The newly appointed National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd, has said that dialogue with the members Boko Haram still remains the best option for peace to be restored to the North and other parts of the country.
Dasuki spoke when he paid a courtesy call on the Borno State Governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima at the Government House, Maiduguri yesterday even as 12 unidentified gunmen Thursday night invaded Gulak, headquarters of Madagali and Mubi Local Government Areas in Adamawa State, killing about four policemen, including three Inspectors and a Corporal after looting the police armoury.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special adviser on Political Matters, Alhaji Ali Gulak hails from Gulak, just like the Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Mr Bala Ngilari and Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Umaru Fintiri.
However, the Nigerian Army has chosen to celebrate this year’s Army Day Celebration in Kaduna which is currently engulfed in security challenges of terrorism and reprisal attacks to let the people know that the Military will not abandon them in their time of trials and tribulation, according to the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt General Onyeabor Azubilke Ihejirika.
Ihejirika spoke through the Chief of Army Civil Military Relations and Chairman of the NADCEL 2012, Major General Bitrus Kwaji who represented him at a briefing to herald the celebration in Abuja yesterday, also noted that Kaduna remained the home of the Military, where majority of its institutions were located, hence, the state would always play host to its activities irrespective of terrorism threats.
“The choice of Kaduna for this year’s NADCEL is deliberate. We want to assure the public that despite the security challenges and imposition of curfew in some areas, Kaduna is still home of the Nigeria Army. As you are aware, we have several Army institutions in Kaduna and we want to assure everybody that in spite of the challenges, we will not abandon them”, Ihejirika added, noting that the major highlight of the week-long ceremony will be the unveiling of a locally built Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, by the Nigerian Army by Mr. President. This is even as he also hinted in Kano State that more troops would be deployed in the state to boost the existing manpower.
Addressing Nigerian troops at the end of his one- day official visit to Kano State yesterday , Ihejirika said, “We want Kano to return quickly to peace because of its role in the socio- economic baseline of not only Nigeria but West Africa and to this effect more troops will be deployed so that you have the time to rotate and rest.”
Also, the Lagos State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has called on Christians in the state to set aside tomorrow as a day of fasting and prayers in churches in honour of those who lost their lives in different bomb attacks in parts of the North, a statement signed by Monsignor Bernard Okoduwa and Archbishop George Amu, chairman and secretary-general of CAN respectively stated, adding that the exercise had become necessary in view of the unending Boko Haram insurgence in most northern states, leading to persecution of Christians.
However, the NSA said that security challenges in the country had lingered for so long just as people have suffered untold hardship since insurgency began, adding that pragmatic solution must be found to check the trend.
He said he was in Borno to cross- fertilize ideas with the governor and other stakeholders on how best to resolve the lingering crisis, as according to him, the governors were in a better position to identify the situation on ground.
He further said that since the insurgency started, many methods had been adopted by the various security agencies to combat the situation but most of such methods failed to achieve the desired results pointing out that as such, dialogue still remains the best option.
The NSA said when he visited Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, almost all shops and other business premises were deserted, as the area remained as a ghost town just as most people deserted their houses for fear of being killed.
He therefore called on members of the Jamatul Ahlis Sunnah lid Daawati wal Jihad to come out and embrace dialogue, as the Federal Government was not only sincere but committed to amicable solution of the problems.
Dasuki further said that the Federal Government was determined to immediately resolve the security challenges in the country, as no meaningful development could be achieved without peace.
Responding, Governor Kashim Shettima thanked the NSA for coming to Borno barely a week after his appointment, adding that he was particularly impressed with his sense of humility and the good disposition he has for the people of Borno.
The Governor said the root cause of this insurgency could be attributed to unemployment and abject poverty among the people, adding that as such, his government was determined to create jobs for the teeming youths through agriculture, since 80 percent of the people in the state were farmers, and expressed optimism that with the support and prayer of Nigerians, peace would be achieved.
Shettima said his administration had continued to toe the path of dialogue and therefore called on the members of the sect as ‘’our brothers and citizens of Borno State,’’ to lay down their arms and embrace peace.
He said Borno has gone through many crisis in its history but came out stronger, hence he was optimistic that the state will come out stronger at the end of the current challenges.
He then prayed Almighty Allah will guide and protect him in the herculean task ahead of him.
On the attack on Gulak and Mubi in Adamawa State, reports from Madagali, a border local government between Adamawa and Borno States told Saturday Vanguard that the gunmen numbering about 12 had earlier attacked the Divisional Police Station in the town, where they killed the four policemen and some houses of notable personalities in the area.
According to the report, the invaders also attacked two old generation banks in the area, where they cartered away huge sums of money and other valuables.
The casualty figure occasioned by the attack was reportedly high as the entire town was enveloped by fear following sporadic shootings and heavy explosions that lasted for about one hour.
The attackers were said to have overrun the police station and emptied the armoury, after killing their victims.
However, at Mubi, explosives planted at a police station and another filling station in the commercial nerve centre of the state were quickly detected and defused by the Anti-bomb Disposal Squad stationed in the area.
A 6pm to 6am curfew has been imposed on the town and its environs which has witnessed attacks and killings more than any other town in the state in the last two years.
Adamawa State Police command has confirmed the attack on Gulak and Mubi Local Government Areas.
Spokesman for the command, ASP Numuel Yoila told Saturday Vanguard that a comprehensive report of the incidents were being compiled to ascertain the casualty figure.