Kano Bombings: Obasanjo speaks as casualty is reaching 250 dead victims

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President Olusegun Obasanjo

Nigerian police have revealed  that they had discovered eight convoy of cars laden with bomb explosives in Kano, just as the ancient city count its losses in last Friday’s attack …and doctors are revealing that the toll of last Friday’s Kano onslaught could be reaching 250 dead victims.

The bomb discovery was made on Monday less than 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan promised to tackle the menace of terrorism  in Nigeria as the nation  currently gets distracted from her vision of purposeful governance, setting a goal aimed at political, economic and social  global achievement .

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, reacting to last Friday’s Kano onslaught  described  the attack as only a big challenge to the nation’s security, debunking the notion that  Boko Haram activities could pose a big danger to the nation’s unity.

“Even though it is a big challenge to the Nigerian people and its government, it is not one that… shakes Nigeria to its foundation,” Obasanjo said in Banjul on Sunday while on  visit to  the Gambian  President,  Sheikh  Yahya Jammel to discusse  issues touching on bilateral relations between Nigeria and Gambia, and  touching on issues concerning political events in West African sub region.

Jonathan on Sunday had visited Kano to commiserate with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, following last Friday’s carnage which shook the ancient city, the worse terrorism attack in  history.

Many clerics  gathered over the weekend to offer  peace prayers after the weekend  attacks which had led to almost 200 death so far and sending a danger signal of civil unrest across the city.

“We have discovered eight bomb-laden cars in different areas of the city,” a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity Monday, claiming that the police were still facing serious security threats.”

Another car was found filled with explosives outside a government-run fuel station in Kano on Sunday, just as President Jonathan was paying his visit.

The Nigerian President  said some suspects already had been arrested and vowed that his government would track down the backers of Boko Haram, which has staged a series of increasingly bloody attacks, often targeting Christians in the northern part of Nigeria.

“We will strengthen the security in Kano and other parts of the country,” Jonathan told Emir Ado Bayero.

The violence has raised fears of an all-out civil war but former President Obasanjo thought contrary to this.

About 200 Muslim clerics and political leaders gathered for peace prayers in Kano, an ancient holy Muslim city of about 4.5 million people.

“I will pray to God that we should never re-live the catastrophe that resulted in the deaths and maiming in our city,” Kano State governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said.

Kano’s emir Ado Bayero told the clerics: “I enjoin you to continue praying for peace and stability in our city.

Revealing his secular nature, the Emir requested: “I call upon you to use any religious fora to pray for peace in our land.”

A purported spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to a refusal by the authorities to release its members from custody.

President Jonathan and Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero

Some detainees being held at a police station in Kano were thought to have been freed during Friday’s attacks.

Boko Haram is a shadowy group believed to have a number of factions with differing aims, including some with political links and a hard-core Islamist blood-cell.

President Goodluck Jonathan during the recent Christmas and new year celebration had alerted the nation of his government’s dilemma, claiming Boko Haram members have infiltrated his government- from the security agencies to the legislature and the executive arm of government.

It was a passionate message to tell the world that his government is being threatened by unforeseen forces liaising with some elements in his government. His call and warning may have manifested recently with the calculated and unexpected release of a leader of Boko Haram, after he was arrested and placed on security alert. The government is still aghast with the release,

Senate president David Mark said he and the speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal, had ignored security risks to travel to Kano.

“We want to ensure that a few misguided Nigerians who have been led into this action don’t take this country hostage… it is not about religion, this affects the entire nation,” he said.

Jonathan imposed emergency rule in parts of Nigeria’s north on December 31 after a wave of violence blamed on Boko Haram, including attacks on churches on Christmas Day.

But Kano, which had escaped the worst of the violence in recent months, was not among the areas covered.

On Sunday  President Jonathan paying a visit to a Kano hospital to sympathise with the wounded  promised the government would pick up their medical bills.

The Victim

Lying on a bed in a ward at the hospital with a bullet wound in his leg, tannery worker, Monday Joseph, 29, said he was driving home from work with four colleagues when one of the bombs went off.

They abandoned the car and started running.

“The four of them died. I am the only one who survived,” he told AFP.

Nigeria’s supreme Muslim leader, the Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar, said the attacks were “perhaps the worst in terms of the loss of lives”.

“It is evidently clear that Nigeria is passing through a trying moment of general insecurity of overwhelming magnitude,” he said.

Most of the recent major attacks have occurred in the northeast of the country, with many taking place despite the state of emergency.

Boko Haram claimed a Christmas Day bombing at a church near the capital Abuja which killed at least 44 people and an August attack against UN headquarters in Abuja that killed 25.

Attacks targeting Christians have given rise to fears of a wider religious conflict in Nigeria, which is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

But attacks blamed on Boko Haram have included a wide range of targets, including Muslims.

Addition: AFP