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Shettima suspends campaign over Maiduguri multiple blasts

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GOVERNOR Kashim Shettima of Borno State has shelved his All Progressive Congress (APC) campaign rallies midway in Southern Borno; following Saturday’s Maiduguri multiple blasts that killed 55 people at two markets and a motor park along Airport road.

   Shettima in a statement by his media aide, Isa Umar Gusau Sunday condemned the attacks in strong terms and those who perpetuated them.

The governor also condoles with families and friends of those that lost their lives and commiserated with those who sustained injuries.

   It reads in part: “Shettima who was in Hawul Local Government Area earlier to yesterday stopped the APC from making campaign speeches and instead, led prayers for the repose of victims of the bomb blast before he launched a free feeding programme to ease hardships faced by residents there arising from insurgency crisis across Borno State.

   “After getting information about the incident, he directed the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice whose Ministry deals with citizens’ rights, to visit all affected areas and ensure speedy evacuation of victims to hospitals and mobilize medical doctors for emergency treatments that will be shouldered by the State Government.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Power, Alhaji Mohammed Wakil and Coordinator and Media Campaign Director to Borno State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Inuwa Bwala have condemned Saturday’s incident as reprehensible.

   Wakil and Bwala in separate press statements yesterday called on local and International Human Rights Organizations to document and indict Boko Haram leaders for crime against humanity since the July, 2009 insurgency in Borno State.

   “The Governor has directed that all necessary steps be taken to save lives where possible no matter what is required. Governor Shettima was visibly troubled by the unfortunate bomb blast, which came at a time citizens of Borno were already adjusting to normal lives following successes being recorded by the combined efforts of the military, other security agencies and youth volunteers called the civilian JTF involved in ongoing counter insurgency operations in different parts of the State.”

   Shettima expressed agony over the latest attacks and others in recent and previous times, describing them as acts of evil that have no justification in Islam.

   Shettima said he will be holding an emergency meeting with different stakeholders in markets, motor parks and other public places to take new measures aimed at enhancing security in public places while he called on residents to patiently support whatever measures that will be taken in collective interest.

  The Governor said his administration was already putting measures in place for the takeoff of a multi-faith and multi-ethnic task force that will be saddled with the responsibility of evaluating all communities liberated from the hands of insurgents, to come with urgent steps towards reconstruction of residential houses and public infrastructures like water supply infrastructures, hospitals, schools, markets and other essentials of livelihood.”

  He said the task force, which is to work with security agencies, would ensure that liberated communities are certified safe and habitable for occupation by displaced persons.

  On blasts’ casualties, the statement said: “The number of those dead or injured will be made public after proper records are taken in order to avoid conflicting and misleading figures. He has since directed to take proper account and report to him with immediacy.” 

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Power, Alhaji Mohammed Wakil and Coordinator and Media Campaign Director to Borno state People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Inuwa Bwala have condemned Saturday’s incident as reprehensible.

   Wakil and Bwala in separate press statements yesterday called on local and International Human Rights Organizations to document and indict Boko Haram leaders for crime against humanity since the July, 2009 insurgency in Borno State.

The minister in the statement made available to newsmen in Maiduguri described Saturday’s multiple blasts as; “crime against humanity,” which the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hague should take up without further delay.

It reads in part, “The targets of Boko Haram are women, children and the elderly. Bombing civilian targets is a crime against humanity. I call on Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and other similar groups to deploy resources towards documenting for indictments the leaders of Boko Haram. Boko Haram leaders should face trial at the ICC.

   While commiserating with the families and victims of the bombings, the minister appealed to civilians to be extra vigilant, as defeated insurgents may have infiltrated some other areas.

   “We must be extra vigilant. We must be on guard all the time. All suspicious movements and objects should be reported to the police and other security personnel immediately, said Wakil in the statement.

  He added: “The indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets is a confirmation that the Boko Haram is defeated in conventional field and is now resorting to cowardly attacks on soft targets, like the Maiduguri markets, motor parks, mosques, and other public places in the metropolis.

   “As I commend our gallant military and security personnel over ongoing successes, I again call on them to redouble their efforts towards blocking access to soft targets even while routing the insurgents in conventional battle.”

Also reacting to Saturday’s incidents, Imam said, “We once again condemn the act and empathize with fellow citizens for the losses and pains being inflicted on them. Coming at a time hopes are beginning to rise that the end to the mindless carnage is coming to an end, it is really sad that some sadists are still bent on keeping the fire burning.”

Bwala in the statement however noted: “It is rather curious that such explosion occur only when the PDP is planning a visit, as was the case in Biu recently and Maiduguri.

“While we have our reservations, to the effect that there may be a deliberate sabotage of Federal Government efforts in ending insurgency in the state, we must condemn all efforts at further prolonging the sufferings of the people.

“We wish to condemn the attitude of the Borno State Government to such developments where it seeks to maximize political benefits from such unfortunate incidents rather than work to cushion its effects on the citizenry.”

Bwala also alleged that: “It is callous and the height of insensitivity for the Governor, Kashim Shettima to remain busy politicking in other parts of the state while Maiduguri burns. We urge the Governor to immediately cut his political misadventures in the southern part and return to Maiduguri to face his job as the Chief Security Officer of the state, now that there is no state of emergency in force.

“At this point we call upon security operatives to intensify intelligence gathering on some characters who we have always suspected of being the brains behind some of these dastardly acts.”



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