31 December 2012

Nigeria: Major Security Events in 2012

The year started with a multiple bomb explosions that rocked Kano city on January 20, killing at least 186 people.

The blasts occurred at the Zone 1 headquarters of police, residence of the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the zone as well as the passport office of the Nigeria Immigration Service. The attacks were reportedly carried out by the Boko Haram sect members who tried to abduct the family of the Assistant Inspector General of Police.

New police chief appointed

President Goodluck Jonathan approved the appointment of Mohammed D. Abubakar as Acting Inspector General of Police after the retirement of former Inspector General Hafiz Ringim on January 25. Jonathan also established a special committee to oversee the urgent reorganization of the police. The committee was headed by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Parry B.O. Osayande. All the Deputy Inspectors General who served under Ringim including Mrs. Ivy Uche, Okoronkwo, 2i/c, Mr. Azubuko J. Udah, Administration ("A" Department), Mr. Sardauna Abubukar, DIG Training ("E" Department.),Mr. Audu Abubakar, Operations ("B" Department), Mr. Saleh Abubakar, DIG Works ("C" Department.) and Mr. Mohammed A. Yesufu, Planning and Info-Tech ("F" Department) were retired. New Deputy Inspectors General including Suleiman Fakai, second-in-command (2 i/c), Marvel Akpoyibo, 'A' Department (Administration), John Haruna, 'B' Department (Operations),

Emmanuel Udeoji, 'C' Department (Works); Peter Yisa Gana, 'D' Department (Investigations), AbduRahman Akano, 'E' Department (Training) and Atiku Y. Kafur, 'F' Department (Research and Information Technology) were named in March. Fakai was later moved to A' Department.

Arrest of Boko Haram spokesman

Boko Haram spokesman known by his nom de guerre Abul Qaqa, was arrested in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, Borno state in the last week of January. The militant was captured after police tracked his mobile phone. But Abul Kaka was later reportedly killed in a pre-dawn attack launched by the Military Joint Task Force in Kano in September.

Re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto

State Security Service re-arrested Kabiru Abubakar Dikko (aka Kabiru Sokoto), who was suspected to be the mastermind of the 2011 Christmas Day bombing of the St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State at Mutum-Biu, Gassol Local Government Area, Taraba State on February 9. Sokoto had earlier escaped from police custody on January 15, at Abaji in the Federal Capital Territory, when he was being led to his home for a search of his apartment by a team of policemen on the orders of Zakari Biu, a commissioner of police. Commissioner Biu was subsequently dismissed from the police by the Police Service Commission in February following Sokoto's escape.

Police chopper crashed

A police chopper crashed in the Kabong area of Jos on March 14 during an aerial patrol, killing Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in-charge of Operations, Mr. John Haruna and three others. The pilot, Garba Yalwa, his assistant, Alexander Pwol-Ja, a Chief Superintendent and an orderly to the DIG, Sonatian Shirunam, a sergeant were killed in the crash.

Killing of Oyerinde

The Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to the Edo State Governor, Olaitan Oyerinde, was killed by gunmen at his residence located at No. 65, 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA Benin city on May 4. Shortly after the incident, the police announced the arrest of some suspected killers including a religious leader. The State Security Service also paraded six other suspects who are Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi, Raymond Onajite Origbe, Chikezie Edeh, Saidu Yakubu (a.k.a Imam), Sani Abdullahi Abubakar; and Hassan Bashiru.

NSA booted out

President Goodluck Jonathan sacked General Andrew Owoeye Azazi, his National Security Adviser and Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, the Minister of Defence in June.

The sack of the two security chiefs came after a national security meeting convened by the president on the deteriorating security situation in the country immediately he returned from Brazil. President Jonathan subsequently appointed Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) as his new National Security Adviser (NSA).

Jos killings

Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Gyang Fulani, were killed while attending the mass burial of about 50 victims of an attack in villages in Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas of the state on July 8.

Both the Defence Headquarters Abuja and the Special Task Force in Plateau State gave a 48-hour evacuation notice to residents of six villages in the state before it began a house-to-house search for the assailants. The STF codenamed "Operation Safe Haven" and appealed to the people, particularly the inhabitants of Mahanga, Kakuruk, Kuzen, Maseh, and Song 2, to evacuate their property from the area within 48 hours on July 14.

STF, in a statement issued in Jos, the Plateau State capital, signed by the media officer, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said residents of neighbouring Kura Falls, Kuzuk and Sharuk, Rim of Gashish and Bachit districts should be careful of their movements within the area to avoid places of military operation.

The pastoralists' association complained of insufficient welfare facilities in the provisional camps of the people evacuated from their villages. The villagers were allowed to return to their villages, a week later.

General Shuwa's assassination

Gunmen suspected killed Major General Mamman Shuwa (rtd)in Borno State on November 2.

Jaji explosions

Twin explosions rocked the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church, Jaji military cantonment, killing 11 people and injuring 30 others on November 24.

SARS office attack

A large number of gunmen launched a predawn raid on the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention centre in Abuja, killing two policemen and freeing dozens of high-profile detainees on November 25.

The authority said 25 of the 30 detainees who were let loose had been recaptured, but sources said the number of those freed was much higher and most of them are still on the run.

SARS is infamous for being a centre of gross human rights abuses, and in February, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar said SARS operatives had turned into killer squads.

Weeks ago, Amnesty International said at least 100 Boko Haram suspects were detained at the SARS detention facility in Abuja, facing torture and other forms of abuses.

There were fears in Abuja that many suspected sect members might have been freed and remained on the loose.

But the police headquarters later issued a statement, saying no terror suspects escaped during the "repelled" attack. The statement by spokesman Frank Mba confirmed the death of two officers and recapture of 25 of the 30 who escaped, as well as arrest of two suspected attackers.

Redeployment of Jaji commanders

The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, ordered the redeployment of Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Kure, the Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and Major General Mohammed D. Isa, the Corps Commandant Army Infantry Corps, Jaji on December 2.

The authority said that the deployment followed the outcome of the board of inquiry raised by the Defence Headquarters to unravel the circumstances that led to the bomb explosion which rocked St. Andrew's Protestant Church at the Jaji Military Cantonment in Kaduna State.

According to the statement, "Air Vice Marshal E.E. Osim is to replace Air Vice Marshal I.A. Kure as Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), while Maj. Gen. K.C. Osuji will act as Corps Commander, Infantry, Jaji."

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