13 May 2013

Nigeria: Baga, Nasarawa Killings - Nigeria Sliding Into Lawlessness - Sultan

President-general of the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, has lamented that the nation is gradually sliding into a state of lawlessness with the continuous killing of innocent people.

The Sultan further described as cruel and merciless the wanton mass killings in Bama in Borno State and Alakyo in Nasarawa State.

In a statement by the JNI secretary-general, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, made available to newsmen yesterday, the Sultan said: "It is quite unfortunate, regrettable and condemnable that, after the unfortunate Baga massacre which should have been the last in such attacks at these times, a more devastating attack would be unleashed on innocent citizens of Bama in Borno State, and would continue unabated for a number of days.

"Equally condemnable is the Nasarawa State killings where some reported members of Ombatse cult laid ambush and caused the death of 88 persons, including dozens of policemen.

"The JNI and the Sultan lament this sorry state of affairs in the strongest terms, for the nation seems to be gradually sliding into lawlessness, leading to multiple losses of lives."

The JNI further urged citizens to be wary of happenings around them and take proactive measures by reporting doubtful persons and events to appropriate authorities.

The goal also called for support for the "Federal Government Amnesty Committee, whose mandate is not only recommending amnesty but dialoguing with insurgents towards opening doors for the restoration of peace and stability in the North and Nigeria as a whole... in order to bring to an end these acts of barbarism."

The JNI reiterated its earlier call to the military and security agencies to respect the professional rules of engagement in tackling the security challenges so as to reduce the death of innocent people.

"More importantly, in dealing with such restive areas, we advise the security agencies to supplement firmness with such measures that are sufficiently seen to be just and humane to earn the people's trust, support and cooperation to enable them to overcome criminal elements," he said.

Nasarawa Killings: 6 days after, police yet to take action

In what appears to be gross inaction on the part of the high command of the Nigerian Pollice, six days after over 90 of their officers and men were brutally murdered by ethnic militiamen in Nasarawa State, no decisive action has been taken in response to the gross crime committed against the force in particular and the nation in general.

LEADERSHIP investigation reveals that the militiamen are still in control of the area even as reports show that the militiamen have warned all non-Eggon police officers serving in the community to leave their duty posts in their own interest.

Police Killings: AIG relocates to Nasarawa as IGP sets up hotline

Following last week's gruesome killing of scores of policemen in Nasarawa State by suspected militiamen, the IGP Mohammed Abubakar has directed the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mike Zuokumor, in charge of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States, to immediately relocate to Nasarawa State.

IGP Abubakar made this known in a statement signed by the Force spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba, where he also disclosed that the Police High Command had established a dedicated telephone line for members of the public who may wish to provide useful information to the police concerning the incident.

The police boss appealed to the general public to cooperate with the police to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book and promised that all information provided to the force would be treated with utmost confidentiality.

"To this effect, the IGP appeals to Nigerians who may be in possession of information that could aid ongoing investigation not to hesitate in providing same to the police. Such information can be provided via phone number 07066228200 (calls or SMS) or email: policemonitor@npf.gov.ng," it said.

Abubakar also reminded the public that an attack on the security forces of any nation is an attack on the entire nation, and, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to support the police as it strives to tackle the security challenges facing the nation.

Meanwhile, the IGP has also ordered the immediate relocation of the Force welfare officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abiodun Ige to Nasarawa State, to enable her coordinate all welfare issues affecting families of the slain officers. The welfare, Mba said, includes, but not limited to, all statutory and relevant compensations.

IG shuns Govt House, As Al-Makura donates N1m each to widows

But the visit of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to Nasarawa State on Saturday further compounded the public disgust for the police high command.

In a brazen breach of protocol, the IGP moved straight to the command headquarters of the police without first stopping over to condole with the governor and chief security officer of the state, Alhaji Al-Makura.

Having waited for hours in Government House, Al-Makura had to follow him to the police command.

The IG also neither visited Alakyo, the village were the incident occurred, nor the Mopol 38 base in Akwanga, to sympathize with the widows of the slain officers. Instead he came in a chopper to avoid having to meet with them in Akwanga, which has now become a 'widows' base'.

Despite keeping mum on appeals by slain officers' widows for the release of the corpses of their spouses deposited at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), which has generated public disgust in the state, the IG declared that the protesting widows in Akwanga were not officers' wives but miscreants, as "officers' wives would not behave that way".

The IG's refusal to visit the trouble spots has further heightened tension in the state, giving off the impression that the police have succumbed to the superiority of the militiamen who are said to have been wreaking havoc on several communities across the state.

Meanwhile, at the police command headquarters, Governor Al-Makura, notified the IGP that he had donated N1 million to each of the widows because he was sympathetic to their plights.

"I was moved by their condition and couldn't bear their grief," he said

When LEADERSHIP visited Mopol 38 base in Akwanga yesterday, the widows, who had cried their tears out, were making a passionate appeal to the government to show some respect to memory their late husbands and release their bodies for burial rather than letting them rot away.

Baring her mind, Mrs. Veronica Peter, who with red, swollen eyes, obviously from days of weeping, said: "We were told they were all killed since on Tuesday, but as at this evening (Sunday) we are yet to see their dead bodies. They said it would be a mass burial since most of the corpses are burnt beyond recognition, but we should at least see them," she said.

Maku faults newspaper report over involvement in Nasarawa killing

Meanwhile, the minister of information, Labaran Maku, has faulted a story published in a national newspaper (not LEADERSHIP) linking him to the violence going on in his home state, Nasarawa, saying that he himself had waged a campaign against such mercenaries in the state.

According to the press statement signed by his press secretary, Joseph Mutah, and made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, the newspaper had claimed that the violence stemmed from alleged rivalry between Maku and the Nasarawa State Governor Al-Makura over the 2015 governorship fray.

The statement reads in part: "It is shocking that this story was published without recourse to the available facts about the unfortunate violence. Either the reporter did not understand the facts on ground or the story was deliberately planted to divert the attention of Nigerians and security agencies from the real story behind the blood-letting in Nasarawa State.

"For the information of Nigerians and members of the public, the Minister of Information has in the last one year waged a one-man campaign in Nasarawa State, which was widely reported in both the print and electronic media, against the activities of militia and mercenaries who have been destroying communities, lives and property in the state." It noted the people of the state knew the truth behind the violence and the perpetrators.

ACN, CPC oppose imposition of state of emergency in the north, ask president to quit if....

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to shelve the plan to impose a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states and some of the northern states worst hit by the Boko Haram crisis, saying any such move can only be aimed at giving an undue advantage to the PDP instead of helping to end the crisis.

In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ACN said if the imposition of emergency rule on the most affected states is the only viable option left for President Jonathan to tackle the crisis, then he should step down.

It said the crisis had dragged on for so long because of the failure of the Jonathan administration to appropriately diagnose the problem in the first instance, coupled with an exhibition of lethargy and an appalling lack of creativity in devising measures to end it.

The party said, "Imposing a state of emergency on the states that have been mentioned, like Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa States, will amount to shifting responsibility and unduly victimizing the governors of those states, who have done, perhaps more than the president, in dealing with the crisis, even though they are not in charge of any security apparatus."

In a related development, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday said it was opposed to any plan by the federal government to impose emergency rule in some parts of the country.

In a statement signed by CPC national publicity secretary, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, the party said the president might be contemplating declaration of emergency in of Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa, states that have been embroiled lately in orgies of violence with attendant fatalities.

"We wish to alert the nation about the sinister plot to invoke emergency rule in these states. The question is: what is the new thing that an administrator will hope to achieve, given the present scenario of militarisation in these states?"

The party also commiserated with victims of the violence.

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