Kano bombing may trigger ethnic war, says Senate
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The Senate has expressed serious concern over Tuesday’s bomb attack at the Central motor park in Kano, saying the act of terror had the potential of igniting an ethno-religious war in the country.
This is even as the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to resign following his failure to contain the activities of the Boko Haram sect and other security challenges facing the country.
Also, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, yesterday said the bombing incident may be a ploy to throw the North and the entire country into crisis starting from Kano.
Suspected terrorists had blown up a Lagos-bound bus killing about 100 persons including passengers, traders and other par users.
At least 10 luxury buses were destroyed in the process.
The lawmakers, who spoke during plenary yesterday, condemned the mindless attack by suicide bombers and warned against attempts aimed at creating disunity in the country.
Lawmakers of the upper legislative chamber led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, observed one-minute silence in honour of the victims of the blast.
Describing the attack as regrettable, Ekweremadu appealed to the Federal Government to explore alternative options aimed at preventing a re-occurrence of such ugly incident.
Ekweremadu said: “What happened in Kano is quite regrettable. We must do everything possible to end this carnage. My appeal is that government should consider other options to end this situation.”
In his contribution, Senator Uche Chukwumerijie said that 80 per cent of those killed in the blast were Igbos.
His words: “The feedback is that the target this time seems to be undoubtedly ethnic and regional and this has to be addressed as ethnicity and religion are tense areas in Nigeria.
“Five buses were involved and all five buses belong to owners of the same ethnic group. It was like a volcano with no one able to go in because of all the fire and explosion. Eighty per cent of those killed were Ibos and over a 100 died. The outcome of this incident if not managed, there will be fallout.
“The perception of the Ibos is that the attacks were targeted at them. The Nigerian security situation must be visibly and effectively tackled,” he noted.
The senator added: “More dangerous still, they believe that the Monday mayhem was a pre-meditated attack primarily aimed at Igbos. This is the view of a group, a major component of our plural community. This view has two strategic implications for the viability and vitality of the Federation.
“This first implication is the possibility of extreme alienation and resort to the option of withdrawing allegiances from the state since the most crucial of the obligations of a state in this social contract is protection of life and property.”
“For Igbos in Kano, the people and their leadership insist on three immediate remedial actions from government. One is permission to arrange private burials, in place of mass burials, for their loved ones because some of the deceased were their leaders.
“Two, the Federal Government should set up a Committee to collect and manage any compensation fund for victims because the Igbos no longer trust the Kwankwaso administration.
“Thirdly, Federal Government should beef up security arrangements around Ndigbo and other endangered groups in the North. They demand a visibly effective termination of terrorism in Nigeria.
“The fight against terror ism is like a football match. The people are not interested in stories of efforts being made, but in actual results like victory goals in a football match.”
Also speaking Senator Kabiru Gaya called on President Jonathan to reconsider his position on amnesty for Boko Haram suspects saying: “We have a government. Is the government not supposed to provide security for the citizens? Do we wait until we become a failed state? People are working to destroy this nation and the government must do something. If it means dialogue, government should dialogue and when that is done, it can lead to amnesty.
“At least two people are killed every day in Kano. The government is not doing anything, the people are terrified, students don’t go to school anymore because of fear and everything is at a standstill,” he added.
“From history, Kano people have been business partners with other tribes in Sabon-Gari, we are worried that some people are working against the unity of this country, yet government is not doing anything.
“Nobody lives in peace, people are afraid. We have only 8,000 policemen in Kano to monitor security in the state. In my ward (alone), 10 boys were killed. People were killed.”
Tinubu, who was in Kano to sympathise with the Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, over the recent attack on the traditional ruler that kept him in London for 38 days as well as Monday’s bombing, told newsmen that the Boko Haram insurgency has dragged on for too long, suggesting that the security agents were yet to gather adequate intelligence to contain it.
“It is the responsibility of the president to protect lives and properties of Nigerians and ensure stability of the country. If he is not capable of doing this, then he should resign as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“President Jonathan cannot continue to blame one Inspector General of Police, after another. It is the responsibility of the President to ensure that unity and peace prevail in the country and that we are not divided by tribal and religion differences,” Tinubu said.
The former governor said it is regrettable that some highly placed Nigerians are feeding on the conflict, as it gives them unhindered access to country’s security vote and would ensure that there was no end to it.
“I am convinced that the Boko Haram conflict is sponsored and promoted by some highly placed people for economic reasons, while others try to polarise it along political divides,” he added.
He said that granting amnesty to the sect is inevitable if the country is to avoid a devastating war, stating that “we cannot afford to fight another war in our own country.”
He said: “I support the granting of amnesty to the sect but with some conditions, which include justice for those people with blood in their hands because it would go a long way in discouraging such dastardly acts in future.
“Again, we‘ll equally look at the police to see if for every action taken there is justification and punishment for those who committed crimes against humanity.”
The former governor also faulted the numerical strength of the police in Nigeria, putting it at 600,000, a figure he described as grossly inadequate, adding that even the training programme is equally inadequate.
In its reaction, JNI, in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, said that the Kano attack was unfortunate and urged government at all levels to do everything possible to nip such incidences in the bud and bring those responsible to face justice.
JNI also condemned the killing of a female Divisional Police Officer in Kano, while calling for calm and restraint over the unfortunate incidents.
JNI further called on Muslims to intensify prayers that would bring an end to the nightmare of insecurity in the country.
The statement reads: “Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President- General, once again condemned in the strongest terms the bomb blast that occurred in Kano.
Also, the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch yesterday gave President Jonathan a seven-day ultimatum to address the nation on the efforts the Federal Government has so far made to curb the escalating menace of Boko Haram and its consistent bomb attacks and wanton waste of lives in the country.