Panic as soldiers nab man with bomb in PH
By Kingsley Omonobi, Abuja and George Onah Port Harcourt
The federal government is likely to sack some security chiefs over their collusion with Boko Haram, Saturday Vanguard has learnt.
It was also gathered that the Presidency has commenced investigation into how and when a ‘confirmed and hardened’ adherent of Boko Haram, Mr. Ali Tishau, who was in police detention on allegations of terrorism, was released to the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) on the request of a former Chief of Defence Intelligence (names with-held), found his way to the African Independent Television (AIT) to grant an interview where he claimed that ‘Nigeria police hid bomb warnings from the Presidency’.
Also, there was a Boko Haram scare at the 2 Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, following the arrest of a man who was driving into the barracks with items suspected to be materials for bombs. It was not known whether the bombs had been assembled for detonation within the barracks.
However, spokesman of the brigade Major Iliyasu in a text message to the press said, “between 12 noon and 1 pm today (Friday), soldiers on guard arrested a middle-aged man at the gate of the 2 Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt as he tried to drive into the barracks.
“He was arrested with items suspected could be used to do something harmful. Disclosure of the items found and identity of the suspect or where he comes from would surely jeopardize investigation.”
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the arrest was made possible by the high alert, which the soldiers had been placed, leading to the closing of all exit and entrance gates in the cantonment.
The Ikwerre Road-end of the barracks which used to serve as exit gate has been permanently locked while the Aba Road-end serves as the exit and entrance gate, where vehicular and movements and pedestrians are thoroughly frisked.
In Abuja, Presidency sources told Saturday Vanguard that from the content of a document made available to the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Tishau’s arrest and instigation of Boko Haram was a topic of discussion at a meeting of the National Security Council which subsequently ordered his arrest on 20th December 2010.
Thereafter, he was detained, interrogated and arraigned at the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Abuja on 28th of March 2011, but he was granted bail. Following Police incontrovertible evidence that he was a kingpin of the Boko Haram sect, Tishau was re-arraigned at the FCT High Court on 7th May 2011 where he was again granted bail.
Saturday Vanguard was told that the Police also rearrested him for security reasons, to face further prosecution.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that, “On the 27th of June 2011, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Babagana Mongonu, requested the Police force in writing, to hand over the suspect to the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), to enable the agency conclude their own investigation of Tishau, which was obliged by IGP Hafiz Ringim on 27th July 2011, with a proviso that the suspect be returned to the Police in line with normal security practice.
“It was therefore shocking and a surprise to see the Mr. Tishau being interviewed on Television” the source said, adding that, “it is now clear that some top shots are working for interests other than that of the nation.”
On its part, the Nigeria Police force yesterday washed its hands over insinuations that ‘it hid the bomb warnings from the presidency’, pointing out that there is no iota of truth in the claim that the self acclaimed Boko Haram member gave useful information to the Police on the spate of bombings that occurred recently.
It was gathered that the change of baton at the DIA, resulting in the appointment of Major General Sani Yakubu Audu as the Chief of Defence Intelligence, was a precursor to the expected changes.
Curiously, government’s decision for DIA is said to have met with stiff resistance, until President Jonathan put his feet down and ordered that government’s order be obeyed. The resistance, it was learnt, would have led to a crisis of confidence in the country’s security sector. According to a statement signed by DCP Olusola Amore, Force Public Relations Officer, the suspect, Mr. Ali Tishau was released to a sister organization for investigation in the spirit of information and intelligence sharing.
“To date, he has not been returned to the Police” he said adding, “The alleged panic mood among the security chiefs is the figment of imagination of those peddling insinuations, as security agencies were building synergy to contain the present security challenges facing the nation”.
Continuing DCP Amore said, “In continuation of the efforts of the Nigeria Police force to combat illegal movement of arms, ammunition, illegal movement of immigrants along our border with Niger and other countries, the IGP held a meeting on Thursday September 22, 2011 at Force headquarters, which comprised Customs, Immigration, SSS and sister security agencies from Niger Republic”.
“This is in order to fashion out a workable strategy and feasible ways to address and combat trans-border crimes, criminal elements and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms within the region, while taking cognizance of the current terrorism as well as political upheavals within and outside some of our neighbouring states”, he said.