Northern governors deny alleged plot against Christians
Police guard churches in Jigawa, others
AS some state governments unveiled fresh strategies to curb terrorism through strong partnership with security agencies, panic yesterday swept through Enugu State when news filtered in that about 50 members of the Boko Haram had stormed the state capital.
This situation was heightened by the alleged arrest of a member of the group at the Ninth Mile Corner, Enugu, who allegedly confessed under interrogation that they were on a mission to bomb some churches during their services yesterday.
In some northern states, especially Jigawa State, soldiers and other security agents were seen yesterday watching over churches as Christians held their Sunday services.
The Guardian learnt that the measure was adopted by the state government to prevent attacks on worshippers by terror gangs, which have carried out similar activities in Adamawa and Gombe states.
In fact, the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) yesterday debunked a rumour in the social media that Muslims were planning a total massacre of Christians in the region.They described the rumour as baseless and an evil imagination of people who do not wish the country well.
The forum’s Chairman and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, also refuted reports of alleged plan by Christians to bomb Mosques in some parts of the North.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, the governor appealed to Nigerians not to allow any group of persons to hide under any ideology or religion to perpetrate evil and assuring that the government was working hard to overcome the current security challenges facing the country.
On the civil disturbances arising from the protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in Minna, the state capital, Aliyu urged all law-abiding citizens to continue to respect constituted authority, assuring that the state government would continue to provide security for them and their property.
Meanwhile, the police in Borno State have said the dusk to dawn curfew imposed in Maiduguri and other major towns has brought normalcy to the state. The police said apart from enhancing security in Borno, the free reign of the Boko Haram had been checked.
In the Enugu incident, the suspected bomber allegedly provided evidence to the Police about his sponsors as well as other details about their operations.
But in a swift reaction, the Police said there was no occurrence of such incident, stressing that the text messages were the handiwork of some elements aimed at creating confusion in the state.
However, some clergymen who got the short text messages (SMS) before their Sunday services, beefed up security around their church premises and asked their members to be vigilant.
While some churches were deserted on learning of the incident and text messages, majority devoted greater part of their services to prayers against the activities of the group.
The text messages had read: “Please pass this to the pastors and other workers. One Boko bomber now in 9th Mile Police was caught and tortured. He revealed there were 50 of them that were sent to attack churches in this state. Please let machineries be put on alert especially during church activities.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Danzumi Job, said he was not aware of the arrest of any Boko Haram member by the Police in the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, said the residents might have mistaken an arrest of one Hausa resident by the Police two days ago to that of a Boko Haram member.
He said there was a fight involving a member of the Hausa community and arrest by the Police, stressing that it had no relationship with any member of the Boko Haram.
The police in Jigawa State yesterday posted anti-riot officers to provide security in all the churches in Dutse while the Christians worshipped.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Abdu Jinjiri, said the command took the action to avoid any break down of law and order.
On the alleged exodus of non-indigenes from the state, Jinjiri explained that because the state is peaceful, the good people have no problem living together.
The Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang has said the security challenges in the country were surmountable. The governor spoke at this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day yesterday at the Joseph Deshi Gomwalk Secretariat Round-About Cenotaph in Jos.
He said that the security challenges were not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that they were a passing phase, which would soon be put behind by the people. The Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, has said the insecurity in the country had dented the national polity.
The governor made the assertion during the laying of wreath at the tomb of unknown soldiers to mark the end of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Uyo, the state capital.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Obong Nsima Ekere, Akpabio said the breach of peace through bomb blasts, which have claimed hundreds of Nigerians, was a setback to national integration.
A group, the Centre for Nationalism and Good Governance (CNGG), has commended the Police over the arrest of the alleged mastermind of the Christmas Day bombings at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla in Niger State.
It also commended the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and its leader, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, for demanding that justice be done on the matter.
In a statement signed by its chairman, Chief Udoka Udeogaranya, the group sought the purging of CAN so that the deceivers in its hierarchy would be exposed.
The Seriki Hawusawa of Lagos State, Alhaji Aminu Idris Yaro, has urged Nigerians to promote issues that could guarantee the unity of the country and warned that, “its disintegration will do none of us any good.”
The monarch, who doubles as the Chairman of Arewa Traditional Council in the state, said “those clamouring for break up of Nigeria were doing so for selfish reasons.”