Army plans special anti-terrorism squad
IN anguish, more victims of the Easter Day bombing receiving treatment at various hospitals in Kaduna, yesterday recounted how they got caught in the Boko Haram sect’s terrorism, as the casualty figures continue to rise.
The victims spoke as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, in Kaduna yesterday disclosed plan by the Army to train a special squad in the art of using dogs to fight the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, that has over the years been unleashing terror on the people of the North.
Similarly, the Kaduna State government yesterday promised to put in place what it called serious security measures to avert further bomb explosion in the state.
Many victims are still lying unconscious at some hospitals in the metropolis as relations of those on admission lamented the unfortunate incident that has claimed about 45 lives. Sympathisers also trooped to the hospitals to console the victims.
At the Saint Gerard Catholic Hospital in Kakuri, two of the victims were still recuperating at the Emergency Ward while eight of them were seen at the Intensive Care Unit of Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital with their relations stayed glued to them. The Patron at the hospital, Mrs. Asana Isah Garba, who conducted the Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu who paid sympathy visit to some of the victims round the wards, said “since some of the victims of the blast were brought to the hospital, we have lost three of them while receiving treatments.”
At the Saint Gerard Hospital, the victims on their beds recounted their ordeals. Malam Garba Abubakar whose hand was cut off following the bomb explosion said: “I sell Date palm for living. I have been in the business for sometime now. On that fateful day, I came to see my uncle who also sells Date palm by that Junction Road. All of a sudden, I heard very loud sound and I only saw myself being lifted high into the sky with my wheel-barrow with which I carry my dates. After that, all I could remember was that I saw my hand cut off. I was then taken to this hospital (Saint Gerald Catholic Hospital) and since then, sympathisers have been coming to console us. I must say we are earnestly grateful for their visit and support. We are also grateful to Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa for his kind gesture towards us the victims of the bomb blast”.
Abubakar, who lost his uncle to the bomb explosion, further said: “I also pray that those that are bent on bringing this calamity on us, the North and the entire Nigeria should have a re-think.
“I pray that their sins will reveal them. I am also urging the good people of the North to please, without wasting time, take a very useful stand on how to end this menace, because if they allow it to go beyond this level, at a point, it will go beyond the level of killing we the poor people to killing even the rich ones too.
“It is only we the poor masses that are often at the receiving end. We are often being killed, butchered and forgotten. God should forgive those behind these animalistic acts. God should continue to bless us as those behind these acts would surely receive God’s wrath”.
Also at the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital, another victim, a Part 4 student of Chemical Engineering, Department of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Malam Nura Gwarno who was under the watchful eyes of his relations, told The Guardian: “I am a 400 level student and I do come here, in Kaduna, to ride commercial motorcycle, Okada, whenever I am on vacation.
“That is why I am not a registered member of the Okada riders association yet. I have just finished my industrial attachment and I am having a three months break now, that was why I choose to come here and ride this Okada so that I can get some savings before the school resumes.
“I just dropped a passenger shortly before the blast. I only heard a loud noise and all I could recall was that. I finally saw myself on this hospital bed”.
The NLC expressed grief over the aftermath of the Kaduna bombing, describing it as a senseless killing of the oppressed and self-employed citizens.
Aremu argued: “That was bad enough. Armed and pen robbers are not so callously killed as we witnessed last Sunday,” pointing out that it was unfortunate for bombers to murder the defenceless poor people like animals.
“The emerging dangerously pattern is that the victims of this serial violence are the poorest of the poor and the defenceless. Nigeria’s terrorism franchise is proving to be nothing but a senseless violent class war against the oppressed working people. This singular attack further undermines domestic and foreign investment in the state and possibly of mass job creation for our citizens”.
The Chief of Army Staff charged the officers and men of the Nigerian Army to deal ruthlessly with the Boko Haram sect and other issues relating to terrorism in the country, adding that the Army would commission 14 speed-boats to be used in crushing the militants in the Niger Delta.
“On April 19, we will be commissioning about 14 boats that have been recovered and refurbished for the use of troops in the Niger Delta,” he said, noting that all these were aimed at ensuring that terrorism is stamped out of Nigeria.
Gen. Ihejirika said officers and men must at this point of insecurity in the country be combat ready at all times, stating that a situation where the Boko Haram sect would engage the Army at check-point without much resistance was unacceptable.
The Chief of Army Staff, who spoke at the maiden edition of a one-week Commanding Officers’ workshop tagged “Enhancing Military Professionalism in the Nigerian Army to Meet Contemporary Challenges,” also stressed the need for commanding officers to be innovative in tackling the worsening state of insecurity in the country.
He said the theme of the workshop was carefully chosen to remind the officers of the importance of military professionalism in dealing with challenges facing the nation and the world at large, especially terrorism, small arms proliferation and other related crimes.
According to the COAS, the second batch of trainees of the special troops on the use of dogs to fight the Boko Haram sect and other terrorism groups in the country has just completed their training and would soon be launched to complement the efforts of the existing troops to win the war against terrorism.
The Kaduna State Acting Governor, Alhaji Ramalan Yero who addressed journalists immediately after the State Security Council meeting at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, said the measures were aimed at securing lives and property of innocent citizens. He urged residents to report any strange persons, objects or suspicious groups or situation that would breach peace in the state to the security agencies for prompt action to avert further incident.
He condoled with the families of the bereaved and other victims of the Sunday bomb attack.