Tension Grips Abuja, Environs As Terrorists Takes Over FCT, Abducted Another 13 Soldiers
The wind of insecurity blowing across the country, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, gathered pace yesterday, sending panic through the whole of Abuja and its environs.
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This led to the shutting down of Veritas University, as the terrorists, who had written the Abuja Campus of the Nigerian Law School. also demanded ransom on 500 students, a director-general and 15 lecturers of the institution, ahead of the attack.
There are claims and counter-claims that persons suspected to be terrorists/bandits, on Tuesday night, carried out sporadic shootings at the Minister’s Hill area and the Dantata Bridge along Airport Road, Abuja.
In neighbouring Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule also ordered immediate closure of schools to avert students being attacked.
African Democratic Congress, ADC, Presidential Candidate, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, who unveiled Mr Ahmed Buhari as his running mate, yesterday, echoed opposition senators’call on President Muhammadu Buhari to either resign or be impeached in six weeks, if he failed to address the insecurity in the country, leading to the uproar on the floor of the Senate chamber yesterday.
This is even jas APC Justice and Unity Forum, APC JUF, the ruling party’s support group, demanded immediate sack of the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, retd.
Reacting to terrorists and bandits’ reported plans to attack Abuja, Zamfara, Kano and Lagos and two other states, the Leader of the Pan-Yoruba Socio-political Organisation, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, lamented that the Federal Government has failed in securing Nigerians, adding that Nigeria needs foreign assistance to tackle its worsening insecurity situation.\
Worried senators, yesterday, gave President Muhammadu Buhari six weeks to resolve escalating security breaches or face impeachment proceedings.
The Federal Government, however, assured Nigerians that it is concerned and taking measures to address the issue. It dismissed as propaganda and laughable the recent threat of the terrorists to kidnap President Buhari, a governor and federal lawmakers.
Veritas University shuts down
The abrupt closure of the Roman Catholic owned Veritas University, located in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, followed security reports indicating that terrorists could attack and abduct students of the school after foiled attempt at the Nigerian Law School, sited some few kilometres apart.
New academic session which was hitherto slated to commence in September, has been put on hold and the 100-level students examination billed to begin this week, was suspended indefinitely. The school said the examination would be “conducted at a date to be announced.”
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Although, Veritas University, in a statement, Wednesday, said it had concluded academic activities hence the closure, Vanguard gathered the development is not unconnected with security threats received by the school and security agencies.
The Public Relations Officer of Veritas University, Evelyn Obekpa, in a terse statement, yesterday, said: “The Management of Veritas University wishes to notify the general public that the university has successfully completed the 2021/2022 academic session.
“However, due to the current security tension and the directives of the Minister of the FCT for the closure of schools in Abuja, examinations for our 100 level students shall be conducted at a date to be announced later.”
Students desert Law school
Students of the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja have deserted the institution following a threat of an attack by terrorists who are demanding an advanced payment of ransom.
Credible sources confirmed to Vanguard on Wednesday that the terrorists have sent messages to the management of the institution demanding ransom to cover 500 students, the director-general and 15 lecturers of the institution.
The threat is coming barely one week after gunmen ambushed and killed officers and soldiers of the Presidential Brigade of Guards along the Kubwa-Bwari road.
Hotmedia.ng gathered that after the threat message, the management alongside the operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, called a meeting with the students and asked them to be security conscious.
According to a source, “information came about two weeks ago that Boko Haram terrorists have demanded that ransom should be paid in advance for 500 students, the D-G and 15 lecturers. After the message many students were frightened.
“The management held an emergency meeting during the Sallah holiday with three persons from the DSS, who addressed the students. They gave the students security tips and told them that security is a general business.
“They also told the students how vulnerable Bwari is as it has boundaries with Niger and Kaduna states which are the theatre of the crisis.
“They told the students to be security conscious and report to the management any unusual or suspicious movement and wear their Identity Cards.”
The source further said: “As a result of the threat, on July 25, many students left the campus because of fear. Some left on the 26th and even advised their colleagues to leave. “Some students that have relatives within Abuja have gone to stay with them, while those that don’t have anywhere to go are still in the school.
“The students are even pleading with the management to relocate them to the Port Harcourt campus but the management has not said anything about it.”
It was gathered that while some of the students have deserted the campus, some others are still receiving lectures as exams are expected to start about 25th August.
Senators give Buhari 6 weeks to address problem or face impeachment
Disturbed by the continued insecurity challenges in the country with kidnapping, massive killing and wanton destruction of property across the country, Senators have threatened to begin impeachment proceedings against President Buhari. They gave him a six-week ultimatum to nip the crisis in the bud or face impeachment.
Opposition senators across party lines, who are not happy with the situation, protested against what they described as endless killings in Nigeria, angrily stormed out of plenary yesterday, chanting: “We are tired, Nigerians are being killed every day, Buhari must go and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan should follow as far as worsening security situation in Nigeria is not stopped.”
The Senators are of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.
Trouble reared its head when the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT), who earlier came up through a motion of impeachment of President Buhari following his failure to solve the security problems in the country, was stopped by President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Aduda raised a point of order for the Senate to deliberate on issues raised at the closed-door session which lasted for two hours.
Lawan had after the closed-door session announced that issues relating to smooth running of the Senate and unity in Nigeria were deliberated upon but instructed the leader of the Senate to proceed with items listed on the Order Paper.
Not happy with the development, the Senate Minority leader raised a point of order, calling for deliberation on issues discussed at the closed-door session, saying, “Mr. President, I raised this point of order to bring to the front burner, issues deliberated upon at the closed door session.
“Resolution made by all Senators at the closed door session which lasted for two hours, was to further deliberate on it in plenary and arrive at resolution to give President Buhari ultimatum on urgent basis to stop the worsening security situation or face impeachment.”
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In trying to douse down tension as opposition Senators raised their voices, Lawan quickly interrupted him by saying that his point of order fell flat because Aduda didn’t discuss it with him and thereafter instructed the leader of the Senate to proceed with items on the order paper.
Opposition senators storm out of plenary
Following the action of Lawan, Senator Aduda led other opposition senators to storm out of the Chamber at 1.54pm chamber chanting “All we are saying, Buhari must go, Nigeria must survive, Ahmad Lawan should follow”, while the Senate was still in session and immediately rushed to the Press Centre to brief journalists on their plans.
The protesting Senators including Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi North); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi); former Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North); Francis Alimikhena (PDP, Edo North); Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South), Ibrahim Shekarau (NNPP, Kano Central); and Francis Onyewuchi (Imo East), went to Hearing Room One for a closed-door meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the Senators, the Minority Leader, Philip Tanimu Aduda who noted that their anger was as a result of the refusal of the Senate President to follow resolutions taken by senators across party lines at the closed door session, said: “We went through a closed-door session to discuss issues as they relate to security in this country especially the happenings in Abuja and all over the country.
“We agree that the primary responsibility of government is the protection of lives and property of citizens and for us the minority caucus in the Senate we took into cognisance the fact the Senate had at various levels, and times, convened various security meetings, issues were discussed and we did recommend to government various steps and measures aimed at curbing these issues of insecurity.
“We realise that even Abuja that we are in is no longer safe. At the closed session we agreed that we will give the president an ultimatum, which if he did not comply with we move immediately to give an impeachment notice.
“This is what we agreed at the closed door session. So when we came out of the closed door session, we expected that the Senate President will brief the public on the issue that happened. However that did not happen. So we have come here in protest to brief you and to let you know that we are with Nigerians in this struggle.
“And that we are worried that nowhere is safe in Nigeria and as such, we have walked out of the chamber in protest that the security situation is deteriorating and that urgent steps need to be taken to ensure that these issues are curbed immediately.”
On how soon will they formalise their impeachment threat, Aduda said: “We have given a six-week notice within which this security issue should be resolved and all our resolutions should also be implemented. We had passed so many resolutions and we have given all the support, enablement, appropriation that they need.”
In his closing remarks before adjournment, the Senate President, who noted that all senators are worried and concerned about the security situation in the country, said that an emergency session may be held during the long recess, if the need arises.
Anxiety over shoot-out at Minister’s Hill, Dantata Bridge, Abuja
Following allegations making the rounds in Abuja that persons suspected to be terrorists/bandits on Tuesday night carried out sporadic shootings at the Minister’s Hill Area and the Dantata Bridge along Airport Road, Abuja, the Police in Abuja has said no single shot was fired.
Commenting on the development, Spokesperson of the FCT Police Command said: “The attention of the FCT Police Command has been drawn to a series of erroneous write-ups and publications making the rounds, especially on the social media spaces, suggesting that there was heavy gunfire simultaneously around Dantata Bridge in Lugbe and Minister’s hills in Maitama, yesterday 26th July 2022 at about 19:38Hrs.
“Following the receipt of the news, the Command’s Intelligence and Tactical asset drifted to the scene where the news was found false.
“Having maintained monitoring and surveillance of the area all night, and with the intelligence at the disposal of the Command, it is important to categorically state that the news is on every scale unfounded and should be disregarded.
“Members of the public are therefore enjoined to eschew the generation and promulgation of fake/ unverified news and go about their lawful business without the fear of harassment or molestation of any kind from any quarters.
“Meanwhile, the FCT Commissioner of Police CP Babaji Sunday while reassuring residents of an unalloyed commitment to the safety of all and sundry in the Territory called for calm.
He noted that an investigation has commenced into the sources of this and many other maliciously crafted write-ups, targeted at promoting panic and apprehension in the Territory.
He urged residents to only believe information released from official stables.
While the Police continue its quest on bringing crime and criminality to the barest minimum in the Territory, Residents are urged to remain vigilant, and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence to the Police through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883, while the Public Complaint Bureau (PCB) desk, could be reached on: 0902 222 2352.”
Terrorist threat against Buhari laughable — FG
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, yesterday, described the recent threat issued by the Abuja-Kaduna train terrorists to go after President Buhari and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State as laughable propaganda.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Recall that in the latest viral video released by the abductors of the Abuja-Kaduna train passengers, they had boasted that they would come after President Buhari and Governor el-Rufai.
Reacting to the claims and senators’ six-week ultimatum to Buhari during the question and answer session of the briefing, Mohammed said: “Most of the questions you asked have to do with the security situation. I want to assure you that the President is aware of all these and as a matter of fact, I think tomorrow, there’s going to be another Security Council meeting.
“So, it’s not a matter the President is taking lightly and like I’ll always, say some of the measures we’re going to take are not measures that you can discuss openly here, but we’re as concerned as you are, we’re not going to abandon our responsibility.
“As to those who have issued threats to Mr. President, I think it’s more of propaganda than anything. It’s laughable.
“Resolution passed by senators, as rightly said, it was passed when we were deliberating, but we thank them for their patriotism and concern. We are working round the clock, 24 hours, to ensure that the situation is brought under control.
“I want to reassure you that the government is up to the task of ensuring security. Security challenges will come anywhere in the world, the important thing is the fact that you do not lose focus and you continue to work assiduously to overcome it. I want to assure you we are going to overcome.”
Senators who threatened to impeach Buhari’re are minority of minorities — Presidency
However, Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina, has said that senators who threatened to impeach President Buhari over rising insecurity are “the minority of minorities.”
Adesina, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television, yesterday, said the senators are wasting the country’s time.
His words: “The truth is that in this kind of scenario, minority will always have its say while the majority will have its way. You know the configuration of the National Assembly. Those who spoke today are the minority of minorities. “They would have their say as it is needful in a democracy, but it won’t go beyond that. I think it was just bravado and very sadly, security is not something you subject to bravado.
“You don’t begin to issue flippant ultimatums in something that is a matter of life and death. They know in their heart of hearts that they cannot achieve what they are saying. They are just wasting the country’s time, wasting the time of the upper chamber of the National Assembly; they know that they cannot achieve it.”
Asked if Buhari has reacted to the recent reports of gunshots in Abuja, the presidential spokesperson said he is not aware of any gunshots in the country’s capital…. What happened in Bwari is in public domain. Everybody knows that to say there were gunshots in town, and I’m not privy to that unless you want to substantiate it.
“Now, the question is – are those minority lawmakers responding now because the thing is coming near to Abuja, their comfort zone? Is that why they are playing to the gallery? Well, they are Nigerians and they have the right to talk about what is happening in the country.”
Resign if you can’t secure Nigerians, Kachikwu tells Buhari
However, as insecurity envelops Nigeria, ADC Presidential Candidate, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, has asked President Buhari to stand down if he can no longer guaranty the safety of Nigerians.
Similarly, Kachikwu told Buhari that it is unacceptable for Nigerians to be living in fear, poverty and hopelessness under his leadership while he appears to be helpless in dealing with rising insecurity in the land.
Kachikwu, who spoke while unveiling his running mate, Ahmed Buhari, in Abuja, yesterday, accused the Buhari administration of running out of ideas and the political will to tackle the menace of insecurity in Nigeria, which has emboldened terrorists and bandits to attack Nigerians without any concomitant response from the military.
The ADC candidate also accused the All Progressives Congress, APC administration of destroying the Nigerian economy, which it inherited from former President Goodluck Jonathan at time when the Dollar was exchanged for N190 as against today’s exchange rate of over N700.
Kachikwu said: “Buhari has squandered the goodwill of Nigerians and should resign from office if he can no longer guaranty the safety and wellbeing of Nigerians, who elected him with high hopes and aspirations in 2015 and re-elected him in 2019.
“But Buhari has allowed terrorists and bandits to destroy the country and turn innocent Nigerians into internally displaced persons across the country, including those in his state of Katsina. He inherited billions of Naira for security but cannot do anything to secure the people of Nigeria.
Speaking at the brief ceremony, Ahmed Buhari said: “We will do our best to stamp out terrorism and banditry from Nigerian from day one of our administration and we will do all that is needed to give hope and confidence to all Nigerians by providing them with jobs and opportunities to actualize their dreams.”
Gov Sule orders closure of schools in Nasarawa
Worried by the high wave of insecurity in Nasarawa, the State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, Wednesday ordered immediate closure of both public and private schools, as a step to safeguard the lives of students across the 13 local councils of the state.
According to Governor Sule, the government of Nasarawa is already in possession of reports of security threats in communities within states, bordering the FCT.
The decision formed part of the resolution reached at an expanded state executive council meeting held at the Government House.
Briefing journalists shortly after the council meeting, state Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Fatu Jimaita Sabo, said that having considered and reviewed the current situation in the country, especially the security threats in the FCT, the state government decided to close both public and private schools in the state with immediate effect.
Hajiya Sabo said this has become necessary considering the proximity of the state to the FCT, as well as the resolve of the government to ensure that schools in Nasarawa State operate within a safe environment.
She however explained that the directives excludes exit classes that are already writing their final examinations, especially in secondary schools adding that the ministry of education will in due course, issue a circular to that effect.
The education commissioner then appealed to principals and heads of respective schools, to ensure that schools are closed in an orderly manner, especially where there is no threat to any life or property presently in Nasarawa State.
Nigerians helpless, need foreign assistance — Ayo Adebanjo
Also, Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, yesterday, said Nigeria needs foreign assistance to tackle its worsening insecurity, warning that Nigerians may resort to self-help.
Reacting to the planned attack by terrorists and bandits in Zamfara, Kano and Lagos states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the Afenifere leader lamented that the Federal Government has failed in securing Nigerians.
Adebanjo said: “My reaction to the alarm is that it has shown inability of the Buhari government to protect lives and properties. I have said it severally that this government should have left the place for an interim government to take over to tackle our security challenges and conduct a new election.
If we don’t do that, the whole country will be finished before Buhari leaves office. I am not surprised but, unfortunately, Nigerians are incapable of defending themselves. The terrorists are now bold enough to threaten our Commander-in-Chief, they have attacked our military guard, attacked our defence academy, attacked strategic places and they have told us that their target is Aso Rock. They know our government is incapable of taking out the terrorists and protecting people. I have said that before that no one can come and help us except the international community comes to our aid.”
Nigerians may resort to self-help
Asked whether Nigerians should resort to self-help, he said: “What else can we do if the government has failed to help us? We need foreigners to come and help us but in the meantime, we need to help ourselves. The authorities cannot help themselves and cannot help us. We have seen how the terrorists attacked the president’s guard and they threatened to kidnap him and another governor; where does that leave us? Nigerians will have to resort to self-help when they can’t help themselves. That is why we need foreign intervention if we must tackle insecurity.”
APC support group demands immediate sack of NSA
Meanwhile as reactions continue to trail last sunday’s terrorists’ attack on troops of Presidential Guards Brigade in Bwari, near Abuja, killing eight soldiers, a support group of the ruling APC has demanded immediate sack of the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno, retd.
The APC support group, operating under the body, APC Justice and Unity Forum, APC JUF, also urged President Buhari to immediately rejig the entire security architecture to pave way for fresh hands and ideas on handling the nation’s worsening insecurity.
The forum, in a statement, Wednesday, by its National President, Dr Muhammadu Kabiru, said it was not only shameful and disgraceful but also embarrassing that the terrorists could have their way in launching deadly attack on troops of the elite Presidential Guards Brigade right in the nation’s Federal Capital city few hours after boasting that it would soon abduct President Buhari and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State.
It also drew attention to the continuous holding of passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna bound train without government’s visible efforts at securing the release of the hostages almost four months after the incident, blaming the NSA for this.