.IGP vows to arrest killers, panel meets Boko Haram leaders
• Jonathan cancels Namibia trip, meets with service chiefs, others
• Doctor shot over rejection of 22 policemen’s bodies
• Reps seek probe, NLC decries govt’s response
AS the death toll in the attacks on security operatives in Lafia, Nasarawa State, rose to 30 Thursday, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, vowed to arrest the killers and bring them to book.
The Nasarawa State Police Commissioner, Abayomi Akeremale, said Thursday that the death toll had hit 30 and that all the bodies had been recovered.
Besides, all the 25 members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North yesterday met with 40 Boko Haram commanders and operatives at the Kuje Minimum Security Prison, on the outskirts of Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Among the Boko Haram terror suspects the presidential panel met with was the alleged 2011 Christmas day bombing mastermind at Madalla, Niger State, Kabiru Sokoto. The committee members held a one-on-one discussion for over three hours with the imprisoned terror suspects.
Recalling the recent killing of policemen in Bayelsa and Borno states, the IGP directed all the field commanders and special units, including assistant inspectors-general of police and commissioners of police, to harness all resources available within their domains in ensuring that the reign of terror and lawlessness was brought to an end.
In a statement in Abuja by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer (DFPRO), Frank Mba, the force high command said that it received the news of the “unprovoked and brutal killing of scores of policemen who were on legitimate assignment in Nasarawa State” Thursday morning.
He said that this “disturbing, condemnable and highly distressing incident, coming closely after the ones in Bayelsa and Borno states, has thrown up new and emerging threat on the part of policing our country.”
According to the statement, the IGP considers the attack as not just on the Nigeria Police and its officers and men but on the collective will of Nigerians to protect and preserve the integrity of the country. “This we have vowed to put an end to. We must put an end to this endless circle of impunity,” the IGP said.
“The Nigeria Police Force working in conjunction with all positive-minded Nigerians will do everything within its powers to fish out and bring to book all those involved in this and other similar killings of law enforcement agents”, he added.
Scores of policemen were reportedly killed in Nasarawa State on Wednesday by suspected militants. The killings in Bayelsa and Borno states are yet to be unravelled.
The rising insecurity has made President Goodluck Jonathan to cancel his scheduled two-day official visit to Namibia.
A statement by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, noted that in view of recent developments at home in Nigeria, Jonathan had to cut short his visit to South Africa and aborted his state visit to Namibia which was due to start Thursday.
According to the statement, “the President is returning to Abuja immediately to personally oversee efforts by national security agencies to contain the fresh challenges to national security which have emerged this week in Borno, Plateau and Nasarawa states.”
He noted that the President would on arrival meet with the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, Inspector-General of Police and heads of national security services to review the security situation in the country.
The House of Representatives yesterday called for the institution of a judicial panel of enquiry to probe the Lafia killings. While condoling with the Nasarawa State government and families of the late security operatives, the House urged the authorities at both the state and federal levels to explore dialogue with the warring parties to achieve lasting peace.
The lawmakers, who observed a minute silence in honour of the slain, further urged the authorities to adequately compensate security operatives that met their untimely death in the hands of the assailants.
Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Vice President, Issa Aremu and other labour leaders yesterday expressed concern over the handling of the state of affairs in the country by Jonathan.
They urged him to bring to order those undermining the security of the nation and subverting the democratic process.
Aremu, Chairman of the Kaduna Branch of NLC, Adamu Ango and other Labour chiefs, converged on Kaduna yesterday, as they condemned the recent comments of the leader of Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo and the crisis within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which they believed, could subvert the democratic political process in the country.
Though the rally by the Labour in Kaduna was to protest against the 19 northern governors who unceremoniously suspended an earlier scheduled meeting yesterday on the comatose state of industry in the North, they also used the occasion to speak their minds against Jonathan’s leadership style in the handling of political, economic and social affairs in Nigeria.
Besides, piqued by the “outright rejection” of 22 bodies of slain policemen at Bama in Borno State by the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) mortuary authorities yesterday, a medical doctor was shot in the leg, while the hospital laboratories were also allegedly destroyed by the police at 10.35 a.m.
An attendant said that the mortuary was already filled up and could not contain the bodies of the slain policemen brought from Bama on Wednesday.
The Spokesman of Borno State Police Command, Gideon Jibrin, confirmed yesterday’s incident, but added that normalcy had returned to the hospital.
Jibrin said: “Yes, there was a police rampage at the UMTH. The professor, (referring to the Chief Medical Director, Tahir Othman) called me on the development, but as I am talking to you now, the situation is under control, as normalcy has been restored and the people are going about their normal businesses.”
Arewa elders yesterday condemned the killing of policemen in Lafia, saying that the Federal Government must act on the state of lawlessness in the country before it degenerated.
The statement by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, said that the security challenge facing the nation needed prompt intervention by government, adding that “the reported ambush of police and SSS by the Ombatse worshippers in Lafia Local Council of Nasarawa State which resulted in the loss of 23 officers and eight vehicles is tantamount to revolting.”
On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alexander S. Badeh, has identified unemployment and poverty as the major security threat in the country.
Badeh, who spoke in Vimtim, his village in Mubi-North Local Council of Adamawa State during the final football match of the maiden edition of the former Falli Local Council championship competition, said that the aim of the fiesta was to engage the youths in activities that could take them away from evil acts.
Also, the Archbishop of Lagos Province and Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Adebayo D. Akinde, condemned last Tuesday’s attack on Bama town in Borno State, where 55 people were reportedly killed.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian on the forthcoming first session of the third Synod of the church slated for May 16, 2013 at St. Jude’s Cathedral, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, the Archbishop of Lagos Province, who equally expressed his displeasure at the Baga attack, described the two separate incidents as a declaration of war on the Nigerian nation. He called on the Federal Government to check the crises.
“The incessant killings by diverse freelance armed non-state actors like Islamic fundamentalists and other fringe insurgents, of operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in the last two years with increased frequency this year, is symptomatic of a policing institution that is bereft of effective fighting and law enforcement mentality and defective in leadership. It is also a clear evidence that the current holder of office of Inspector- General of Police has no logical reason to remain a day longer in office since he has systematically failed.”
Also, in a statement by the National Co-ordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs, Zainab Yusuf, of the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), they canvassed judicial probe into what it called “unwholesome and atrocious criminal acts” of systematic decimation and killing of police operatives.