By Maduabuchi NMeribeh/ Kano
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan today visited the city of Kano, the scene of the most deadly offensive, so far, by the Islamic militant group, the Boko Haram.
As it is the practice, Jonathan vowed to identify and deal with sponsors and foot-soldiers of the sect and also announced on BBC later that some arrests have been made. He was in the state to assess the extent of havoc wrought by the Islamic fundamentalists in last Friday’s coordinated attacks on the ancient city.
The Nigerian President told the BBC that some arrests have been made over the attacks which according to some sources have so far claimed over 160 lives.
“Some arrests have been made. Some died in the process. Some were suicide bombers,” Jonathan said. It is not clear whether the President was talking of fresh arrests or a couple of Boko Boko Haram members Police claimed to have arrested during the attack.
“There must be people who are sponsoring them. Terrorists all over the world have their source of income. We are also looking into those areas to make sure that the so-called Boko Haram… those who are encouraging them, those who are sponsoring them, shall be brought to book,” said Jonathan who added that the perpetrators of the dastard act will be made to face the full wrath of the law added.
While commiserating with the Emir of Kano, President Jonathan again promised that his administration will ensure that terrorism becomes a thing of the past in the country.
“Our coming today is to express our condolence to the good people of Kano over the dastardly acts. Those causing havoc will never succeed … The federal government will not rest until the perpetrators are brought to book. We will not rest until these terrorists are wiped out,” said the President.
“A terrorist attack on one person is an attack on all of us,” Jonathan said as he inspected sites targeted in the violence, and met the city’s top Muslim traditional leader, Emir Ado Bayero, pledging to boost security”, he added.
The attacks have been described the biggest single attack so far since about five years of the sect’s insurgency.
Last Friday, Boko Haram held Kano hostage bombing and shooting in about 10 locations. In the aftermath, about 200 people died, many were injured. Government and church properties were burnt.
Since the attack that sent fear and panic into the ancient city, security has been beefed up with soldiers taking over the streets.
Non-natives from the South were left with no choice than to embark on panic travelling. Many Southerners today turned up at the New Road Park in Sabon Gari, to board luxury buses to the Eastern parts of Nigeria, as government eased the 24-hour curfew into a dusk to dawn curfew.
President Jonathan at Emir Ado Bayero’s palace, commiserated with the Emir and the people of Kano just as he regretted the multiple bomb attacks on security formations and Saint Louis Catholic Church at Bompai.
“The people doing this are not spirit. They are among us. I seek the cooperation of all towards getting those involved in the havoc arrested. I assure Nigerians that the government will intensify its security in Kano and all over the country to unravel the misery behind this act.
“What is good for us as a nation is to look at our neighbours, to know what they do to enable us fish out these miscreants because if we don’t, one day, it may be against us. We will not rest until these terrorists are wiped out,” the President stated.
He charged Nigerians to be watchful of bad elements in the society who continue to distract peace and stability, adding that, “Nigerians should do everything possible to make sure that miscreants in our midst are immediately reported to security agents. It is the responsibility of all Nigerians to fight militancy.”
The President also promised to order the deployment of more security agents in the state in addition to providing them with modern security equipment and logistics.
“Any dangerous attack on any community is an attack to Nigerians. In some years back, none of us will believe that Nigeria will be involved in suicide bombing mission,” he stated.
He therefore appealed to traditional rulers and patriotic Nigerians to educate their people on the inherent danger of terrorism. While receiving the President in his palace, Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, in an emotional-laden tune condemned the perpetrators of the attack on Innocent citizens in the state, adding that Kano is now plunged into fears and apprehension which he urged the Federal Government to do everything to tackle the menace of insecurity in the country.
The Emir reiterated the fact that Kano being the most populous state in the country with a number of border communities should have adequate security personnel.
The President later visited the affected areas of the bomb blasts including the badly torched Zone 1 headquarters of the Police to access the damage. He promised that the Federal and state governments were ready to assist the injured and relatives of the dead during the attack.
--- Reporters Maduabuchi NMeribeh in Kano with Ayorinde Oluokun in Abuja contributed to this report which first ran in PM News Nigeria.