By our reporters
As Nigerians and oth-er countries continue to express outrage against Thursday’s bomb attacks on ThisDay, Sun and Moment newspapers at both Abuja and Kaduna, the National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi (rtd.), yesterday, at Asaba, Delta State, blamed the menace on the zoning policy of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar has however said he was not aware that the Boko Haram Islamic sect had claimed responsibility for the bombings and urged the media to always play down reports on terrorism and other criminal activities in the country for the sake of national security.
Aziza who spoke at the 2nd South-South Economic Forum at Asaba said the zoning policy which precludes certain ethnic groups from ruling the country at a particular period in time, contrary to the 1999 Constitution was responsible for security breaches being witnessed in the country.
His words, “The PDP got it wrong from the beginning by saying Mr. A can rule; Mr. B cannot rule, according to the PDP convention rules and regulations and not according to the constitution. That created the climate of what is happening and manifesting in the country today.’’
The NSA stressed that although he knew that the PDP would not agree with him, but that would not stop him from making the point, adding that political positions have brought a situation today, whereby a particular party would say before an election that it must win 80 per cent in an area, and when that did not happen, people would resort to violence.
Azazi said from information available to him, it was clear that the on-going violence by an Islamic sect was also linked to the battle for 2015 adding that people should ask questions, as to how the said sect just suddenly become very well equipped.
According to him, “What we are experiencing today started several years ago but we did not realize it, but we have started to make sure that we take some fire-brigade approach to find the solution,” even as he further said that the security challenges had been politicised.
Condemnation against simultaneous bomb attacks
However, condemnation against Thursday’s simultaneous bomb attacks on some media houses at Abuja and Kaduna State continued yesterday with the Senate, the United Kingdom, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, top individuals, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN,and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA among others describing the development as wicked and barbaric.
They also asked the Federal Government to act decisively by fishing out the culprits for punishment.NUPENG specifically however, threatened to call out its members on strike if the security situation was not addressed.
Their reactions are however coming against the backdrop of reports that another bomb exploded at the Senate Building of the Gombe State University, GSU, Thursday night, although there were no casualties.
The Vice-Chancellor of the GSU, Prof. Idris Mahdi, has however, said that Thursday’s bombing of the Senate Building will not affect academic activities in the university.
Meanwhile, the IGP, Abubakar who spoke in Port Harcourt yesterday while on a re-evaluation visit of police facilities and operations in Rivers State, appealed to the media to stop giving prominence to criminal activities.
Acknowledging the role of the media in information dissemination, IGP, Abubakar said the media should give national security priority attention while reporting such activities.
According to him, this is the only country where dead bodies are displayed on the pages of newspapers.
“This is the only country in the world where you see on the pages of newspapers dead bodies or on the television you see dead bodies being shown. Whatever you want to report, be mindful of the national security of Nigeria.
“We should not give prominence to criminals or individuals groups that are criminals, who attack banks, attack police stations and attack individual people and rob them of their property. I think we should be mindful of how we manage security matters.
“It is important for you to educate people and report to people what has happened but at the same time, there are security matters that you cannot take everything and place on pages of newspapers.
“The media must know that we have no other country than Nigeria. Therefore,what you report should equally be of very great importance to the country. The national security of Nigeria should be very important to all of us. “
The Senate described bombing of the offices of Thisday newspaper in Jabi, Abuja and Kaduna, and the Sun newspapers in Kaduna as the darkest moment in the raging orgy of violence being prosecuted against the nation.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, made this known noting that those behind the bombings are are bent on destroying the country.
Abaribe said, targeting media houses was simply aimed at cowing the media practitioners and shutting the voices of reason in country adding,‘’It is an exercise in futility. Media houses are the mouthpiece of the society and as watchdogs, should not be made to be vulnerable in the course of doing their job.
‘’Senate condoles the management and staff of ThisDay, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, the entire media community and the families of the victims.”
The NGF in a statement signed by its Chairman and Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi condemned the attack which he said was ‘’one too many in a series of consistent destruction of lives and property in our nation.’’
According to Amaechi, although ‘’The NGF realises the quest and agitation of our people for a better nation and sustainable living and development, we refuse in its entirety the notion that brigandage and heartless destruction would herald our Eldorado. Our nation is bigger than all of us and we must protect it.
’’We also urge the Federal Government to remember that it owes every Nigerian and all those living in Nigeria the responsibility to protect lives and property,’’ even as the forum pledged its commitment to better the lives of the people by quaranteeing peace and security of their various states.
Members of the National Working Committee of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, also paid a solidarity visit to ThisDay newspaper in Abuja and asked the editors not ‘’to be deterred in your duty to the public,’’ even as they urged security agencies to improve their operations in the country.
United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Mr Henry Bellingham also on his own, condemned the bombing of the ThisDay The Sun amd Moment newspapers offices in Abuja and Kaduna.
Bellington noted the importance of bringing the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book.
Said he,“I am appalled by the bombing yesterday of the offices of the This Day newspaper and other media organisations in the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Kaduna” adding that “The independent press is an integral part of any society and Nigerian journalists should feel able to report freely without fear of violence. It is important that those behind these terrorist acts are brought to justice.
”My sympathies go out to the families of those killed and the injured. The British Government strongly condemns these terrible acts that have resulted not only in the tragic loss of innocent lives, but were an attack on freedom of speech in Nigeria.”
Labour leaders including President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, his counterparts in NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achebe and National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees, NUFBTE, Comrade Lateef Oyelakan respectively also condemned the attack.
“It is really lamentable that the issue of insecurity continues to linger in this country. As we are seated here, somebody called me to tell me that there was a bomb blast in Abuja and shortly thereafter, another call also came that there were also bomb blasts in Kaduna. Where are we going? Well, we will be making a statement especially during the May Day celebrations that we as a nation have to rise up to the challenge. Much as nobody will condone such acts, we must also put the government on alert to rise to its expectation.
”What do we expect of a nation with over 25 percent unemployment with majority of the youths on the streets without any meaningful employment? Nevertheless, unemployment is not an excuse for bombing, killing and maiming fellow Nigerians. We condemn it and we expect the government and its security agencies to protect lives of Nigerians. This is one fundamental reason of the existence of government.
The government must ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to book without delay,’’ they said at their 10th National Delegates Conference, NDC, in Abeokuta, Ogun State yesterday.
Apart from the NGF, individual governors including Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Capt Wada Idris, rtd, (Kogi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), the ACN, NSCIA, CNPP, Dr Olapade Agoro among others also reacted to the attack on the media, and asked both the Federal Government and the security agencies to brace up for challenges ahead. The Chairman of the UNN-ASUU chapter, Dr Aloysius Okolie also told the newsmen in Nsukka yesterday that the attack on ThisDay, The Sun and Moment newspapers was an attempt to intimidate media practitioners.
The Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, in his own reaction, condemned the bombing of the media houses, adding that he received the news of the attack which he described as “disheartening and unfortunate” with `great shock.’
On his part, the Deputy governor of Rivers State, Mr Tele Ikuru urged the Police to devise other strategies to tackle rising crime in the country. “We must do things differently the game has changed and we must also change our strategy,” Ikuru added.
But speaking on the extent of damage of the bomb blasts at GSU, Vice Chancellor Mahdi explained that though some records were burnt in the offices affected by the explosions, they could regenerate such records as the school authorities had duplicate copies of the records..
“This is just a bloody little administrative building, so this will not prevent us from doing our work. Not at all, classes are going to go on normal
“Of course we lost some records but we can recoup them. The records we have lost we just photocopied them from the Registrar’s Office some few months ago. We will go back to the Registrar’s office again and photocopy them,” he said, and appealed to the students to remain calm and continue with their academic activities.