Boko Haram: Senate orders Army Chief to relocate to Maiduguri

By The Citizen

The Senate Committee on Defence and Army yesterday directed the Chief of Army Staff to temporarily relocate to the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri and take appropriate steps to quell the ongoing orgy of violence in the North East.

The directive followed the unabated killings by the Boko Haram sect in Borno and Yobe states.

The committee, in a resolution passed yesterday after an emergency sitting to review Tuesday's incident, which led to the killing of 43 students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, in Yobe State by members of the sect, also directed that all schools and health institutions in the zone be provided with special security in order to avert a repeat of the gruesome mass murders.

The resolution, which was read by the Committee Chairman, Senator George Sekibo, in addition called on President Goodluck Jonathan to make available, all needed resources and logistics to the armed forces to ensure an end to the violence.

This was also as the lawmakers said they would undertake a tour of the zone, once the Senate, which is currently on a three-week break resumes on March 11.

The five paragraphs resolution reads:
'That the Senate Committee on Defence and Army condemns the atrocity being unleashed by the Boko Haram elements on innocent citizens of the country, especially in the north eastern part of the country. We regret what happened yesterday (Tuesday) in the killing of innocent students in cold blood.

'The Committee on Defence and Army has by this issued a directive that the Chief of Army Staff takes the following actions;

a. Re-strategise on possible new ways of curbing these excesses

b. Mobilise all available military resources and face the insurgencies

c. We heard of your planned relocation to Maiduguri, we hereby as a committee overseeing your activities, direct that your office relocate temporarily to the 7the Division in Maiduguri and that you take urgent and appropriate steps to quell the situation.

d. From today all schools and health institutions should be provided with special security, as we do not want a repeat of these killings of our innocent citizens.

'Because of the situation, the committee will receive your budget proposal without going through the lives as no one goes to the town square to dance when there is fire in his house. For us, the quelling of this insurgency and giving confidence of safety to Nigerians is of utmost priority.

'The Committee on Defence and Army hereby invites the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to mobilise needed resources for the armed forces to face this national challenge, as this battle must be won to sustain our nation's stability and unity as it is only in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that development can be carried out.

'The Senate Committee on Defence and Army will take a tour of the three affected states when the Senate resumes for plenary.'

Meanwhile the death toll from the Federal Government College attack has hit 69 from 43, following the recovery of more bodies around the outskirt of the school premises yesterday.

Some of those who sustained gunshot wounds and were admitted at the Gen. Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu, have also died, our correspondent learnt.

It was gathered that five students who attempted to escape the attack, but were shot by the gunmen died in the bush of Buni Yadi, while three students who were abducted were killed in the bushes of the Sambisa forest before reaching the terrorist's camps.

Some other students and workers who were admitted at the general hospital did not survive as they died following the serious injuries they sustained during the attack.

A security source confirmed that more bodies have been recovered in Buni Yadi.

Meanwhile, condemnation yesterday trailed Tuesday's killing of the students by the sect.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, described the attack and killing as 'monstrous and extremely shocking'.

'The massacre of these harmless students cannot be justified under any guise. Indeed, the PDP is heartbroken and extremely devastated by this act of wickedness which can only be associated with the devil.

'The PDP bleeds inside as we mourn the slaughtering of these promising young ones. Our hearts go out to the parents and families of these innocent students. We share in their anguish, their pain and their despair and we earnestly pray that those behind this act must not escape judgment for spilling the blood of the innocent. No man commits such wickedness and gets away with it,' the statement said.

Urging Nigerians to unite against terrorism in the country, the PDP said. 'Nigerians must jettison all political partisanship and rally round President Goodluck Jonathan in his untiring efforts in tackling the problem of insecurity in the country.'

The All Progressives Congress, APC, in a statement issued in Lagos on by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the attacks, which were extremely gory even by the scorched-earth tactics of the terrorists, plumbs the depths of horror.

The party called on President Jonathan to immediately visit the state to offer succour to the families of the victims and the state government, saying that is the least the Federal Government can do to help soothe the pains of those involved.

The party said the President should also use the opportunity to pay a visit to Borno State, which has been reeling under ceaseless and deadly attacks from the terrorists, as well as to the brave and patriotic soldiers who have been putting their all into the battle against these insurgents.

The Arewa Consultative Forum also described the attack as most 'cruel and gruesome.'

The forum wondered why the attacks on schools and villages in the North East had continued unabated despite the imposition of a state of emergency and the heavy presence of security operatives in the states.

In a related development, the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. James Ngillari said yesterday that the activities of the insurgents have destroyed lives and property, adding that it will require 50 years of rebuilding efforts to restore the lost fortunes.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal described the killing as ignoble, wicked and horrendous.

In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal tasked security agencies to redouble their efforts and change their tactics, especially now that those engaged in the killings have increased their attacks on softer targets.

He said the only way to console the families of the victims and Nigerians is by fishing out perpetrators of the dastardly act by bringing them justice.

The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, also described the killings as brutal and barbaric.

Aregbesola, in a statement by the Director of Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said the killing of the innocent students was unconscionable as such dastardly act could only be perpetrated by people who have lost sanity and lack human feelings.

The governor said he was alarmed by the inhumane and brazen manner in which the Boko Haram now unleashed violence on all cadres of people in the society.

He said the activities of Boko Haram should worry all in the country because attacks on innocent and defenseless school students is now becoming a regular occurrence, a trend that must as a matter of urgency be arrested forthwith. - National Mirror.