Gunmen kill security personnel
THE ceasefire pledged by the insurgent Boko Haram is being received with a pinch of salt, as the group has been given at least one month to prove that it keeps its words, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Ibrahim, has said.
Similarly, the leader of the Northern Civil Society Coalition, Shehu Sani, and former governor of old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, have expressed doubts over the ceasefire assurance.
Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after the Boko Haram sect announced a ceasefire, gunmen suspected to be of the same sect on Tuesday morning attacked the patrol vehicle of a private security firm, Crown Security Guards, killing its personnel, Athanasus Sabo, near the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) main entrance.
Admiral Ibrahim stated this yesterday while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja at the third Seminar on National Security, organised by the Alumni Association of National Defence College (AANDEC). He added that the excitement that had greeted the announcement not withstanding, “we must treat them with a lot of caution.”
This year’s theme, “Contemporary National Security Challenges: Policy Options,” according to the President of AANDEC, Rear Admiral A.G. Adedeji (rtd), “seeks to address the issues that had kept the entire country under some form of insecurity.
“Given that Boko Haram has continued to hit hard, the incidents of kidnapping too go on unabated and so are the crimes of armed robbery, illegal bunkering/oil thefts and pipeline vandalisation.”
According to Ibrahim, the declaration cannot be taken hook, line and sinker by the government because, “there are certain objective tests.” He added: “Let’s assume we have a whole period of about one month where no one is attacked, nobody is shot, nobody is bombed or beheaded, no church is bombed, where no mosque is threatened, if they can guarantee one month only, then we can begin to talk.”
He maintained: “Whatever must have brought about this (declaration of a ceasefire) will further enhance our security, and it is a recognition of a very futile approach to solving whatever they considered their problem.”
For Sani, who is also the President of Civil Rights Congress (CRC), “the reported unilateral ceasefire by a faction of the Islamist insurgent in Northern Nigeria is a welcome development if it is for real,” and “it can only be real if the ceasefire comes through the true leadership of the group engaged in the armed violence.”
On his part, Musa said: “I hope the ceasefire declaration by Boko Haram is genuine. This is because some of us believed that the Boko Haram insurgency is the creation of the government to divert attention from its failure and non-performance.
“You can see that there has been the talks of dialogue by the government, and on each occasion we are told that the dialogue failed. Whose interest is the failure of the dialogue serving when insecurity in the country continues and innocent people are killed?”
According to an eyewitness, Malam Banna Modu, the gunmen came on a tricycle and shot Sabo on the head after, which they fled before the arrival of the men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) at the scene. Sabo was said to have died while being taken to the hospital.
When contacted, the Borno State Police Command spokesman, Gideon Jibrin, confirmed the incident, adding, however, that no arrests had been made over the incident.
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