Breaking News

Jonathan, service chiefs, govs in crucial meeting

By Kingsley Omonobi, Daniel Idonor & Uduma Kalu with agency reports
ABUJA— PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and service chiefs were, yesterday, locked in a closed door meeting that lasted for many hours in Aso Rock over last Thursday’s bomb blast at the Police Force headquarters.

This came as the National Security Adviser, General Owoye Andrew Azazi, also summoned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim over the same incident.

Cross section of Deputies of Inspector General of Police taking decision to postpone their meeting with commissioners of police as the Inspector General of Police was not available to hold meeting with Commissioners of Police yesterday in Abuja. Photo : Gbemiga Olamikan

Meantime, the United States global security consultancy, Stratfor, which provides global strategic intelligence on business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs has warned President Goodluck Jonathan to expect increased violence in the northern part of the country as he tries to contain the menace of Boko Haram.

Vanguard gathered that the Presidency wanted the security chiefs to come up with strategies to combat the Boko Haram menace which it described as alien to the country.

The Defence chief, the service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police were at the meeting which held in the morning.

Also, a similar session on how to sustain the relative peace in the Niger Delta, was held between President Jonathan and governors from that region yesterday.

Meeting with S-South govs

The rather long meeting attracted all the governors from the zone with the exception of Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State who was absent.

Those present were Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo; Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa; and Liyel Imoke of Cross River.

Vanguard gathered that the President might also have discussed the implementation of the amnesty programme granted militants from the region with the governors.

Sources said the recent bomb blast at the Force headquarters triggered security alarm across the country, as governors from other regions were now seeking ways to ensure adequate security in their region following the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram.

The issue of security, it was also learnt dominated yesterday night’s governors forum meeting.

Earlier, Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed who was also at the State House to see the President, confirmed that the meeting took place.

The governor who spoke to newsmen after his meeting with the President said the recent bomb blast was not a good sign.

Looking at remote factors

He observed that governments should begin to look at possible remote factors that could have led to the incident with the aim of addressing them, adding: “We had a private discussion on the Boko Haram obviously, we know that it is not a good sign and a good omen for Nigeria.

“ What I think we should look at are factors that led to this incidence. We must look at factors that lead to people engaging in suicide bombing. I think it is going to be more in our interest to look at it from that angle. We look at the social problems that are leading to people engaging in suicide bombing and other allied issues.”

NSA summons IG

Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Owoye Andrew Azazi, yesterday, summoned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, over last Thursday’s bomb blast at Force headquarters in Abuja.

The summon led to the postponement of the much expected meeting between the IG and top shots of Nigeria Police Force, which was meant to deliberate on the security situation in the country, especially the continued attacks on policemen by members of the Boko Haram sect.

The delay came, even as it emerged that the Police High Command had set in motion a machinery to carry out mass transfer of both senior and junior police officers at the force headquarters to guard against alleged laxity of some officers that led to the bomber forcing his way into force headquarters.

Already, there is palpable fear and anxiety occasioned by news of impending mass transfer of officers in all cadres, including Commissioners of Police, DCP’s, ACP’s CSP’s, SP’s, DSP’s, ASP’s and rank and file.

However, Vanguard was able to confirm that the meeting at the NSA’s office, was occasioned by the easy manner the Boko Haram group had carried out their attacks in several states and Abuja, killing several Nigerians, including policemen and the sacking of a police station in Katsina.

Present at the NSA meeting were General Azazi, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal O. O. Petirin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim, DG SSS, Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Babagana Mongunu, DMI, DIA, DNI, DG NIA and other relevant security organs.

US security agency report

In a related development, the US security agency in its report issued on Monday noted that President Jonathan was under pressure to crack down hard on Boko Haram, saying however that “while this would lessen the violence in the short term, it will not alter the underlying conditions that led to the violence.”

The security group said Boko Haram attack raises concerns that the group was being trained by al-Qaida’s North African group or al-Shabaab in Somalia.

According to agency report, “intelligence officials have said in the past there is evidence to suggest some Boko Haram members have been trained over the border in Niger, where al Qaeda’s north African wing, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, is known to have a presence.

A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2009 obtained by Wikileaks and provided to Reuters by a third party said a veteran Chadian extremist with “limited ties to al Qaeda associates” had visited northeastern Nigeria and may be planning an attack.

“This should be another wake-up call for Nigeria’s political class,” said Antony Goldman, head of London-based PM Consulting.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.