By Henry Umoru, Assistant Political Editor
THE Presidency yesterday expressed thanks to God that the perpetrators of Wednesday’s twin bomb blasts targeted at both the former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and an Islamic cleric, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi in Kaduna State, did not achieve their evil motives of killing the two prominent Nigerians, saying that the country would have been set on fire if they had succeeded.
The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, made this known in Abuja.
The suspected bomber was allegedly dressed in hijab when he was apprehended by military patrol team that swooped on the area immediately after the explosion.’’
Gen Buhari, a leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, and Sheik Bauchi survived the bomb explosions which led to the untimely death of over 82 innocent Nigerians.
Buhari was on his way to his hometown, Daura, Katsina State when his convoy was attacked at the ever- busy- Kaduna Kawo Motor Park, while Sheik Bauchi was attacked along the Alkali/ Isa Kaita Road, near the Murtala Muhammed Square where he delivered a Ramadan Tatsir Sermon to thousands of the Tijaniyya sect members. The two separate attacks were believed to have been carried out by the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
However, distancing the presidency from the two ugly events, allegedly insinuated by some members of the APC, Alkali said it was wrong to politicise security issues in a bid to score cheap political points.
Speaking during his first official working visit to the secretariat of the Goodluck Support Group, GSG, Alkali said, “I want to express my sincere concern over what happened to our former Head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari. You all recall that two or three days ago, there was an attempted attack on his life and another senior citizen, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, both in Kaduna.
“It is by the grace of God that today the lives of these two senior citizens were spared. We want to thank God for saving them and for saving this country from the trauma of what could have happened if the people behind it had achieved their objective.
“I want to also state that in seasons like this, the usual thing is what has become the popular culture of blame game. I do not think anybody in this country would be associated with this type of thing in any way or form.
’’Therefore, those who want to trivialize these issues personalize them or attribute it to this government or the leadership of this government in any form, directly or indirectly, should desist from that.
“This government is committed to the security of this nation, it is committed to lasting peace in this country and Mr. President is deeply committed to bringing stability in our political environment.
“We should not over dramatize these issues. All of us must come together, we have collective responsibility to protect and defend our country. This is not a time for politicizing issues. Security matters are not for politicians. There are people who have been trained and who are responsible for security. We cannot do their job for them; they should be allowed to do their job.
“We should also desist from any attempt that will weaken the institutions of government, especially security agencies who are doing very well in containing the situation.”
Alkali who also formally took over as the national Coordinator of GSG following the vacuum created by the exit of the former Political Adviser to the President, Alhaji Ahmed Ali Gulak, said that the country would have been on fire if anything terrible had happened to the two prominent Nigerians and urged politicians to stop the blame game and politicisation of the security challenges facing the country.
He then asked Nigerians irrespective of culture, tribe, region or party affiliation to work collectively if the present security challenges in the country must be overcome, warning that in moments like these, issues of security must not be dramatised.
On the 2015 elections, Alkali predicted a resounding victory for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, even as President Jonathan would continue to work for the reform of the electoral process in line with his transformation agenda in the country.
“Only yesterday at a breakfast dinner for ambassadors and senior citizens Mr President assured the international community and Nigerians as a whole that the 2015 election will be free and fair and peaceful,’’ he added.
Troops hold suspected male bomber disguised as a woman
The Defence Headquarters said yesterday that troops were holding a man suspected to be connected with the explosion targeted at General Buhari.
According to a statement by the Military, the suspected bomer was a ‘young man who was apprehended by military patrol team that swooped on the area immediately after the explosion.
He had ‘’disguised as a woman by clading in female garb to exude femininity with a brazier affixed to his chest.
The suspect was arrested while trying to fizzle into a crowd of onlookers when the patrol team arrived the scene.
’’Youths in the area attempted to mob him while he was being arrested but were restrained by troops who quickly whisked him away in an armoured personnel carrier. He is currently being interrogated by security agencies in a bid to ascertain his links.’’
Gsg has offices all over the country
Earlier, the Deputy National Coordinator of GSG, Dr. Eddy Olafeso had told Alkali that the group which has offices in the 36 states of the country, the three senatorial districts and the 774 Local Governments, in the country had ‘’limitless possibilities and had been mobilizing and sensitizing various interest groups in the country on the transformation agenda of President Jonathan.”
Meanwhile, it was gathered that members of the Boko Haram may be after the Islamic Preacher, Bauchi for preaching against their activities. There had been earlier attempts on his life by the insurgents at his Asikolaiye Residence, Badikko, Expressway, Kaduna, but the explosive device planted failed to explode.
Bauchi’s visit to President Jonathan in Abuja along with other clerics was also said to be one of the sources of grudges against him by the inurgents.
Buhari had while recounting his experience when Governor Mukhtar Yero visited him at his Sultan Close residence in Kaduna Thursday said that Nigeria can deal with Boko Haram, adding, “When this question of Boko Haram started, and I am sure it is on record, in the first statement I made about 18 months ago, I said no religion advocates what is happening in the North East. So the case of this kind of killings is not religion; it is also not ethnic.
When they kill children in schools in the North East, they kill teachers, they burn churches, they burn mosques, they burn motor parks, they burn markets — where is religion there? Where is ethnicity there?
This is terrorism and I hope the government will come to grips with it. Nigeria is capable of dealing with this. Some of us died in the civil war for this country. For 30 months we fought and we kept Nigeria one and, God willing, we are going to keep Nigeria one.
“I commiserate with the families of those that died, because this thing was ignited at exactly when my car was almost side by side with that of the bomber. I came out of the car after the bomb went off. There was blood on my dress.
I did not know how it came about because I did not have a scratch myself, but there were dead bodies all over the place.
The security tried to move me to the other side and we just got one of the vehicles passing and they brought me home. I hope the law enforcement agencies and the chief executives of the states will succeed in securing the country. May God help us.”