|Ralph Uwazuruike |
THE Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) warned, on Wednesday, that the attacks on Christian worshippers by the Boko Haram sect in Kaduna and the reprisals on innocent Muslims may mark the beginning of violent break-up of Nigeria as it happened in Yugoslavia.
PENGASSAN declared in a statement entitled: “The road to Yugoslavia,” that the development represents a dangerous descent into anomie, reminiscent of the horrific inter-ethnic and religious war that marked the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
PENGASSAN said it would not hesitate to call out its members, starting from its Kaduna zone, if government continues by its inaction to imperil the lives and limbs of Nigerians, particularly those residing in the northern part of the country.
In the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade ‘Deji Kolawole, PENGASSAN said: “The attacks on Christian worshippers in Kaduna and Zaria last Sunday, claimed by the terrorist group, Boko Haram and the consequent reprisals on innocent Muslims, represent a dangerous descent into anomie, reminiscent of the horrific inter-ethnic and religious war that marked the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia.”
But he added: “Nigeria cannot afford to take this road to self-destruction, for when the rich make war, it is the poor that suffer. We, therefore, appeal to Nigerians to exercise great restraint in the face of the constant provocation and violence perpetrated on other innocent Nigerians by terrorists under the hood of religionists whose aim is, obviously, to precipitate an ethnic cum religious war in the country. We must note that an eye for an eye would only make us all blind.”
The statement read: “The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) expresses grave concern on the deteriorating security situation in the country resulting in the loss of innocent lives and which has led, lately, to the declaration of a 24-hour curfew in two states — Kaduna and Yobe — with the attendant impact on the socio-economic lives of the citizens of those states and other neighbouring states.
“We further call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has all the coercive powers of state to wake up to its primary responsibility, i.e. the security and welfare of the people as enunciated in section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.
“We and indeed all Nigerians are tired of the president’s usual swan song of expressing heartfelt condolences, condemning the dastardly act and promising to bring perpetrators to book whenever attacks like these happen.”
Igbos must leave North —Uwazuruike
The leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and prominent Igbo leaders have insisted that Igbos should evacuate the troubled North.
Uwazuruike, who is also the new Ezeigbo, noted that the renewed call for the evacuation of Ndigbo from the zone was premised on the growing insecurity, with Igbo Christians taking the highest casualty.
Speaking with newsmen by telephone, the MASSOB leader noted that the recent bombing of churches by the Boko Haram sect had exposed the inability of the security forces to tackle the current security challenges and guarantee the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.
Uwazurike, who chided the Joint Task Force (JTF) for withdrawing security from churches in Kaduna when they had intelligence report about an imminent attack, called on Igbos to abandon their businesses in the North and come back home until normalcy returned.
Debunking rumours of possible reprisals in the South-East, Uwazuruike maintained that MASSOB, as a non-violent organisa-tion, upheld the sanctity of life and would not engage in senseless killings and destructions that had become the hallmark of Boko Haram.
Also speaking, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, the Ogirishi Igbo, noted that the current crisis in the North was fast degenerating into a religious war that had defied military solution, stressing that security operatives could no longer guarantee the safety of Igbos in the North.
In a related development, Igbos living in Kano have expressed readiness to leave the troubled city, in compliance with the directive of the Igbo leaders, lamenting that they had been living in fear since the breakout of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaking with our source, the president-general of Ndigbo living in Kano, Chief Leonard Nwosu, said despite the efforts of security operatives to restore peace and security, Igbos still lived in fear.
Boko Haram has declared war on Christians —CAN
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to Sunday’s attacks on three churches in Kaduna State, saying they were an indication that Boko Haram has declared war on Christians and Christianity in the country.
This is just as CAN in the North-Central declared that Boko Haram insurgence in the northern part had destroyed virtually all the good things the region was known for.
The CAN, in an advertisement placed on Wed-nesday and signed by Kenny Ashaka, special assistant, media and public affairs to its president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said the latest attacks in Kaduna and Yobe states suggested “a systematic religious cleansing which reminds Christians of the genesis of the jihad.”
While calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to act fast before the crisis got out of hand, CAN also called on the American government to quickly designate the Boko Haram sect as terrorist organisation.
Chairman, North-Central CAN, Reverend Yakubu Pam, while speaking with Nigerian Tribune, expressed disappointment over the level of destruction of both properties and human lives occasioned by the menace of the Boko Haram in recent times.
Pope wants end to terrorism in Nigeria
Pope Benedict SVI, in a statement released by the Vatican Information Service, has called for an end to the terror attacks against Christians in the country.
The pope appealed for an immediate end to the killing of many innocent people, while he also appealed to Nigerians to work together to end the violence.
JTF alerts to suicide bombing plan in Borno
The JTF in Borno State has alerted the people top the alleged plan by the Boko Haram to use stolen vehicles for suicide bomb attacks in the state.
Spokesman of the task force, Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, said members of the sect were on desperate moves to snatch vehicles to perpetrate bomb attacks.
He also said the JTF troops and personnel of the Department of State Services arrested six suspected Boko Haram men believed to be involved in the attack on EYN Church in Biu, on Sunday.
Bauchi suicide bomber died while receiving treatment —Police
The Bauchi State police command, on Wednesday, said a young man, suspected to be a suicide bomber, who was blown up on Tuesday when an improvised explosive device he was carrying exploded in Bauchi, had died while receiving treatment.
A release signed by the state PPRO, Idris Abuba-kar, said before his death, he confessed to being a member of the sect, adding that one revolver pistol and five rounds of ammunition were recovered from him.
We’ll bring perpetrators to book —Petinrin, Abubakar
The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin and the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, in Kaduna, on Wednesday, said those hiding under religion to forment trouble would be brought to book.
The duo, after a closed door meeting with Governor Patrick Yakowa, assured residents and the government that security agencies would collaborate to ensure that normalcy returned to the state immediately.
However, calm is gradually returning to Kaduna after three days of tension, just as major streets within the metropolis have been deserted by residents who have been forced to remain indoors because of the 24-hour curfew imposed on them by the state government.
Fresh crisis erupts at Kiyama
Fresh crisis erupted at Kiyama, near Kaduna, on Wednesday, where allegedly armed Christian youths killed some Muslims in the area.
The crisis began where the youth allegedly tore the hijab of a Muslim lady in the Christian-dominated area.
The state PPRO, Aminu Lawan, said the situation was, however, under control.