On 24 June, the State Security Service (SSS) stated that it would apply the “carrot and stick” approach earlier indicated by President Goodluck Jonathan, in dealing with both the sponsors and operatives of the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, currently waging serial attacks in some northern states of the country.
It will be remembered that on 8 June, at a news briefing after the opening of the United Nations High Level Summit on HIV/AIDS in New York, President Jonathan had said that the Nigerian government would employ the “carrot and stick approach” in dealing with the Boko Haram sect. Citing the success of that approach in calming the Niger Delta, the president had said it would be replicated in addressing the issue of Boko Haram. The president had also stated that no responsible government would want to kill its militant citizens at the first instance, adding that the use of state force will be the last option.
Speaking on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) programme, Focus Nigeria, the Assistant Director, Public Relations, of the SSS, Ms Marylin Ogah, said that contrary to media reports which tend to give the impression that the security agencies are not doing enough to stop the bomb blasts and other violence, the SSS in particular had covered much ground in its efforts to make Nigeria violence free. However, the SSS, she said, is following the political direction being given by the President, in managing the Boko Haram challenge.
Ogah said: “The carrot and stick transformational agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan will be strictly applied by the Service on both the sponsors and foot soldiers in the Boko Haram saga”. She further explained that by this agenda, the SSS could explore peaceful means of ending bomb blasts and other violence in the affected region, using traditional rulers, governors, religious leaders and opinion leaders in the region.
However, the SSS spokesperson said that if these peaceful means fail, both the government – and the agency – would be left with no alternative than to apply the big stick and deal with the situation more decisively.
She stressed that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians, and that no dissident group could exploit the many challenges the country is presently passing through, to foment trouble.
Eye witnesses said the fire started around 9.55 a.m. from the ninth floor of the building. Before it could be brought under control, it had destroyed property worth millions of naira. The General Manager of the Jos zonal office, Chukwudi Okoli Ugbaja said: “All our cameras and entire studio equipment got destroyed in the inferno”. Mrs. Folashade Oshodi, a presenter who was on duty at the time of the incident told the News Agency of Nigeria that the station’s transmitter as well as the radio and the television studios were completely burnt. However, Ugbaja expressed relief that no life was lost, and commended the Fire Service whose prompt response saved the entire structure from being razed.
Governor Jonah Jang who was on his way home from Church service in company of his wife Ngo made a prompt visit to see the extent of damage. He expressed sympathy with the management and staff of AIT for the loss.
It will be recalled that AIT/Ray Power offices in Abuja, Lagos and Kano have been gutted by fire disasters in the past.