By AbdulSalam Muhammad & Victoria Ojeme
KANO—The pomp of royalty was set aside, yesterday, as the revered Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero broke down in tears as he recounted the loss of human lives that followed last Friday’s Boko Haram attack on the ancient city before a visiting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Right in front of his subjects while receiving President Goodluck Jonathan, the octogenarian monarch could not hold back his tears, while reflecting on the level of carnage and the hundreds of innocent souls who had been killed from bomb blasts by the Boko Haram sect.
The president’s visit was to commiserate with the Emir over last Friday’s bomb blast in the ancient city that reportedly left about 162 dead and several others injured.
It took the monarch almost half an hour to read through a two-page prepared speech in Hausa as he broke down intermittently shedding tears and on each occasion, palace guards had to form a ring around him before wiping off his tears.
In his speech, Alhaji Bayero told the visiting President that the emirate deeply appreciated his visit and complained that Kano, a city of over 9 million people, is under-policed and appealed to the president to beef up security in the city.
Alhaji Ado Bayero told the visiting president that the emirate will support current effort by the federal Government to combat terrorism in all its ramifications, adding that Kano ‘deeply appreciate the courtesy of Mr. President.”
Bayero told the President the need to increase the number of police and other security agents in the state, noting that the current arrangement where 8,000 policemen serve the state of over nine million people calls for urgent review.
“It is a far cry that a city of kano’s size and status is being policed by 8,000 men, and we appeal to the authority concerned to have a rethink on the current situation in the overall peace and stability of the state”, Bayero stressed.
The monarch described the Friday attack as ‘unfortunate, ugly and violent” and tasked people to fear Allah in what ever they do, adding that Kano emirate will intensify prayers for Almighty to intervene in the security challenges.
To underscore the security situation of the period, tanks were deployed around the palace with armed soldiers.
Thousands of residents also lined the streets to welcome the President as crowd of onlookers waved in appreciation of the visit.
This was President Jonathan’s first official visit to the Northern part of the country since the increased activities of the Boko Haram insurgency.
We will not rest until terrorism is wiped out— GEJ
In his speech, the president assured that the Federal Government will not relent until terrorism is wiped out in the country.
Sporting Black caftan (long gown) and black shoes to match President Jonathan stated that those behind the ‘dastardly act are not spirit and they are people that live with us”, stressing that the hallmark of their activities call for increased security consciousness by Nigerians’.
President Jonathan who was accompanied on the visit by the National Security Adviser, General Patrick Azazi; Defense Minister, Dr Bello Halilu; National Chairman of PDP, Kawu Baraje among other top Federal Government functionaries explained that the security challenges call for concern of everyone, saying “we need to know as well that an attack on one is an attack on everyone of us”.
Said he: “Those who perpetrate this dastardly act are not spirit, they live freely with us in the society and the security challenges they pose have now made it incumbent on us to be extra vigilant on what our next door neighbor does and by so doing, we will overcome the evil forces,” he said.
The Commander-in-Chief declared before the Emir and his council of chiefs that in view of Kano’s importance in the region and sub Saharan Africa, the state would not be neglected” and promised increased security to the town and other hot spots in the federation.
The President noted that his visit to Kano was to build the confidence of the people of the state in the ability of the government to tame the Boko Haram insurgency, adding “they will never succeed”.
The President during his two hour visit, also visited the military hospital, Zone 1 Office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police before jetting out to Abuja and said that the Federal Government in concert with the state government will explore ways of assisting victims of the multiple bomb blast.
President Jonathan, while responding to earlier request by the Emir on the completion of three abandoned irrigation projects in the state, River Kano, Bagwai and Kunchi said that such projects have been captured in 2012 appropriation for action in line with his campaign promises.
EU offers to help track culprits
The European Union, yesterday, offered to assist Nigeria in dealing with the challenge of checkmating the Boko Haram sect, after last Friday’s bomb and gun attacks that left over hundreds of people dead and hundreds more injured.
While joining the international community to strongly condemn the attack on the Zonal Headquarters of the Police, three police stations as well as the Kano residence of the Inspector General of Police and Kano Command office of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the EU also disclosed of plans to meet with the Nigerian government in February to discuss possible assistance that would assist in dealing with the Boko Haram menace.
A statement posted on EU media website and obtained by Vanguard in Abuja said High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton spoke in reaction to the deadly attacks.
According to the statement, “We will discuss with the Nigerian government in the coming days, including at our forthcoming Ministerial dialogue in early February, possible ways and concrete actions in support of peace, security and development in the country, particularly for the poorest communities.
“The High Representative is profoundly shocked and saddened by the latest wave of terrorist attacks that appear to have killed more than 150 innocent citizens in Kano, Northern Nigeria, on 20 January. She sends her most sincere condolences to the victims, their families and their communities.
“The EU resolutely rejects terrorism as a means to any end.”