BY NDAHI MARAMA & JOSEPH ERUNKE
MAIDUGURI — A massive blast from an improvised explosive device, yesterday, in Maidugiri reportedly killed an Army lieutenant, a soldier and 30 civilians.
The explosive was planted and targeted at a Hilux patrol vehicle of the Joint Task Force (JTF) by some suspected terrorists along Lagos Street of Gwange ward of Maiduguri, Borno State. The JTF, however, denied that an officer was killed in the explosion.
Meanwhile, Nigeria and Canada have resolved to cooperate to enhance the operational capabilities of Nigerian security services to enable them respond adequately to internal and regional security challenges.
Also consumed by the blast were over 100 houses and 50 vehicles on the streets close to the explosion.
It would be recalled that last Sunday, a similar incident happened along Gwange Lagos Street when some suspected terrorists detonated an IED at a patrol vehicle of the Task Force which led to the killing of two soldiers including a serving Lieutenant Colonel who later died in a hospital.
Yesterday’s blast which occurred around 7:15 a.m sparked off volleys of gun shots from JTF soldiers leading to death of many civilians along the busiest road linking University of Maiduguri and the Teaching Hospital. Some people were trapped in their houses when the JTF forces descended on the town.
Vanguard gathered that some suspected terrorists were killed by the JTF soldiers although the number could not be ascertained because the area was cordoned off by JTF.
An eye witness who does not want his name mentioned told our correspondent that more than 50 people including some suspected terrorists were killed, while hundreds of houses and shops belonging to residents of Gwange were razed in the incident.
The state’s Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zannah Umar Mustapha, who visited the area amidst tight security, sympathised with the victims and promised that as soon as Governor Kashim Shettima who travelled to India, Pakistan and Turkey comes back, government will compensate them.
Confirming the incident, JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa in a text message to journalists in Maiduguri said Boko Haram Islamic sect detonated an IED targeting a Hilux Patrol vehicle of the JTF which injured two soldiers aboard the vehicle.
Sagir, however, said no army personnel was killed in the blast, insisting that only two of his men were seriously injured and were taken to University of Maiduguri for treatment.
Canada to train Nigerian security agents
A communiqué released to newsmen said the agreement was reached at an inaugural Nigeria and Canada Bi-National Commission meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, according to the communiqué, signed on behalf of Nigeria while Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baid, signed for his country.
“While recognizing that lasting security demands a multi-level approach, including development, education, democracy and human rights, both countries resolved to effectively cooperate particularly to enhance the operational capabilities of the Nigeria Security Services to enable them to respond adequately to internal and regional security challenges,” the communiqué read.
“Welcoming the rapid growth in trade and investment between them, the two countries committed themselves to aim for the reduction and elimination of barriers to increased economic and commercial relations. To this end, both countries have decided to initiate discussions and negotiations on such agreements as may be
necessary, particularly that will lead to the signing of a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, FIPA,” it further said.
The two countries also resolved to work closely on areas of power, mining, aviation, education and skill acquisition training.
“Recognising the importance of power, mining, aviation, education (including skills acquisition training) to address youth unemployment)
to national development and poverty eradication, both countries reaffirmed their commitment to support and facilitate foreign investment in these areas”, the communiqué said.
It said both countries also welcomed the rapidly growing private sector interest in trade and investment including the establishment of the Canada-Nigeria Business Association and the increasing involvement of the Canadian-Nigerian Diaspora.
”The two countries also pledged to encourage new links between institutions at Federal and State/Provincial levels, and the expansion of people to-people ties particularly through improvement in the delivery of
Both countries reaffirmed the underlying principles of the BNC and pledged that the BNC will be the basis for constructing a lasting strategic partnership between the two federal and multicultural democracies”,it further said.
Considering that security and prosperity are inextricably linked, the two countries agreed that effective political, economic, security and development cooperation among them will contribute to building a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. They further committed themselves to promoting human rights for all, good governance and democratic development just as they restated their commitment to work together on issues of common regional and global challenges, including counter-terrorism especially in Mali.
Middle East and Commonwealth reform as well as visas by both countries were in the agenda. The two countries resolved to support programmes enhancing human and social development including free and fair elections through building capacity of electoral institutions.
Canada pledged to work with Nigeria in improving its health care, especially
maternal and child health,according to the communique.