In yet another mindless attack, this time on a military camp in Kaduna, terrorists, yesterday, killed about 15 soldiers and three civilians at Poll Wire, Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), however, confirmed the attack but said it awaited further information.
Meanwhile, the principal officers of the House of Representatives and Chairmen of Security Committees, yesterday, met behind closed doors with the service chiefs, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Inspector General of Police, Usman Akali Baba; and the Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, over the recent terrorists’ attack on Kaduna airport and train.
This is as the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has said Nigeria was currently at a critical crossroads and that the people must elect the right leaders in 2023 to take the country to the next level.
In the same breath, presidential hopeful and one of the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said an attack on one Nigerian was an attack on all Nigerians.
However, yesterday’s attack came a week after a commercial train was bombed in Kaduna, killing eight passengers, injured 26 while scores other passengers remained unaccounted for.
The terrorists, who were said to be traveling from Niger State to Zamfara in large numbers via Birnin Gwari, reportedly launched a deadly attack on the military camp.
Sources in Birnin Gwari, who confirmed the incident in a telephone chat, said the attack occurred at about 5pm on Monday, and that the terrorists, who were carrying sophisticated weapons, engaged the soldiers in a fierce gun battle at the camp.
The said the terrorists might have overpowered the soldiers due to their large numbers and went on to burn a military armoured tank at the camp.
“The attack took place at a military camp at Poll Wire at about 5pm on Monday. They were in large numbers. They took more than an hour passing through the Kaduna highway. They were on their way from Niger State to Zamfara state.
“They over powered the soldiers after a fierce gun battle probably because of their large numbers and the kind of weapons they carried.
One of the military armoured tanks was burnt.
“I am not in a position to confirm how many soldiers were killed, but information available to me said that 15 soldiers and three civilians were killed. Two of the civilians are members of a vigilante group while one was a traveller.
“You can contact the military authorities to confirm the figures. The attack lasted for hours. These people were many and they have very sophisticated weapons. How do you expect maybe about 40 or 60 or even less soldiers manning a camp to face terrorists numbering about 100 or 200 and carrying deadly weapons?”
Spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mohammed Jalige, did not respond to calls when contacted.
However, the spokesman at Defence Headquarters, Maj Gen Jimmy Akpor, confirmed the attack but said he was still awaiting further details.
Also, the Director, Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Maj Gen Bernard Onyeuko, confirmed the development and spoke in the same vein.
Lawmakers Meet Service Chiefs, IG, Ministers Behind Closed Doors
However, at the resumed meeting of security stakeholders with the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over the session, said the House was hoping to explore other options to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
Some identified government officials had last week shunned the invitation of the House at its last hearing. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase, who presided at the session, refused to allow the representatives to speak on behalf of their principals and bemoaned their absence, which compelled an adjournment.
Speaking on behalf of the Service Chiefs, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, expressed readiness to answer questions from the lawmakers and said, “We are ready to answer the questions you have for us to proffer solutions to Defence and security issues across the country.”
Thereafter, Gbajabiamila moved that the meeting be held behind closed doors and journalists were asked to leave the room.
Addressing journalists five hours later, Gbajabiamila said they made good headway in their discussion but couldn’t disclose what was discussed as security matters were not for public consumption.
“We had an extensive deliberation. A lot of the issues were discussed there. Unfortunately, as defence matters, they were not things for public consumption. But I can assure you that there was a lot of collaboration. All ideas came together in terms of how our security agencies can work together and speak together in one voice as opposed to different voices.
“Talking about the all-important issue of whether or not there are elements within the military itself that we need to deal with – issues of moles like some have stated. We talked about training and retraining, issues of capacity and allowances. We talked about several things, a lot of them like I said touched on security.
“I am not at liberty at this point, but for us to have been in there for 4 to 5 hours, you must know that we made some good head way and extensive decisions were made. I am not happy going into the meeting, but I am happy coming out,” the Speaker said.
El-Rufai: Nigeria at Crossroads, We Must Get Leadership Right in 2023
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, yesterday, concluded that Nigeria was at the moment at a critical crossroads, but that the people must elect the right leaders in 2023 to take the country to the next level.
The governor spoke, when one of the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leaders, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, visited him in Kaduna to commiserate with him over the recent attack on a Kaduna-bound train.
He said the challenges presently bedeviling the country were human, and that they were not intractable, because they could be solved.
“We need a society that can be just and equitable, where no group of people will lord it over others,” the governor said.
Governor el-Rufai, who also harped on the presidential aspiration of Asíwájú Tinubu, said, “We are aware of your aspiration to lead this country. We look forward to further engagements on this.”
He thanked Asíwájú Tinubu for the visit and for coming to commiserate with the state, saying, “We appreciate you. Thank you.”
Attack on One Nigerian is Attack on All, Says Tinubu
A Presidential hopeful, Bola Tinubu, yesterday, said in Kaduna, Kaduna that an attack on one Nigerian was an attack on all in the country.
Speaking when he visited the state to commiserate with the government and people over last week’s attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train, Tinubu urged all Nigerians to contribute their quota to efforts to rehabilitate the victims and prayed for a repose of the soul of those, who died in the incident.
“I’m here to sympathise with Governor Nasir el-Rufai and the people of the state over the train attack. It is a national disaster. It’s a blow to all of us. Nigeria bleeds. We need to fight terrorism with all we have. I understand some people were killed while some others are missing. It is frustrating.
“The governor is a symbol of our unity. Once in a while, we still remember the first stanza of our old national anthem – although tongues and tribes may differ, in brotherhood we stand. If enemies of peace and progress think they can deter us as a nation, we must together stand against them and say no,” he stated.
He, however, donated the sum of N50million to cushion efforts to rehabilitate the victims of the attack and later visited the St Gerald’s Hospital to see some of the victims.
In his responce, el-Rufai expressed gratitude to Asíwájú Tinubu for taking time to come and commiserate with the state and said the visit preempted his plan to come to Lagos to thank Asíwájú for honoring the people of Kaduna State by canceling his 70th birthday on the day of the event because of the train disaster.
“This gesture is a powerful show of leadership and empathy unprecedented in our national history. The government and people of Kaduna State will not forget this. We are grateful to you for your sacrifice and commitment to the greatness of our country,” he said.
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