By Jimoh Babatunde & Daniel Eteghe with agency reports
ABUJA—IN what appears to be subtle moves to appease the Boko Haram sect members who claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s bomb attack on police headquarters Abuja, the Nigeria police said, yesterday, that it will arraign the officers accused of killing the sect leader in court next month.
Police spokesman, Olusola Amore told The Associated Press news agency, yesterday, that seven officers who were charged with “unlawfully killing one Mallam Mohammed Yusuf and his followers” will appear in a Federal High Court Abuja on July 13 and 14.
Amore said the suspects were first arraigned in court in late February and they pleaded not guilty to the charge. The officers are Assistant Commissioner of Police, John Abang; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Akeera Yoonus; Chief Superintendent of Police, Mohammed Ahmadu; and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mada Buba. The others are Sergeant Adamu Gado; Police Constable Anthony Samuel and Police Constable Linus Luka.
Boko Haram leader’s death
Boko Haram leader,Yusuf, died while in police custody in July 2009 and one of the conditions given by the sect members to stop the killing of policemen and violence in the northern states was for justice to be done for the killing of their leader.
Before a decision was taken to prosecute the officers, a Special Investigations unit set up by the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, interviewed and interrogated them.
The charges against them read: “ACP J. B. Abang, ACP Akeera Mohammed Yoonus, CSP Madu Babu and the other officers, all of the Police Command, Maiduguri, on or about July 30, 2009, at Maiduguri, conspired with one another to commit an offence, to wit: a terrorist act, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 516 of the criminal code and punishable under section 15 (1) (2) of the EFCC Act 2004.
“That you ACP JB Abang, ACP Akeera Mohammed, CSP Madu Babu and the other officers on or about July 30, 2009 at Maiduguri, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, unlawfully killed one Mallam Mohammed Yusuf and his followers, which act is an offence under section 315 of the Criminal Code and you thereby committed a terrorist act contrary to and punishable under section 15 (1) (2) of the EFCC Act 2004.”
A fresh charge, no CR/101/11 has been filed at the High Court of FCT against Sgt. Adamu Gado who initially jumped bail but was rearrested. He is presently detained at the Force CID, Area 10, Abuja awaiting prosecution in July 2011.
Vanguard had reported, Thursday, that following public outcry denouncing their activities and government willingness to dialogue with the group, the Boko Haram sect had reduced their demands to two.
President backs IGP
Meanwhile, Vanguard was reliably informed that President Goodluck Jonathan has thrown his weight behind the Inspector General of Police to reinvigorate the Nigeria Police Force and come out with new strategies to tackle incidences of bomb blasts and terrorism across the country.
The action of the President it was gathered, followed the discovery that the issue of the bomb blast of Thursday, June 16, 2011 at Force headquarters, was now being politicized with many advisers and influential people in the society including politicians pushing the President to go against the IG due to ulterior motives that the president has uncovered.
Consequently, the President is said to have told the IGP to go about his duty without distraction, noting: “I am with you and will support you with the wherewithal to tackle these challenges. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by stories that are unfounded.”
Meanwhile the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petirin, yesterday, reacted to the bombing of the Police headquarters, Abuja, as well as other terrorist attacks in some parts of the country, saying: “It is a temporary thing and we will overcome it just as we overcame all other issues of this nature in our country.”
We’ll overcome terrorism—CDS
Speaking at a conference on Cyber Information Security, the CDS said: “Terrorism is a new thing to us. It is not new in other parts of the world. So many countries have suffered from it and are still suffering from it. But in Nigeria, it is relatively new.
Therefore, you discover that some of those agencies that are supposed to respond very effectively may have initial inertia in getting to grip with it and rising to the occasion. But they are already doing so and I assure you that it is a temporary phase and we will overcome it.”
Disclosing that the challenge of cyber security is one the country should take seriously in view of recent happenings, Petirin said: “Let me say here and now that the issue of terrorism is something that must be combated by the forces and all the systems at the disposal of government. It is not a matter for the military alone. As you all know, you are talking about enemies you cannot pinpoint as you cannot really say this is where they are.”
Ekiti gov wants Boko Haram unmasked
In a related development Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said yesterday that if the Federal Government must dialogue with Boko Haram group that is alleged to be behind the series of bomb attacks in the country the government must know who they are discussing with.
Fayemi said: “I agree with the position of our party that we need to dialogue, but in order to dialogue, we need to know precisely who we are dialoguing with. Who are these Boko Haram? Are they really Boko Haram or is that just the name we have given to them. W e need to look at the sociological underpinning of such a group to come to a very accurate analysis of the problem that we are confronted with and how to tackle it.”
Speaking with Airport Correspondents at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, the Ekiti State Governor said the country’s security agencies needed to do a lot of more on intelligence gathering.