By Moses Gbande, Sanya Adejokun, Ayodele Adegbuyi, Akeem Oyetunji, & Ted Odogwu:
• Killings appalling, says UN
• Police arrest 93
• Security beef up in Kano
ANGRY with the way hundreds of innocent youths and women were massacred on Sunday morning in Jos, the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday sacked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Sarki Mukhtar.
He was replaced immediately by Lt. General Aliyu Gusau, who occupied the same position during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Gusau resigned in 2006 in his bid to succeed Obasanjo in 2007 but was stopped by the former President.
It was learnt yesterday that Jonathan took the decision due to the intelligence report he got that the office of the NSA should have alerted the presidency of an imminent attack in Jos.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, had earlier alerted of a plan by some fundamentalists to attack the Tin City.
A presidency source said Mukhtar’s sack “is a sign of more people to be fired in a few days to come.”
The National Security Council (NSC) rose from its three-hour meeting, passing a vote of no confidence on Mukhtar.
He has become the first casualty of the sectarian crisis in the North-Central state.
A statement signed by the spokesman to the Acting President, Ima Niboro, reads: “The Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has appointed Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd), as National Security Adviser. He replaces Major General Sarki Mukhtar (Rtd)
“Dr. Jonathan thanked the outgoing NSA for his services to the nation and the present administration, and wished him well in his future endeavours.”
Present at the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff, service chiefs, the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), the Director of Defence Intelligence, the Inspector-General of Police and the former NSA.
Meanwhile, still boiling over the massacre of over 500 people, mostly women and children, many residents of the Tin City disrupted a peace conference yesterday.
In fact, security was beefed up around the venue of the event, attended by former President Shehu Shagari, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), the Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Earnest Shonekan, Chief Solomon Lar and other prominent Nigerians.
The tension generated by the protest in Bukuru town led to the closure of the road leading to Barikin Ladi and Mangu.
The conference, organised by the Institute for Good Governance and Social Research (IGSR), Jos, in collaboration with the Department for International Development (DID), with the theme: Enduring peace in Jos: Arresting the cycle of violent conflicts in the state, was coming barely 24 hours after the attack on the Berom settlement of Dogo Nahawa.
The residents stormed the Hill Station Hotel, venue of the conference, carrying placards with various inscriptions, such as “Genocide-Muslims killed over 400 Christians”, “No peace until justice is done” and “Danbazau, Maina must go”, among others.
Although the protesters disrupted the event for several hours, no arrest was made.
Worried Shonekan appealed to the state government to put an end to the perennial violence in the state, so that industries that had not yet closed down would remain in business.
According to him, there is the need for the government to return normalcy to the state to attract more industries that would provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.
He regretted that the usually peaceful state had been turned into a theatre of war by ethnic bigots and religious zealots.
Shonekan also canvassed dialogue among the various ethnic groups in the state as a way out of the cycle of violence.
Earlier, Gowon, who was the chairman of the conference, advised the state government to desist from using religion to gain support from the citizens.
The President of IGSR, Professor Isawa Eleaigwu, said he had organised such a conference with prominent personalities, who had managed crises before.
Elaigwu said Gowon and Shagari had already managed some crises to keep the nation together, adding that it was for this reason that they were invited for the conference.
While Governor Jonah Jang commended the organisers of the conference, he regretted that as his administration was doing everything possible to restore peace in the state, some people were bent on causing crisis.
The Sultan of Sokoto, who was to be represented by the Emir Of Birnin Gwari, had to turn back, as tension rose in Jos.
Meanwhile, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, said yesterday that 93 suspects have been arrested over the massacre.
Also yesterday, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), described the bloodbath as a sad development.
The group said in a statement signed by Mr. Yinka Odumakin: “It is a sad development that this orgy of killings has taken place again in Jos, a permanent flash-point in the last two years. If the truth be told, the latest crisis is an indictment of the security forces in Nigeria, which have largely shown failure of intelligence by not being able to nip this kind of crisis in the bud.
“We call on the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to get all the security forces cracking towards the following: Immediately restore normalcy to the affected areas; apprehend the sponsors and perpetrators of this mayhem so that they can be brought to book, as the inability to punish architects of such violence in the past has been the enabling factor for others to do same and probe the role of soldiers who allegedly refused to respond to distress calls from the villagers until the attackers finished their killings.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday appealed to the people of the state to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
The spokesman of the North-East Zone of the agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, lamented that many of the Internally-Displaced People (IDP), whose whereabouts are said to be unknown, are women and children.
Meanwhile, to avert any reprisal attack, following the Jos crisis, the Kano State Police Command has beefed up security in the ancient city of Kano.
The Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Gana, before his departure to Abuja, to attend a crucial security meeting summoned by the Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, yesterday ordered the deployment of battle-ready policemen to strategic locations within the metropolis.
Already, a combined team of armed security operatives have started patrolling strategic locations within the metropolis as part of the measures.
Also yesterday, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar asked security agencies to improve on their intelligence gathering mechanism to be able to prevent the frequent massacre of innocent people in internal conflicts in the country.
In a statement signed by his media office in Abuja, Atiku condemned the latest killings in Jos and called on the government to bring the perpetrators to book.
Meanwhile, the Senate has condemned the carnage, saying it would no longer tolerate lawlessness in the country.
Senate spokesman, Ayogu Eze, said yesterday that the Upper Chamber could not comprehend the latest blood-letting, especially at a time that efforts were being made to find lasting peace in the troubled state.
“We condemn this yet another eruption of crisis in Jos and demand that the security operatives fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime against humanity, no matter whose ox is gored.”
Also, the National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed security operatives for the crisis.
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said: “This latest round of violence further brings to the fore issues of security of lives and property in our nation. We call on security agencies to take proactive measures to safeguard the area and prevent a spillage to other parts of the country.
“This ugly orgy of violence, coming when the nation is gradually coming to terms with the previous crisis that took place in Jos in January, 2010, is yet another attempt by anarchist to foist a state of confusion on the system.”
Yesterday, the Federal Government assured that the culprits would not go unpunished.
Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, said security agents had been ordered to arrest and prosecute those involved in the killings.
The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, yesterday raised an alarm that the crisis may destabilise the country.
Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Ban called the loss of life resulting from the killings “appalling.”
He said: “The central Nigerian city witnessed similar clashes in January, as well as in November 2009, with several hundred people being killed and many more being displaced on both occasions.
“Nigeria’s political and religious leaders should work together to address the underlying causes and to achieve a permanent solution to the Jos crisis.”
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