DSS Foils Plot To Bomb Kano, Others During Sallah

DSS Chronicles Early 2017 SuccessesThe Department of State Service (DSS) says it has uncovered a plot by suspected terrorists to bomb Kano and some Northern states during the Sallah celebration.

The DSS made the announcement after arresting an explosive expert and the mastermind behind the planned attack, one Bashir Mohammed.

According to the service, the suspect had planned to bomb soft targets such as markets, public parks, public processions, recreation and worship centres during the forthcoming Sallah celebration.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Mr Nnanna Nnochiri of the DSS said the service has also uncovered plans by terrorist elements to infiltrate the ranks of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) during their rallies.

He, therefore, advised members of the IMN to desist from staging any form of procession or demonstration.

The service, however, encouraged all residents to disregard the antics of terrorist elements to cause breakdown of law and order, giving the assurance that they are working hand in hand with other security agencies to ensure that no section of the country is attacked during and after the festivities.

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Okah’s Refusal To Support Jonathan Triggered Trial – Keyamo

Activist lawyer, Festus Keyamo has described the trial and judgement of Henry Okah, leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) as political.

Mr Keyamo, in a telephone interview with Channels Television, said Mr Okah’s problems started when he refused an offer to support the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said, “I want to let Nigerians and the World know that there’s a lot of politics involved in this matter; because I am aware that so many overtures were made to Henry Okah to support the Jonathan administration openly, like other militants were doing.

“They needed his support so badly and government officials, friends of Jonathan travelled to South Africa, met Henry Okah, stayed with him and courted his support. Henry Okah did not agree to their terms. They wanted him to openly support the Jonathan’s administration at that time.”

Mr Okah was on Tuesday jailed for 24 years by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg after being convicted of masterminding the 15 March 2010 bombing in Warri, Delta State and the 1 October bombing in Abuja.

The court handed a 10 year jail term to Mr Okah for MEND’s threat to deal with South Africans.

Be Cautious of Boko Haram’s Ceasefire Announcement, Army Chief Warns FG

The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sahaad has asked the Federal Government to treat the ceasefire declared by a faction of the Boko Haram Islamic sect with caution.

Admiral Sahaad, who spoke with reporters after a meeting in Abuja, also called on government to strengthen its security operations all over the country to avert further attacks by the group.

According to him, defence officials are excited on the declaration of ceasefire by members of the sect but, will not rest on its oars in ensuring the security of lives and properties in Nigeria.

Other security officials in the country also commended members of the group for the ceasefire.

A faction of the Boko Haram sect had on Monday declared ceasefire after allegedly holding talks with “officials of Borno State Government and leaders of thought from the state”.

“I am announcing this ceasefire with the approval and consent of the leader Sheikh Abubakar Shekau. We, therefore, call on all our members to stop all acts of violent immediately and await further directives,” said Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who introduced himself as the second in command to Mr Shekau.

He added that members of the Boko Haram should relate the ceasefire message to those “who are not aware or informed of today’s (Monday) development.”

Aziz explained: “The Boko Haram ceasefire is nationwide and commences immediately.”

He, however, denied the group’s involvement in the recent attacks and killings in Borno and other parts of the North, attributing the violence to the activities of armed robbers and other criminals that allegedly operate under the guise of Boko Haram.

While speaking on the violence that took over Maiduguri recently, Aziz distanced the group from such acts, pointing out that such attacks were politically-motivated by those seeking power in the Borno Emirate Council, government or otherwise, but not in line with the ideology of the group who are fighting for the cause of Allah.

He also urged the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other security agents to respond positively to the ceasefire.

He said: “Talks with government officials on how to surrender our arms and weapons has also commenced,” urging members of the sect to cooperate fully, by surrendering their arms and weapons to security agents.

The group had on 1 November 2012 said they were ready to ceasefire and listed some conditions. The conditions included the arrest and prosecution of a former governor of Borno State, and also that the dialogue must take place in Saudi Arabia.

They had also demanded that all their members, who were arrested and under the custody of security agencies be released immediately, just as their wives and children who were displaced following the crises should be rehabilitated into the society to allow room for dialogue with the Federal Government.

Nigerian mediators who were to represent the group in the dialogue with the Federal Government had included Shettima Ali Monguno, Muhammadu Buhari, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari and Barrister Aisha Wakil and her husband.

Boko Haram, which in Hausa, loosely translates to mean “Western education is sinful”, said they were fighting to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.
At least 2,800 people have died in the North and Abuja since the group unleashed violence in 2009. Its most lethal attack killed at least 186 people in Kano in January 2012 in co-ordinated bombings and shootings.

The group has repeatedly struck churches during services, at Christmas and Easter killing scores of people. A bomb attack on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla on Abuja’s outskirts during a packed Christmas Mass in 2011 killed at least 37 people.

Last Easter Sunday, a bombing at a church compound in northern Kaduna during a service killed at least 36 people.

In other major attacks, gunmen killed at least 19 people in two attacks on Christian worshippers in the Nigerian city of Kano and in the northeastern town of Maiduguri on April 29, 2012.

In June, three gunmen sprayed bullets at the congregation of a church in Biu Town, in northeastern Borno State. In Jos, a Boko Haram suicide bomber drove a car to the entrance of the Christ Chosen Church and blew it up.

In the same month, a bomb attack in a church in Kaduna triggered a week of tit-for-tat violence that killed at least 90 people.

In October a suicide bomber drove a sport utility vehicle full of explosives into a Catholic church during morning mass, killing eight and wounding more than 100. The most recent attack on a church a few weeks ago was when suicide bombers struck the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church at the Jaji barracks in Kaduna State killing 11 people and wounding 30.

Stop violence now, Northern governors beg terrorists

The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has appealed to terrorist groups in the country to give peace a chance, saying reverting to attacks and other acts of violence after weeks of reprieve will not advance the course of peace.

The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Babangida Muazu Aliyu in a statement noted that the senseless killing of innocent citizens in the last two weeks in various parts of the country has negated all efforts by the forum to restore peace to the country.

The forum while expressing serious concern at the renewed attacks on citizens, following the killing of 34 people in Yobe state noted that the overall implication of the rising wave of murders of Nigerians is that the security situation is worsening and that people are increasingly willing to resort to violence to settle their differences.

“We are worried that the security nightmare currently confronting the nation is capable of scaring off investors from Nigeria and putting the country on the travel advisory list of many countries around the world, thus dimming the country’s economic prospects,”

The forum however commended security agencies for the success recorded so far in the fight against terrorism in some parts of the north but urged them not to relent, saying the little success recorded should motivate them to do more.

Damaturu remains calm after morning explosion

Normalcy have been restored in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital after an early morning bomb attacks targeting police officers who were on their way to the command headquarters for the day’s routine work.

As at the time of filing in this report, Damaturu is calm but most residents are in their respective houses for fear of being involved in the sporadic gun shots going on around town.

The State commissioner of Police, Patrick Egbuniwe told Channels Television’s correspondent, Jonathan Gopep in Damaturu that a time bomb was planted on the road leading to the command headquarters but the driver conveying the officers and men was able to dictate and avoid the bomb which exploded shortly.

He said normalcy has been restored as the road is currently being used by people travelling to the northern part of the state.

The current attack is coming just four days after the state governor,Ibrahim Gaidam in a special broadcast appealed to residents to embrace peace and to accord the security agents the desired support in quest for peace.

The latest attack will also slow resumption of commercial activities in Damaturu after the secretary to the state government, Babagoni, Machina had a close door session with Bank operators, security agents among other stakeholders to commence full operation as adequate security is being provided across the state.

Channels Television reported that the latest attack will also undermine the call on civil servants to shun any security threats to resume work which has been paralysed for couple of months since the insurgents began in the state.

Residents of Damaturu had flee the town days to the Salah celebration in fear of attack by the insurgents who were rumoured to be nursing more attacks during the celebration.