• Sect sets back North 500-1000 years
By Tobi Soniyi, Paul Obi in Abuja and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said it had uncovered new tactics by the Boko Haram sects, as female suicide bombers now carry babies on their back to evade detention.
This is as the Vice Chancellor of University of Maiduguri, Professor Abubakar Njodi on Friday raised the alarm that Boko Haram had added to the educational disadvantage of the North which would take between 500 and 1000 years to enable the region compete educationally with the South.
Also, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said restoring normalcy to the lives of Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast remained a firm commitment of the Federal Government.
Director of Defence Information, Brig Gen Rabe Abubakar said Friday that the menace of using babies to evade arrest and detection posed a great threat to identifying many of the suicide bombers in the North East where the military has continued to confront the insurgents.
Abubakar said: “Attention of the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has been drawn to a new tactic being adopted by female suicide bombers in the North East.
“Female suicide bombers are now evading detection from security operatives by carrying babies on their back that ordinarily pass them for innocent nursing mothers.”
He explained that “the two recent suicide bomb attacks in Madagali, Adamawa State were instructive in this regard.
“The DHQ wishes to seize this opportunity to appeal to members of the public to be patient and cooperate with the military and other security agencies while carrying out thorough security search and checks as the essence is to nip in the bud the murderous intention of the Boko Haram suicide bombers.
“The DHQ wishes to state further that the usual traffic ‘go-slow’ at military and security check points as a result of rigorous security checks are not meant to cause public discomfort or a deliberate action to induce traffic disruptions on our roads.”
Abubakar added that “Members of the public are therefore urged to always volunteer useful information to the military and other security agencies that would assist in exposing Boko Haram and their evil machinations in our society and to make our communities,” the Director of Information stated.
Njodi made this prediction while playing host to the Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI) led by its Vice Chairman, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa that paid a visit to the institution to commiserate with him over the recent Boko Haram attack which killed five persons including a professor of veterinary medicine.
The VC said: “Education in the North was already endangered prior to Boko Haram, and that a study that was conducted before the havoc of Boko Haram stated that the North was behind the South for 100 years.”
Njodi noted that though the understanding was that the North was behind the South by 150 years in education, he felt that the difference could have grown to between 500 and 1000 years.
He assured that as an institution of higher learning, University of Maiduguri would continue to contribute its quota towards bridging the gap.
He said: “We saw it (the attack) as a challenge we have to encounter. We have known from the onset that the fight was against us. If Boko Haram is a struggle, we knew it was against us for Boko Haram literally meaning a fight against western education and as a university, we are light of western education. When it came on that fateful day, we knew it had come to us though we had tried to avert it.”
Earlier Tumsa had stated that the PCNI was at the university on solidarity and condolence visit and to build a synergy on how to bring back the lost glory of the Northeast region.
The PCNI delegation was also at the State Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri to visit the victims of the recent Nigerian Air Force misfire on Rann. He donated N20 million to the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Labaran Ahmed to aid free treatment of the victims who also received N10,000 each in addition to another N1 million was donated to the caregivers.
The federal government pledge through the Acting President was issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande said Osinbajo during a visit by the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ms. Ertharin Cousin to the State House, Abuja.
He said, “We are working on how people can get back to their normal lives.
“So many people are in need, it’s a tough challenge, but we are committed.”
He said that the Federal Government was also working on how to help the children especially regarding education and housing.
While appreciating the support of international agencies like the United Nations in the effort, Osinbajo said the Federal Government would continue to secure the places where peace had been restored, stressing that dealing with the security challenges was an ongoing task for government.
He appreciated the visit of the World Food Programme Executive Director and her delegation, while acknowledging the agency’s assistance in the Northeast region especially regarding children and families.
He pledged more cooperation from the government.
Cousin had said that she came to brief the Acting President and to extend the greetings of the Secretary General of the UN as well as commend the Federal Government for the support WFP enjoyed in Nigeria.
The Executive Director expressed appreciation that since the establishment of a FG inter-ministerial committee which the Vice President coordinated, there had been a significant improvement in the implementation of the UN.