General Andrew Azazi
•Police arrest 54 as 12 die in fresh attack
From Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Wale Olaleye in Lagos
National Security Adv-iser, General Andrew Azazi (retd), yesterday refuted the Plateau State Governor, Dr. Jonah Jang’s claim that security agencies ignored him on the recent crisis in the state.
Azazi has rather accused the governor of ignoring security advice on the situation in the state.
Azazi said Jang should learn to act as leader with regard to the security situation in the state and not shift blame. He explained that a national data is being put in place with information obtained from the National Identity Card scheme, new vehicle number plates and driver’s licence as part of moves to check terrorist attacks in any part of the country.
Over 70 persons were reportedly killed in the latest crisis in the state while about 1,000 lives are believed to have been lost in the last three years.
Jang, on Thursday, blamed the latest outbreak of violence in his state on security operatives whom he said disobeyed his instruction to prevent “the impending bloodshed”.
The governor who spoke at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos, where he was received by his supporters on his return from a 10-day medical trip abroad, said: “I received security reports about the crisis, and I instructed the security agencies to ensure they prevent the impending bloodshed before I travelled out. But how it was allowed to happen I don’t know; I’m yet to be briefed.”
Amidst the blame game, however, two communities, Tsohon-Foron and Kunzen-Gashish, both in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state, were attacked at about 1.00am on Friday morning leaving not less than 12 persons dead.
Eye witnesses said the people were attacked by about 30 assailants who were all dressed in black attires. Eight members of a family and a visitor were killed at Tsohon-Foron, while the rest three met their death at Kunzen-Gashish.
But the state government yesterday (Friday) disclosed that 54 arrests have been made so far, adding that most of the suspects are being charged to court.
“Prosecution of suspects of the recent attacks has begun, and the law will take its full course,” the state’s commissioner of information and communication, Mr. Abraham Yiljap, who briefed the press after a Security Council meeting, presided over by Governor Jang, said.
A former deputy Senate President, Senator Wash Pam, who hails from one of the communities, described the attack as “guerrilla style”, noting that the assailants pounced on a household and wiped out an entire family.
Meanwhile, the member representing Jos South/Jos East in Federal House of Representatives, Bitrus Kaze, has condemned the call for a state of emergency to be declared in the state by his colleague in the Senate, Senator Kabiru Gaya, describing it as a ridiculous demand.
Kaze said: “I take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms possible the calls by a former governor of Kano State, Senator Kabiru Gaiya, for the declaration of emergency rule on the Plateau. Senator Gaya’s ridiculous demand is a common refrain of our traducers and known sponsors of the Jos crisis.”
The lawmaker, in a press statement said: “It baffles me that Senator Gaya will single out Plateau for the declaration of emergency rule when he has not found any reason to prescribe same for Borno, the headquarters of Boko Haram terrorists, who are being freed in Kano his home state.”
In a related development, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has urged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to redefine public perception of its role as an agency dealing just with the issuance of passports by rising up to the occasion of security challenge in the country.
A statement by Fashola’s media aide, Mr. Hakeem Bello, disclosed that the governor made the remark at the Lagos House while hosting the Comptroller of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Lagos State Command, Mr. Abbas Ahmed who paid him a courtesy visit.
Fashola said the Immigration Service, in its conception and by its territorial location should be at the forefront of intelligence gathering in the current efforts to secure the country.
“I think apart from one or two other organizations that I can think of, Nigerian Immigration Service is, perhaps, the most strategic rallying point for intelligence gathering in the country.
“In the heart of that organization is the ability to gather intelligence, sifting through tons of papers, profiling photographs, profiling people who go through and pass through our border posts and so many other things. This is the time when you can, by your very clear action, demonstrate to Nigerians that you are more than an agency whose role is simply to issue passports. It will not be achieved simply by talking about it,” he said.