Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Ndubuisi Orji and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked Alikaramchi village, close to Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State, a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari visit, yesterday.
Bamus Garba, a resident of the area who confirmed the fresh attack, said twin suicide bombers struck around 9:10pm. He said the attack happened some meters away from his home.
“We heard loud explosions close to my neighbour’s house. I cannot confirm the casualty because we cannot go out at this time of the day,” he said.
Ali Dusuman, a member of civilian JTF, a vigilante group, said eight persons sustained injuries in the attack while two suicide bombers were killed.
Dustman said a team from the explosive ordinance department of the police has visited the scene alongside some security personnel.
During his visit, Buhari had blamed community leaders in Borno State for recent terrorist attacks, saying they could not have happened without their knowledge.
In the latest attack, terrorists targeted the village of Auno, killed at least 30, burnt property, looted valuables and abducted women and children.
Buhari, who visited the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Garbai El-Kanemi, and the governor, but avoinded the troubled Auno town, said the fight against insurgency could not be executed without good intelligence and support from the people.
“Boko Haram or whatever they are cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing; traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“With my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this end.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I campaigned in 2015 and last year on three fundamental issues, which include security, you cannot preside over an institution or a country if it is not secure.
“This is just common sense, everybody knows this, even those that have not gone to school know this.
“On the issue of economy, the Nigerian youths are over 60 per cent of our population, with many of them below 30 years. We have to remind them that they must help us to stabilise the country so that they can have a better future.
“If they do not cooperate with government, they are endangering their future; I am already 77 now, how many years do I expect under normal circumstances?”
He reiterated his commitment to work with the security agencies to enhance security and protect life and property in the country.
“We are working for you in this country; as Commander-in-Chief, I am dealing with the security institutions and I believe there is improvement in security.
“I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies; let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to their land,” he said.
The President noted that his visit to the state was to sympathise and show his respect to the governor and the people of the state.
The President lauded Governor Babagana Zulum for providing quality leadership in the state.
He called on the military to take the fight to the insurgents on the fringes of Sambisa Forest, the Lake Chad Basin and other hideouts.
He tasked the military to repeat their successes of 2015 and 2017, take the battle to the insurgents and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad.
He also urged the security agencies to be patient with the civilian populace and give opportunities to internally displaced persons to access their communities in order to return to their occupations.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged President to go beyond his sympathy visit and take decisive steps to end the killings in state and other parts of the country.
The PDP charged the President to also visit other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger and Taraba, among others, to “face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure has caused our nation.”
It charged President Buhari to ensure he undertook subsequent visits by road so that he could feel the agony Nigerians are being subjected to with the parlous state of road infrastructure and security in the country.
The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the Borno booing was a clear message to President Buhari that Nigerians hold him responsible for rising insecurity in the country.
PDP expressed the hopes that President Buhari’s visit to Borno State “which came only after the PDP and Nigerians criticised Mr. President for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, is not part of the usual presidential media stunt that will not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism.”
“Our party holds that Nigerians do not deserve a distant President, who sits in the comfort of the Presidential Villa and luxury jets, remaining indifferent to the pains, anguish and torments that compatriots suffer on daily basis.
“The PDP hereby calls on Mr. President to quickly embark on these visits and monitor, on first-hand basis, the damage, which his administration has caused and for which Nigerians are demanding that he resigns and allow more competent hands to manage the affairs of our nation.
“It is only after these visits that the Buhari presidency will appreciate that those calling on him to rejig the nation’s security architecture mean well for our dear country.”
In the aftermath of last Sunday’s killings in Auno, the House of Representatives, yesterday, charged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency to contain rising insecurity across the country.
The House directed the military to stop keeping commuters overnight at a particular spot along the Maiduguri-Damaturu Road and allow them continue on their journey after 6pm.
It mandated the House committees on Defence and Army to probe why the military has checkpoints in the area.
This followed the adoption of a motion on the “Recent Attack by the Boko Haram Insurgents at Auno Village, Borno State,” sponsored the Chief Whip, Tahir Monguno, at yesterday’s plenary.
Monguno, in his lead debate, informed the House about the killing of travellers at Auno village, located on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road in Borno State.
The lawmaker explained that owing to the security challenges in the North-East, commuters on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road are compelled to suspend their journeys once it is 6pm.
However, he stated that it is now dangerous to keep commuters waiting in the night, as a result of the prevailing security situation in the zone.
According to him, “aware the Auno Village is one of the spots where the Nigeria Army forces instruct the commuters on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road to spend the night before proceeding their journeys the next morning.
“Again aware that on Sunday 9 February, 2020, while commuters in their hundreds were waiting in the Auno Village the Military men left them to their fate or at best abandoned them.
“Disturbed while the commuters were waiting to spend the night, Boko Haram insurgents attacked, kidnapped and burnt some of their Vehicles: Concerned that the occupants of two Hummer Buses and one Sharon Bus were Kidnapped, 18 vehicles burnt and 30 people killed, including an infant.
“Also concerned that no super military camp exists on the Damanturu-Maiduguri Road, hence exposing the commuters to the danger of being killed, maimed or kidnaped.”
Contributing to the debate, the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said with the spate of insecurity in the country, there is no doubt that the service chiefs have “outlived their usefulness”, and should go.
“I still insist that the service chiefs have over lived their usefulness. The service chiefs have outlived their usefulness and they should go. Every now and then we keep coming here discussing this matter.
Our brothers and sisters who voted us in must be protected. Mr. Speaker, if care is not taken, one day our brothers will match in here and ask us to leave due to what is currently going on in the country.