By Wole Mosadomi, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke
MINNA—Two days after a suicide bomb attack killed about 50 secondary school students in Potiskum, Yobe State, another suicide bomber, a female, yesterday, attacked another school, the Federal College of Education, Kontagora, Niger State some 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the state capital, Minna. This is just as the Senate has summoned all Service Chiefs to explain why Boko Haram appears to be having the upper hand.
There were conflicting reports on casualty figures of yesterday’s attack in Kontagora. An account said no fewer than 10 persons died in the attack, others said only the female suicide bomber died while two others were injured and were receiving treatment at Kontagora General hospital.
The incident caused panic among residents of the town as they started running helplessly and confused. Ahead of the decision of the college, many resident students vacated their hostels and took refuge in the town.
It was gathered that the female bomber was heading for the hall where many of the students were sitting for their examination but got the timing wrong as the explosive she was carrying exploded in front of the school library, few metres to the targeted hall. She was immediately blown into two parts.
Two others whose identity were yet to be ascertained sustained injuries and were rushed to the general hospital in Kontagora for treatment.
Niger State police spokesman, Ibrahim Gambari confirmed the blast by telephone from Minna. He said commanders were awaiting further details from officers on the ground.
“We have dispatched our teams from here,” he said.
One of the students, Mary Okafor said the blast occurred as they were sitting for the end of semester examinations and saw everyone rushing out of class.
She said: “We saw bodies on the ground between the library and the female hostel. Among the bodies were two dismembered women who we believed were the bombers. At least 10 students were killed and several others injured. They have all been moved to the general hospital. We have all been asked to vacate the school. The authorities in the town have asked all schools to close.”
Provost of the college, Dr. Nathaniel Adediran in a telephone interview thanked God for saving the lives of students and other workers of the college.
“We thank God for answering our prayers because God did not allow the enemy to succeed,” he remarked.
He said the management of the college would meet to decide whether to close down the school temporarily or continue with normal academic programmes.
Speaking on the incident, Governor Babangida Aliyu condemned the mission of the bomber and called on citizens of Niger State to rise up to the challenge and be more security-conscious.
The governor at a lecture to commemorate his 59th birthday said he has directed the security agencies in the state to increase the security apparatus in all the schools in collaboration with authorities of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state to guard against a similar occurrence.
The governor thanked God for the safety of lives of students and lecturers and other workers, adding that had the bomber succeeded in her mission, it would have been another national calamity.
The bomber worked with an insider — Gov
“When we talk of Boko Haram, there are franchisees. I am sure that whatever was done must have been done locally because security report from the area confirmed that she was not part of them and therefore, she must be a stranger but with collaboration with some insiders.
“We should not be partisan about security and that is the whole essence of government which is providing security for the lives and property of the people. The moment security is provided, we believe other things will come into place and our emirs and other traditional rulers will be alerted immediately,” the governor said.
Senate summons Service Chiefs today
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, summoned all Service Chiefs to appear today and brief senators on the security situation in the North-East and why the Boko Haram insurgents appeared to be having the upper hand in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
The meeting would also review the effectiveness of the State of Emergency declared in the three states.
Those invited to the meeting included Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Kenneth Minimah; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Usman Jibrin; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba as well as the Director, Department of State Service, DSS, Mr. Ekpenyong Nsah.
It was gathered that in addition to giving information on the security situation, the service chiefs would also be expected to give account of the amount of money earmarked to fight insurgency and how such monies were expended.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Thompson Sekibo who briefed newsmen said: “I know as a Senate that we have done whatever we need to do to support the Armed Forces to combat the battle and bring insurgents to their knees. I also believe that virtually all the directives the Senate has passed on to the President, he has also honoured them including the recent $1 billion loan that was requested for.
“I believe that in addition to the $1 billion through the Office of the National Security Adviser, they will also be providing funds for the purchase of military equipment but for us to wake up and hear that we are being overrun in some areas is embarrassing.
“I believe that we cannot stay here while we have not heard from the service chiefs. That is why we have summoned the service chiefs tomorrow by one o’clock. We want to hear from them, to know areas they have problems and whatever the problems will be, we want to advise them to properly open up because Nigerians are tired of asking the same questions.
“We want to ask questions different from what we had been asking. I believe everyone is worried especially after the last bombing in the school in Yobe State.
“The elections are coming so fast in the next few weeks. People are going for primaries and we are worried whether our colleagues in the North-east can go for primaries. Where will they start from? I believe that after the meeting tomorrow (today), some of these questions will be answered.
“Between the last declaration of state of emergency till now, the President, heeding the voice of National Assembly, has procured some equipment and one of the issues we are going to have tomorrow at the meeting is to have an inventory of equipment we have on ground.
“We also want to be sure that we have competent manpower. How do the insurgents get their equipment? How do they get them through the border”?
It would be recalled that the Deputy Governor of Borno State, Zana Mustapha had recently lamented that the insurgents were capturing some territories in the troubled states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Vangard News
By Edos News