By Taye Obateru, Kingsley Omonobi, Jimoh Babatunde, Ndahi Marama & Daniel Eteghe
JOS—Threats by the Boko Haram sect to bomb the Nigerian Police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State collapsed yesterday after a man who crashed his bomb laden vehicle through the gates of the command headquarters was shot dead.
The attempted bomb attack programmed to inflict maximum damage happened shortly before the commencement of the screening of cadet Police officers at the same venue scheduled for yesterday. The Boko Haram sect it was learnt had sent out threat SMS to the Police command that it was going to frustrate yesterday’s screening exercise.
Among the instruments of death recovered from the car were 6 Gas cylinders of 13.6KG weight with its wirings, 1 Air Conditioner Gas Cylinder and two 25 litre Jerry-Cans of fuel. Other items were 1 tin of ABRO Can of 5 B litre Volume of chemicals and 1 Acid Orange Drum of 28KG weight.
The Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Mr. Simeon Midenda relieved that the incident provoked no loss of life on the part of the Police nevertheless traced the Police interception of the bomber to prior intelligence on an expected attack.
However, eleven persons were reported dead yesterday after marauders dressed in army uniform attacked a village in Heipang few kilometers south of Jos. Among those killed in the attack was a man with seven members of his family.
Meanwhile also yesterday the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Onyeabor Ihejirika has defended the military’s use of force in tackling domestic insurgency to the sophistication of the arms wielded by perpetrators of domestic violence.
Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State on his part yesterday said that responsibility for solving domestic violence such as that instigated by the Boko Haram sect laid on the present generation of Nigerians.
Briefing newsmen on the incident in Maiduguri yesterday, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Midenda said that the command had sometime last week received a threat message that the Cadet Police Officers screening exercise scheduled to commence yesterday would be disrupted by a faceless group.
The threat he said informed the Command to beef up security at all police formations in the troubled city.
He explained that at about 12:15pm, a man aged about 25 years gate crashed into the police Headquarters in an ash coloured Honda Accord Saloon Car, with registration number AP 851 ABJ, knocking down policemen at the Main gate and headed towards the Main Building .
CP Midenda stressed that, this alerted the armed policemen on guard within the premises and opened fire on the driver who immediately slumped on the steering.
He disclosed that on approaching the vehicle, the vehicle was discovered to be loaded with gas cylinders connected together with wires. He said that the Police bomb disposal unit was immediately called in and successfully defused the Improvised Explosive Device, IED.
Items recovered from the vehicle according to the CP included, six Gas cylinders of 13.6kg weight with its wirings, one air conditioner gas cylinder and two 25litres jerry-cans of fuel. Other items are one tin of ABRO can of five litre volume of chemicals and one acid orange drum of 28kg weight.
He attributed the success recorded to God Almighty and the prayers of concerned citizens to restore peace to the state. He stated that investigation has commenced into the incident, and urged members of the public to cooperate with the security agencies in the cause of fighting terrorism, even as he enjoined them not to panic, but to go about their normal businesses in the state.
Eleven killed in Plateau
Eleven people were, however, confirmed dead in two separate attacks on villages around the Plateau State capital early Monday by yet to be identified gunmen.
A man and seven members of his household were murdered in cold blood at Heipang village at midnight while another three were killed at about the same time at Korot, Sabongida both in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. Inhabitants of the two villages alleged that the attackers were dressed in army uniforms claiming that four identity cards belonging to military personnel were picked at the scene of the attack at Heipang.
Some of the villagers in Heipang who spoke to journalists said they heard gunshots at around 10 minutes past midnight around the residence of one Nnaji, a resident of the town and saw a vehicle with people dressed in military uniform drive off from the scene when they came out to find out what was the matter.
They later found that Nnaji and seven members of the family had been shot dead. The killers at Korot were said to have been dressed in black but accompanied by men in army uniform. Confirming the killings, the state government through a press statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Mr.Yiljap Abraham, said the attack was carried out by yet to be identified people.
He said: “The Plateau State Government rises in strong condemnation and disapproval of these unprovoked attacks on peaceful communities. These attacks are totally unacceptable conduct by people who appear determined to cause pain and grief in communities that have enjoyed peace in the recent past.”
He said government has directed security chiefs in the state to investigate and bring to justice those bent on bringing grievous harm to the peaceful people of the state and advised the people to be vigilant as security was the duty of all. Spokesman of the Military Special Task Force in the state, Capt. Charles Ekeocha who also confirmed the killings said men of the force moved to Heipang on learning of the attack but were allegedly attacked by youths in the area who accused them of complicity in the attack. He said the incident resulted in the death of a member of the vigilante team in the area when soldiers opened fire in defence against the attack on them (soldiers).
Why we are using force
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ihejirika speaking at a a three-day Nigerian Army Law Seminar in Abuja, yesterday, said the army did not like quelling riots and other domestic eruptions with force but was now prompted by the sophistication of the arms of troublemakers. According to him the weapons in the arsenal of trouble makers include rocket launchers, AK 47 rifles among others.
He said: “Here in Nigeria, you are faced with a situation where you do not really want to take life. As you are aware, previously, if the crises had gotten out of hand and we are called upon to assist the Police; once the military appears in their gears, the rioters disperse.