27 April 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan, Shettima in Closed-Door Meeting Over Baga Killings

President Goodluck Jonathan Friday had a closed-door meeting with Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, over the Baga killings.

This is coming on the heels of a report that gunmen late Thursday night attacked the country home of the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako in Mayo Belwa Local Government Area of the state and also killed a female police officer, Mrs Rahila Azok, while 10 people were seriously injured.

There was no statement issued at the close of the Jonathan/Shettima parley, nor was any agenda provided by the two parties, but our correspondent gathered that the governor was in the villa to update the President on the incident in Baga.

About a week ago, no fewer than 185 people were allegedly killed in a yet to be unravelled circumstance when the Islamic sect, Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Task Force clashed at the border town of Baga in the Borno State.

In the wake of this development, Jonathan had ordered a full-scale investigation with a view to ascertaining the circumstances leading to the massacre and identifying the culprits.

An eyewitness disclosed that prior to the attack on Nyako's house, the gunmen attacked two commercial banks in the town and that the nephew of Nyako, Yunusa Yero was caught in one of the banks trying to withdraw cash via ATM card. He was said to have been beaten to the point of death.

The eyewitness added that two police patrol vehicles were burnt at the Mayo Belwa Police Divisional Headquarters while three police officers on duty sustained life threatening injuries while the gunmen carted away three rifles before setting three suspects free. Sources said that the attackers overwhelmed the police station because they were carrying sophisticated weapons.

The Police Public Relationship Officer of Adamawa State Command DSP Mohammed Ibrahim confirmed the attacks but could not speak on the number of casualties recorded.

President Jonathan also held another closed-meeting with lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana.

Falana told State House correspondents after the about one-hour meeting that his visit was just a private visit by a Nigerian with stake in the affairs of the country. He said, "it is a private visit, it is a private visit".

Asked if his visit was in relation to three Leadership journalists facing trial for alleged forgery, he replied in a raised voice: "It has nothing to do with that at all, on a very serious note." Mr. Falana is the paper's counsel.

On whether the visit had any link with the 2015 election, he said, "No, no, no. It was for the affairs of our country. I'm a stakeholder, you know that".

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