•Jonathan orders security agencies to arrest culprits
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE and ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja, DAVID MOLOMO,Yola and ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE, Kaduna
There was stampede of students and lecturers from Mubi, Adamawa State yesterday following Indpendence Day’s massacre of 40 students by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram. The higher institutions are Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State University and the School of Health Technology. About 26 students were killed at the Federal Polytechnic with the other two institutions accounting for 14 deaths.
Authorities of the polytechnic closed the institution yesterday. This is even as President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday ordered security agencies to arrest the culprits. Also, Senate President David Mark called for the enforcement of capital punishment law.
Meanwhile, the students of Federal Polytechnic, Mubi were said to have defied their ongoing semester examinations and packed their bags and luggages to use the free period preceding the curfew to flee. Those that were lucky boarded commercial vehicles while those not so lucky patronized trailers to leave the town.
Those not fortunate enough to meet up the free time opted to trek over 15kilometres to Mararaba to board buses plying Maiduguri or Yola, depending on the destinations of the students.
As at Press time, different death tolls were being bandied by students, the lecturers and security operatives.While the students told Daily Sun that the death toll was 40,the lecturers said it was over 50,but the Police Public Relations Officer, Ibrahim Mohammed, a Deputy Superintendent, said that 26 persons were killed. The exodus of the students has generated tension in Mubi and its environs, as people feared that they could be attacked.
The Police declared that they could not rule out the involvement of the students in the last Monday’s killings because of the nature of the operations, which they said was selective as houses off campus were being pinpointed and students randomly killed. However, students who witnessed the incident and preferred to remain anonymous, said that some of those killed were final year students who were preparing to defend their academic projects while others were starting their examinations to move to the next class.
In Abuja yesterday, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, briefed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the killings which elicited condemnations from all members. Presidential spokesman. Dr. Reuben Abati, said President Jonathan described the killings as tragic, sad, barbaric and shocking. “The President has directed securuty agencies to investigate the matter and get to the root because this kind of incident, where people were called out and shot, is really shocking.
“He directed that no stone should be left unturned in the bid by the law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators of the mayhem are brought to book”. Abati said government regretted that the massacre occurred when considerable progress was being made in tackling the security challenges in some parts of the country.
The Commissioner of Police in Adamawa State, Godfrey Okeke, confirmed that 26 bodies had been deposited in the mortuary. Okeke said the killers came with a hit list from which they identified their targets before gunning them down. Meanwhile, angry Senators yesterday demanded that the Presidency must fish out those behind the Mubi killings.
The Senate urged President Jonathan to expeditiously apprehend the killers and prosecute them. The Upper Legislative Chamber also observed one-minute silence in honour of the dead. Mark called for the enforcement of capital punishment law as provided in the statut0es. The Senators expressed sadness and anger over the massacre. Senator Jubrilla Bindu representing Mubi, raised a motion while Chairman of the Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Dahiru Awaisu Kuta, urged the Senate to find out, through the National Intelligence and Security Committee and let them “interact with the security agencies to let us know what is happening.”
Senator Oluremi Tinubu said: “It’s high time we declare a vote of no confidence in this government. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu observed that the Mubi killings could be as a result of a glitch in the security system.
His words:”This is indeed a very sad day for us as a country. Let’s just for a moment imagine that we are the parents of these children killed in Mubi. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. I stand here to condemn it and it’s evil…What happened in Mubi is a failure of the security system.” The Senate President condemned the killings, calling on the executive to tackle insecurity in the country by applying capital punishment law for the perpetrators. Mark said: “This is a very painful moment for us as a nation.
The people who are dead could not be as a result of their own fault. Every state government has the responsibility of providing security for those who live in that state… “People are not killing in the United States of America because of unemployment or desertification or flooding.
The security challenges before us in this country are grievous and we have to tackle them headlong. “Even if it’s just attacking the symptoms now, those who are involved must be brought to book. I know that this is a democracy and with due respect to all of us, capital punishment is still in our statute books and this is the time to test it and use it as a deterrent to others and fast too,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Senate suspended a request from President Jonathan to borrow $7,905,690,000.00 for pipeline projects under the Medium Term (2012-2014) External Borrowing Plan. Listed as the first order of the day on the Senate’s Order Paper, Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba urged the chamber to tarry awhile before giving its approval. “We need further clarification on this from the executive.
I move that we stand it down till another legislative day. I so move.” Deputy Minority Leader Ahmed Sani Yerima seconded the motion, which suspended legislative consideration of the presidential request. In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony N. Z Sani, the ACF said news of the attacks and killings of some innocent students was very shocking to all lovers of peace, humanity and sanctity of life. “The young students could not possibly be part of what might have caused any perceived grievances. The attacks are, therefore, condemable and barbaric for what they are.
“Towards this end, Arewa Consultative Forum appeals to the security agencies and to all Nigerians, especially those around Mubi Local Government,with patriotic courage to go as far as efforts can go and fish out the perpetrators of the abominable attacks and bring them to justice as a deterrence against any future occurrence”, it stressed.