The new national security adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), yesterday visited Jos, the Plateau State capital and Katsina State where he called for dialogue to end the spate of security challenges in the country.
Dasuki, who spoke in Jos during a meeting with stakeholders in Plateau State, said that he was planning to meet with the Boko Haram group to let them see the need to cease fire and embrace dialogue as soon as possible.
According to him, he was in Plateau for on-the-spot assessment of the security challenge and in furtherance of the federal government's peace efforts, particularly across the northern part of the country.
He expressed confidence that the people of Plateau could put their problems behind them and forge ahead with genuine peace and reconciliation.
Dasuki said: "I have a stake in Plateau because I lived in Pankshin and Jos when my father resided here. So if we lived peacefully way back then, it is possible to go back to those good old days.
"Before now, it was difficult for me to believe that you could see a Fulani man and a Berom man together on the street of Plateau fighting.
" But the presence of various ethnic and religious groups at this parley is a pointer to the fact that we want to forge ahead."
In his remarks, Governor Jonah Jang regretted that the emergency rule in the state had not achieved the intended effect as the attacks on the affected local government areas had continued unabated.
On dialogue with Boko Haram, Jang said that it was difficult to dialogue with the group since its leaders and members were not known, he therefore urged the group to come out and identify itself.
Said the governor: "We only hear that Boko Haram claimed responsibility for this and that attack but we never heard anybody coming out to say he was Boko Haram.
"We know the Niger Delta militants had leaders and the cause they were fighting for, which made the late President Yar'Adua succeed with the amnesty programme but who is Boko Haram?"
Jang alleged that some influential people were behind the sect in view of the sophistication of its operations and insisted that the sponsors must be dealt with by the appropriate authority.
In his remarks, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bitrus Kaze, alleged insincerity and lack of will on the part of the government to implement various reports on Jos crises.
"In the last 10 years, no single person has been convicted for the crisis on the Plateau. So what you have is a situation whereby the assailants have become hardened and continued to carry on with the attacks with impunity," he stated.
The parley had in attendance traditional, religious and community leaders, heads of security services, women, youth groups, and government functionaries, among others.
Meanwhile, the new NSA Sambo Dasuki has decried the current security challenges facing the nation especially in the north, saying that measures were being taken to address the situation.
Speaking yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to Katsina State governor Ibrahim Shema, the NSA said "what is happening in the north is not something anyone will be proud of".
"We are in Katsina to listen to the state's concerns to and offer full support to the government in ensuring that peace is sustained," he said. "While we are addressing areas with problems, we don't want new ones to come up."
Dasuki said that his visit was part of measures to offer support and cooperation to the state.
Responding, Governor Shema decried the current threats to security of life and property in the country.
Shema, who regretted that economic activities in some states have frozen to zero level, said: "It is good that concerted efforts are being made to address the security challenges. What is necessary and required in Nigeria today is the healing process.
We will connect with you and we will do the same thing to encourage healing among our people."
The NSA also held a closed-door meeting with Emir of Katsina Abdulmumin Usman Kabir for about 15 minutes.
Bomb explosion injures 4 in Kaduna
At least four were injured when an improvised explosive device exploded in Mararabar Jos, along the Kaduna-Zaria expressway.
Though the assistant director, Army public relations of 1 Mechanised Division, Colonel Sani Usman, said only one person received injuries, residents said about four people were affected.
The explosion is coming just three days into the week-long Army Day celebration in army formations in Jaji and Kaduna.
When LEADERSHIP visited the place, men and officers of the Nigerian Army had cordoned off the area.
Malam Aminu, a resident, told LEADERSHIP that the substance was planted by unknown persons by the roadside.
He said, "As I am talking to you, about four people have been injured and have been taken to hospitals."
Col. Usman, who confirmed the incident, said: "An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in the early afternoon at Walkatabu Road, at Mararaban Jos, along the Kaduna-Zaria express road."
He said there was no causality, but confirmed that one person was injured but receiving treatment in the hospital and recuperating.
He said soldiers had been drafted to the area and had cordoned off the area, while assuring residents of their safety and that of their property.
He, however, solicited the collaboration of the populace with useful information whenever persons or groups and their movements are suspected, or any information that will assist the security agents in checkmating the activities of terrorists.
Insecurity'll soon end - Shettima
In a related development, Borno State governor Kashim Shettima has expressed optimism that the security challenges in Borno and Kano states will soon be a thing of the past.
Shettima was quoted as having said this in a statement by the director of press and public relations to Kano State governor, Alhaji Halilu Dantiye.
It said Shettima made the remarks when he visited his Kano State counterpart, Dr Rabi'u Kwankwaso, in Kano.
According to the statement, Shettima was in Kano to sympathise with Kwankwaso over the death of Sen. Usman Al-Bishir, who died in an auto crash along the Kano-Zaria expressway on Monday.
It quoted Shettima as saying that normalcy would soon return to the affected areas following the security measures being put in place.
"We have witnessed some element of calmness in the past couple of weeks in the affected areas and, with the approach of the Ramadan period, we hope and pray that peace and normalcy will return to the areas.
"We are also in Kano to identify with Kwankwaso's solid achievements within one year in office, especially in the area of poverty alleviation and the establishment of the North-West University," the statement said.
Responding, Kwankwaso expressed appreciation for the condolence visit and described Al-Bashir's death as a great loss to the family, Borno State and the country as a whole.
He stressed the need for prayers to God to guide leaders in running the affairs of the states and the country.
US restricts citizen's movement in Nigeria
The United States government has reiterated the restriction of its officials in Nigeria from going to places of worship and commercial places.
This was made known by the US Mission in Nigeria that issued an emergency message to inform citizens of the United States of potential threats against U.S. installations in Nigeria.
The US Embassy, in the notice issued on Tuesday night, said that it was working with the government of Nigeria to implement additional security measures, stressing that it would also be open to the public.
"Individuals visiting the US Embassy are advised to remain alert and bring to the attention of U.S. and/or Nigerian authorities any suspicious activities, or seemingly 'out of place' objects, including unattended packages," the embassy said.
It said that all US government personnel in Abuja should continue to be restricted from going to places of worship and all commercial establishments adjacent to any place of worship.
"The security situation in Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable at the moment. The U.S. Mission in Nigeria, therefore, strongly urges U.S. citizens in Nigeria to be mindful of their personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their planning"
"US citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria are strongly advised to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to contact you in case of emergency," it added.
FG blames arms inflow on Gaddafi's mercenaries
In a related development, the federal government has said that arms and ammunition taken by loyalists of ousted Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi from Libya to the Agadez region of Niger Republic are finding their way into northern Nigeria and, thus, aiding the Boko Haram sect in destructive activities.
Minister of interior Comrade Abba Morro, who stated this when he received in his office, a delegation of security experts from the United Nations on Libya, blamed part of the challenges that have bedeviled the country on the return of Nigerians who served as mercenaries in the Libyan army into the country through the country's northern borders .
He said: "It is believed by government that part of the problems that we have today, the challenges of internal security, stemmed from the activities in Libya.
"It is indeed an open secret that, even though we did not share a common border with Libya, arms and weapons have found their way into Nigeria from Libya. Given the accompanying porosity of our borders, the arms from Libya have found their way into Nigeria."
Morro, who said that terrorism was fast becoming a global phenomenon, noted that, with the death of Gaddafi, the first phase of Libya's problem was over.
Assuring the security experts that Nigeria, as a member of UN was ready to adhere to any decision taken by the body on Libya.
The minister, who acknowledged that the nation had about 480 irregular border crossings in its 4,500-kilometre borders with Niger and Chad republics, pledged Nigeria's strict adherence to outlined policies and laws.
He said: "These illegal crossings are witnessing inflow of arms and we are trying our best to check it. We know it's a dangerous phenomenon and we are bent on controlling it. The arms are highly sophisticated going by the advanced nature of Gaddafi's armoury."
Earlier, the head of the delegation, Mr. Salim Raad, told the minister that the visit was aimed at helping them obtain reports of crucial findings on the Libya crisis, if any, to aid them in the compilation of its expected result-oriented findings.