Abuja — What could have led to one of the bloodiest Easter celebrations in recent times in Gombe State was averted, yesterday, as operatives of the State Security Service(SSS) discovered 60 Improvised Explosive Devices planted in different locations at the British Cotton Ginnery Area (BCGA) of the metropolis.
They were programmed to explode yesterday, the eve of Easter Friday.
Policemen from bomb disposal unit of Kano State Police Command packing defused home made bombs made from cans of soft drinks. I
Gombe State Director of SSS, Mr Bitrus Asha, disclosed at a briefing that four suspects were arrested over the intended attack following a tip-off while one suspect escaped.
Asha explained that the suspects, who were paraded before newsmen were arrested between 12 noon and 1.30 P.M.
He said: "As you can see, there are a lot of explosives, numbering about 60 prepared in tins, ready for detonation. So we are lucky that the tins were recovered and you are even advised not to go near the items with your handsets. Very soon, the items will be defused. We are lucky that we have made the recovery."
Asked if the suspects were attempting to detonate the bombs somewhere, he said: "Definitely, going by experiences, they were meant to be detonated and we have information on that plan."
Mr. Asha could not however confirm whether the suspects were natives or residents of Gombe when asked, insisting that it was too early to know who they were but that they were hoodlums who never wanted peace to exist in the state. He added that investigations were still on-going, and that "it is only investigation that could prove to us whether they are sect members or not."
The director said that officers and other personnel of the service had reinforced patrol in the state capital to avert any untoward incident.
The incident has sparked off unprecedented tension and panic within the metropolis as residents were scared to venture out of their homes.
Governors demand more money to fight terrorism
Meanwhile, 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, NGF, yesterday rose from a meeting in Abuja with a call for an increased funding to address the problem of terrorism.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting held at the Rivers State Governor's Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja last night, the governors noted that the move has become imperative for them as state chief security officers.
The governors also demanded a more effective cooperation between the states and the Federal government on the issue of insecurity especially against the backdrop of bombings and killings by an Islamic sect in some parts of the country.
According to the Rivers State Governor and NGF Chairman, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who read the communique, the governors came up with the demands after they were briefed by the National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi.
The Chairman of the Forum disclosed that after the governors were briefed by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Joint Tax Board Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, the governors who commended Omoigui- Okauru for her efforts, however revisited the issue of revenue allocation formula, just as they insisted on the recommendations of a committee set up to address the problem. He added that the committee came up with a revenue formula which proposed 35%, 42% and 23% for Federal, states and local governments respectively.
The communiqué read in part: "The Forum deliberated extensively on the continuing unconstitutional deductions by the Federal Government from the Federation Account in the name of oil subsidy which negates the principles of federalism and budgetary provisions. It noted that despite the increase in pump price of petrol, the quantum of subsidy deduction is still worrisome. The Forum accordingly constituted a committee to meet with Mr. President.
"Following briefing by the National Security Adviser, the Forum reiterated the need for closer cooperation between the States and Federal Government in addressing security challenges, noting also the necessity for increased empowerment of the state governors to perform their role as chief security officers in their respective states.
"The Forum considered the current revenue allocation formula of the country and reiterated its commitment to its earlier report that proposed among others, the following revenue allocation formula: Federal 35%, State 42%, & Local Government 23%.
"Noting the urgency of the need to completely eradicate polio from Nigeria, which remains among the last three polio endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Forum renewed its commitment to a holistic approach to polio eradication. It specifically agreed that for maximum effect, deputy governors should take charge of State Task Force on polio eradication.
"After listening to a comprehensive presentation on Tax Matters with particular focus on the unique Tax Identification Number, the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2011 and other actions designed to increase revenue at the state level by Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Joint Tax Board (JTB), the Forum thanked her and commended Mrs. Okauru's exemplary and distinguished service to the nation, wishing her the best in her future endeavours".
No cause for alarm - JTF
Meanwhile, the Joint Military Taskforce, JTF, in Kano has declared that security forces are on top of the situation in the city stressing that there would be no cause for alarm during and after the Easter celebrations in the state and its environs.
JTF spokesman, Lt Ikediche Iweha told Vanguard in an interview yesterday that the security outfit had made tremendous progress in its war against terror in the city, pointing out that strategy had been adopted to sustain the tempo.
"We have made serious in-roads in our quest to contain terrorists and their extremist tendencies in Kano; and we have every reason to beat our chests that we are on top of the situation," Lt Ikediche Iweha said.
Iweha said that Kano like any other part of the country needed peace to realize its potential, adding that the JTF was doing its "best to ensure we put paid to the menace of extremists for good."
He then asked the residents to remain law abiding in the course of their daily activities as according to him, their support and cooperation were vital to the overall success of the war against the menace.
On the reports by a section of the press over anticipated terror attacks on Kano during the Easter, Iweha described it as a figment of their imagination.
"I must make it clear that I never suggested of plan by any terrorist group to unleash mayhem in the city during the lenten period," Iweha said, pointing out that the military understood the economic importance of Kano in the overall economic development of the country and the sub- Saharan Africa, that could only "flourish in an atmosphere of peace and stability"