Tension and anxiety yesterday gripped residents of Zamfara state, over text message purportedly from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), as President Goodluck Jonathan begins an official visit to state today.
Panic has also gripped security agencies and top government officials who may not want a repeat of the Independence Day bomb blasts in Abuja which killed 12 persons and wounded 36 others.
This was as President Jonathan has vowed that he will end spate of bomb blasts in the country.
The special message to security agencies is that we are aware of the Jonathan visit to Zamfara.
Possibly something will happen; nobody will stop what will happen.
What happened on October 1 is real. Let innocent Nigerians shy away from the venue as we will surprise Nigerians.”
Already, anti-bomb squads have been deployed to strategic areas in the state capital and Talata Mafara where the President will be visiting to commission an electrification project, which connects Zamfara and Sokoto states.
Also, armed and plain clothes policemen have been deployed to major streets in the state capital to provide adequate surveillance and security for the movement of people.
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Zamfara state police command Sanusi Amiru said the command was very much aware of the security situation in the state and has already drafted special squads on bomb disposal to ensure the security of the venue.
He advised the public to remain calm and not to panick, saying “we are making every effort to protect the lives and properties of the people.”
Meanwhile, President Jonathan has described those responsible for the Independence Day bombing as “worst than Lucifer” just as he vowed to put an end to bombing in Nigeria.
He said this when he received members of the G-20 northern political summit group led by elder statesman and former governor of Plateau state, Chief Solomon Lar.
Those of us who are Christians, believe that there is a being called Lucifer. Lucifer is a demon and those who bombed Nigeria on that day, are more demonic than Lucifer.”
The President, who vowed to reveal those behind the recurring bomb blasts in the country, said the security agencies are on top of the issue.
“I believe as nation, whether you are a member of MEND or not, is not the issue. What I am saying is that don’t cover it up by using the name of Niger Delta or MEND.
That is what I said. As at that time, they have arrested some people, some from Niger Delta.”
The President who also noted that several of such bomb blasts in the past were not investigated assured that this one will not be allowed to follow the same trend.
He said: “I always explain to people that look, this car bombs first happened in Benin, Edo state, somebody even died and another in Bayelsa state, nobody made an investigation but they said it was Niger Delta crisis.
It was buried under MEND; under Niger Delta crisis.
Again, another one in Port Harcourt, luckily no body died in the Port Harcourt incident but it was buried.
Not too long ago, Vanguard newspaper organized a programme in Warri, another one happened when governors and senior citizens of this country were meeting, nobody ordered an investigation and it was also buried; nobody was arrested.
“Then now in Abuja on October 1, they said
MEND again; I said no, we cannot continue to burry this under Niger Delta crisis or MEND.
That is the sin I committed.”
The President who commended the group for the efforts to make peace and reach out to all groups across the country noted that no nation can survive without peace.
“So, your commitment and tireless effort to bring political stability and economic growth in the north is a welcome development.
As a government, we will work with you to ensure unity, because without unity and peace, as a people, we can’t go anywhere.
“There is no development in any land that is crisis-ridden. First, we will pursue the peace and unity for the country and by God’s grace as a nation, we will achieve that.”
The President who also reiterated his earlier commitments to ensuring that all votes count in 2011 election said without free and fair election, the nation cannot claim to be democratic, just as he urged the National Assembly and INEC to work together and ensure that all outstanding areas are smoothened out.
“In a democratic society people must be allowed to select their leaders. So, if one or two people who have the resources can just appoint one of two people in the election, it is not a democracy.
We must make sure that every vote of the people counts. Even for those of us who are interested in elections, if you look that you need the vote of the people, you will always have that at the back of your mind”.
Earlier, Chief Lar told the President that Nigerians were appreciative of his efforts to tackle the bomb attack.
In a speech entitled “That our democracy may blossom and our nation is at peace and social harmony,” read on behalf of the Summit by Senator Ibrahim Idah, chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, the group condemned what they described as attempt to politicize the bomb issue.
The group also condemned the call for the impeachment of President Jonathan describing it as “irresponsible” It also urged the National Assembly not to subscribe to such action, wondering why elders should resort to actions that would further provoke confusion.
“Most Nigerians are also outraged by new language of threats and unwarranted intimidations and ultimatums coming from leaders of Northern Political Forum.
We thought leaders should do their best to find lasting solutions to national problems instead of the deliberate attempts being made to provoke further confusion and crises.”
They condemned the provocative statements which they said have the tendency to escalate the already tense situation in the country.
The group said as patriotic citizens, people must conduct themselves in public affairs on the high plane of dignity, discipline and decorum.
“Surely, it is far better to work together to move Nigeria away from the quicksands of ethnicity to the solid rock of national integration, based on justice, social harmony and national security.
“Given the serious nature of the tragic event, we denounce, in the strongest term, attempts being made by some political leaders to politicize this matter.
This is outrageous in the extreme. Matters of national security should not be politicized, for whatever political reasons.”
They appealed for understanding in honour of the innocent Nigerians who lost their lives in the bomb blast, saying that they have resolved to raise this appeal for peace, social harmony and patient understanding.
“Most Nigerians would agree that the matter before us go far beyond the dictates of partisan politics. We therefore appeal to all Nigerians, and especially our colleagues in politics, that we must not politicize matters that threaten the very foundations of our nation.
In times like this we have to move to higher realms of what is best for Nigeria,” the group said.