Northwest states of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and the neighbouring Niger may resort to hiring mercenaries if the federal government fails to end the ongoing reign of terror within their territories speedily.
The Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i, who issued the threat yesterday, also said the devastating attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train last Tuesday, which claimed eight lives, would have been avoided if the federal government heeded his earlier warnings.
Only yesterday, the police in Kaduna defused an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) found at Shanono area of Rigasa community in Igabi Local Government Area of the state.
The state government said it had received luggage, valuables and other belongings of some of the passengers on the Abuja-bound train attacked by terrorists on Tuesday.
Governor El-Rufa’i, who spoke to State House Correspondents in an interview conducted in Hausa language, had visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa to provide updates and inform him about the possible resolve of governors of Northwest states.
The governor also raised the alarm that the terrorists, with the sort of arrogance and boldness they have in operated with in recent times, could try to subdue to nation if the military fails to act proactively by storming their camps and hideouts in the forests and wipe them out once and for all.
El-Rufa’i, who maintained that security agencies, including the military, are aware of the locations and specific mappings of the terrorists, however, said President Buhari had assured that he would take required actions and the ongoing carnage would be caged in a matter of months.
It will be recalled that terrorists blew off a part of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line on Tuesday, leading to heavy armed attack on the passengers, crew members and security personnel on the train, among whom a yet-to-be ascertained number of persons were abducted.
The governor revealed that the attack on the train was carried out by Boko Haram elements, contrary to the belief that the terrorists were the same bandits known to have been terrorising the entire Northwest in the last few years, adding that the attack was well planned over a long period.
Speaking about the possibility of forestalling the sort of attack that was seen last Tuesday, the governor said: “To us, this happened because we have consistently written letters to the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
“This attack shows that it is not the bandits that we are used to. These ones came prepared. They have planned this attack for long to the extent that they know the first class coach where they will get the big personalities.
“Therefore, this is a serious issue that we have been suggesting that, these forests where these people are, we should go there and bomb the forests for everyone in the forest to be killed. Honestly, if this is not done, this banditry in Niger, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto will not end.
“This thing can consume the entire Nigeria, because the way these people are getting money, the way they boast that they don’t fear authorities, they don’t fear military, I don’t know why up till now the Nigerian military will not enter these forests and deal with these people.
“Why do we always wait for them to strike before we go after them? Why can’t we go to where they are and kill them? We know where they are.
“We have the maps as the military know, the policemen know and everyone knows. DSS is giving us report every time: see where Dogo Gide is, see what he is planning.
“Why is it that up till now, the security have not gone to kill them? Where are our soldiers? Why have they not done it? That is why I have come to see Mr President.
“And also I have said that if these actions are not taken, it becomes a must for us as governors to take measures to protect our citizens, even if it means we will import mercenaries from outside the country to do it.
“If our soldiers fail, I swear to God, we will do that. This issue has gotten to an alarming state.
“Mr President assured me that he will take actions and that this thing will be brought to an end within months.”
Explosive discovered near Kaduna train station
The police in Kaduna yesterday defused an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) found at Shanono area of Rigasa community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Rigasa is a short distance from the Kaduna Terminus of the Abuja-Kaduna train service
“We wrote them twice to stop night trips because we had security report that Boko Haram had entered and they were planning to blow up the train. We wrote them twice but they didn’t listen.
“Secondly, the Air Force, in response to that security report, went and established a base at Katari, where helicopters can land and refuel, so that if anything happens, they can quickly respond.
“But that cannot work at night because some helicopters cannot even fly at night. That is why we advised the Federal Government that the night train should be stopped.
“We suggested that the last trip should leave Abuja by 4:00 pm so that they could arrive in Kaduna before night fall and same for last trip from Kaduna, but our advice was not taken.
“It took the security agents over an hour to get to the scene when the attack happened because it was night. It would have been faster in the afternoon.
The IED recovery was the second in the area in 24 hours even as security operations to rid the North West zone of terrorists intensifies following the Monday attack on a Kaduna-Abuja train.
All the train passengers abducted by the gunmen remained in captivity at press time.
However, the Kaduna State Government said yesterday that it had received luggage, valuables and other belongings of some of the passengers on the Abuja-bound train.
The State Police Command confirmed yesterday that its bomb experts successfully defused the second explosive device.
No casualty was recorded, spokesman of the State Police Command, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said.
A Rigasa resident, Tijjani Umar, said some children discovered the IED in a jerry can. It was covered with black polythene and left close to a stream in the community.
“It was kept at the same spot where the Thursday IED was discovered. We don’t know what is happening in this community,” Umar said.
“It was my elder brother’s wife that rushed in to inform me that some children found another bomb inside a jerry can,” he added.
The police were alerted and responded immediately.
Their spokesman warned residents to be “more vigilant wherever you are in the state.”
Kaduna govt receives passengers’ belongings
Internal Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan said yesterday that the military recovered the passengers’ luggage and other valuables from within and around the scene of the train attack.
Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i expressed thanks to the military authorities for their careful handling and documentation of the items comprising over 100 pieces of luggage, valuables, gadgets and personal effects.
Nine persons have already collected their belongings after presenting proof at the point of recovery by the military.
An inventory of the items handed over to the state is being kept.
PDP’s attempt to profit from attack irresponsible – APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday took a swipe at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the opposition party’s criticism of government’s inability to prevent the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train.
The APC dismissed PDP’s comments as “unconscionable, insensitive and irresponsible”, saying they were all aimed at profiting from the incident.
The National Publicity Secretary of APC, Felix Morka, said in a statement in Abuja that the ruling party remained committed to working with relevant authorities to bring perpetrators of the despicable act to justice.
He said: “While our nation is in deep mourning over recent terrorist train attack and other acts of violence perpetrated by avowed enemies of our nation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has sought to profit from our collective grief and tragedy in its desperate quest to seize power and plunge our country back into ruinous looting ways.
“In one of its many irrational outbursts, the PDP has suggested that the All Progressives Congress, APC-led government is complicit in the heinous train attack in which some of our compatriots lost their lives, several injured and others unaccounted for.
“It is outright unconscionable, insensitive and irresponsible for the PDP to seek to politicise a terrorist attack that cut short the lives of our dear ones for its own base interest.
“Granted that Nigerians have become accustomed to PDP’s arrant flippancy, the occasion of a national tragedy is not exactly a good time for puerile rascality.
“The President further directed the rescue of all kidnapped passengers and ordered a manhunt for the perpetrators of these acts of terror.
“The management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) was also directed to speedily repair the damaged lines and restore services without delay.
“Several senior administration officials visited and condoled with bereaved families and extended support and care to those injured in the attack while the PDP continues to engage in idle mudslinging.
“APC mourns our dearly departed and our thoughts and prayers are with families and friends of our dearly departed and the injured and the unaccounted for.
“Our party remains committed to working with relevant authorities to bring the perpetrators of these despicable acts to justice.”
Presidential aspirant donates N15m to victims, commends Nigerian Army, others
Mr Tein Jack-Rich, President and Founder, Belemaoil Producing Ltd. and presidential aspirant from the All Progressives Congress, yesterday donated N15 million to the victims of the Kaduna-Abuja train attack.
Jack-Rich, who made the donation in Kaduna y during a courtesy call on the Kaduna State Government, called for collective and concerted efforts towards tackling the security challenges in the country.
The presidential aspirant, who was received by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, explained that he was in Kaduna to commiserate with the state government and the victims of the attack.
He explained that his action was in response to the Federal Government’s call, through the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amechi, urging Nigerians for financial support to treat the victims.
He expressed concern on the spate of insecurity in the country and called for concerted efforts and support from all Nigerians to address the security challenges across the country.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Col. Stephen Onuchukwu, said that the hospital had received 26 victims and discharged 19.
Onuchukwu added that the victims were treated at no cost as part of the hospital’s corporate social responsibility.
One of the victims, Mr Yakubu Nuhu, Katsina State Commissioner of Health, commended the Nigerian Army for the rescue which, according to him, had saved several lives.
Nuhu also thanked the hospital for the best of medical care given to them at no cost.
Three killed, 20 abducted in another Kaduna community attack
Gunmen in the state struck afresh at Ungwar Maiduniya and Ungwar Bulus in Chikun Local Government area on Thursday night, killing three persons and kidnapping no fewer than 20 others.
The councilor representing Sabo Ward, Hon. Makama, confirmed that two persons were killed while the number of those kidnapped was being compiled.
A source said the bandits entered the communities in large numbers at about 9pm on Thursday, shooting indiscriminately.
It was also gathered that four of the bandits were trapped. Their fate could not be immediately ascertained.