agencies were shot dead in Pompomari area of Maiduguri yesterday (Sunday).” He disclosed that various IEDs prepared were also recovered from the suspects’ Golf Volkswagen vehicle. He warned members of the public to desist from harbouring members of the sect, adding that any resident that had knowledge of any suspect should immediately report such to the JTF for prompt action in order to save lives and property. At the Ministry of Defence in Abuja, which had been cordoned off since last year over the fear of terror attack, soldiers on duty demobilised a man who is said to have tried to force his way in. It was learnt that passers-by ran for cover, fearing that the man might have been on a suicide bombing mission. The agitated soldiers opened fire on the man who was alleged to have attempted to grab a rifle from one of the soldiers at the entrance gate of the Ministry. It was gathered that it was while the scuffle was going on that another soldier shot the leg of the alleged assailant. A source further disclosed that the injured man is in now in the custody of the Directorate of Military Intelligence where he is said to be undergoing treatment and interrogation.