Twenty-four hours after former president Olusegun Obasanjo and military president General Ibrahim Babangida raised the alarm over growing insecurity in the country, gunmen yesterday attacked the Zaria residence of the vice president, Namadi Sambo, and injured two police guards.
The development came just as multiple bombs rocked Sokoto, the capital of the Caliphate, for the first time, with attacks on the AIG's office and two police stations. A total of five people died in the attacks.
An exchange of gun fire that lasted almost an hour between gunmen and the officers of the Nigeria Police stationed at the family house of Vice-president Sambo in Zaria led to death of a cobbler.
The gunmen, who killed the shoe cobbler and injured two police officers on duty at Sambo's family house located along Baba Ahmed Street, Tudun-Wada, Zaria local government area of Kaduna State, also shot sporadically to scare people away from the scene.
An eyewitness told LEADERSHIP in Zaria that the incident happened when the gunmen who were on a motorcycle attacked the house and engaged the police officers in physical combat, injuring the two police officers in the process. The attackers also engaged in sporadic shootings, killing a cobbler who was mending the officers' shoes.
The suspected gunmen allegedly snatched a rifle from the officer and fled from the scene.
The eyewitness added that the other police officers were shot on shoulders while the shoe cobbler died on the spot.
The injured victims were later rushed to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, for medical attention.
Confirming the incident, the police public relations officer (PPRO) Kaduna State Police Command's, DSP Abubakar Balteh, said that investigation into the matter was ongoing.
Meanwhile, the VP's family house, which had also suffered severe damage during the 2011 post-presidential election violence by irate youths of the area, has been placed under tight security.
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that Baba-Ahmed Street where the house is located was immediately barricaded by the heavy military personnel immediately after the gun battle.
In Sokoto, meanwhile, a police corporal, two suspected suicide bombers and a hair dresser died yesterday following attacks by suicide bombers.
The alleged attackers were said to have struck simultaneously at the office of the AIG, Zone 10, a Police Officers' Wives Association (POWA) shop, Marina and Unguwar Rogo police stations in Sokoto, which also injured eight policemen and a civilian.
The AIG, Zone 10, Sokoto, Muhtari Ibrahim, who confirmed the development, said the corporal and the suspected suicide bomber died during the attack on his office.
He added that five offices and other parts of the one-storey building, the gate, the nearby Marina police station and some neighbouring houses were shattered .
According to him, the suicide bomber who attacked his office drove a Honda Accord car and forced his way into the premises after he was denied entry.
Ibrahim claimed that only the dead suicide bomber was in the vehicle.
He solicited the support of the members of the public to check the trend by providing the security agencies with useful information.
The official vehicle of the AIG Zone 10 was also damaged .
Confirming the Unguwar Rogo police station attack, DCP Kudu Nma said the alleged attacker could not gain access into the police station .
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the state police command, DSP Sani Salisu, confirmed the death of the fourth person, a woman who ran a hair-dressing salon, as a result of the attack at the POWA shop near Unguwar Rogo police station.
According to an eyewitness, the first happened about 11am at Marina AIG Zone 10 office, while the second suicide attempt occurred just three minutes away from the first, outside the police station's premises, killing passers-by.
The Marna AIG attack was caused by a man riding a Mercedes Benz 190 V-Boot, who rammed into the building and caused a powerful blast that destroyed the entire building.
At Unguwan Rogo station, eyewitness said, the suicide bomber came in a Golf car and tried to force his way into the premises but he was stopped. In the process, he hit the fence of the station. "Many people sustained high degree of injuries; they were being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but so far we have not noticed any dead person," he said.
Mark condemns attacks
President of the Senate David Mark has condemned the bomb and gun attacks in Zaria and Sokoto towns, describing them as an assault on the peaceful coexistence among the people of the areas.
Senator Mark, who stated this yesterday, expressed shock at the audacity of the gunmen and urged the security agencies to return to the drawing board and come out with a renewed approach to tackle the menace.
He said: "The security agents in Sokoto State appeared to have perfected the method of thwarting the activities of notorious men before this latest attack. "But the security agents in Sokoto State must not allow this ugly incident to cow them. They must rise to the challenge and return Sokoto to its peaceful state."
Mark also urged political and religious leaders in the country to continue to appeal to the members of Boko Haram to accept the dialogue overtures offered by the federal government.
"The federal government will not dialogue with itself. It has to dialogue with those who are disenchanted with the system, particularly, the leadership and members of the Boko Haram sect.
"We shall continue to call on the members of the sect to accept dialogue overtures offered by the federal government.
"We also urge our political and religious leaders to continue to appeal to the sect to listen to the voice of reason."