On 7 February, suicide bombers targeted two military bases as another bomb detonated at a busy overpass near a motor park in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the 1 Mechanised Division headquarters, Lt. Col. Abubakar Edun, two attackers driving bomb-laden cars (a Sienna Toyota space bus and a Honda Accord) struck at the headquarters of the 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army at about noon.
Refusing to stop, they overran the security post and the lawn leading to the headquarters complex. A soldier opened fire on the Toyota car, causing the car to swerve and explode at a car park. But the Honda car did not explode.
Edun said: “The Honda Accord which did not explode was loaded with ten numbers of 20 litres of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), four numbers of 30litres loaded with IEDs and two numbers of large peak milk containers also loaded with IEDs”. He said the bomber in the Toyota Sienna died in the attack and that the Army recorded no casualty.
In his own account of the incident, the Nigerian Army Headquarters spokesman Maj-Gen Raphael Isa told newsmen in Abuja that a suicide bomber dressed in a military uniform attempted to drive a car bomb into the 1 Mechanized Division headquarters. Soldiers guarding the gate opened fire on the man, who died from gunshot wounds.
“The soldiers repelled the attack and were able to stop what will have been a suicide bombing. However, after firing (at) the suicide bomber who tried to force his way, the bomb exploded and shattered the glasses that adorn the frontage of the headquarters. The suicide bomber was the only casualty,” Isa, who is the director of Army public relations, said.
Soon after the attack at the 1 Division headquarters, two other blasts went off near the Air Force base and at the Kawo flyover.
On the incident at the Air Force base, Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Yusuf Anas said some attackers tried but failed to get through the gate. They then threw an explosive about 500 meters from the outer fence of the base.
Anas said: “They used all these locally made bombs. They used fertilizer and some things to generate some serious detonation”.
At the Kawo flyover, the explosion occurred directly opposite the Kawo Motor park, which is the largest in the city. The popular Kawo weekly market which holds only on Tuesdays was in its peak trading hours, bustling with traders and buyers at the time the bomb exploded. Sources said many people were injured while running for their dear lives.
Later in the day, the militant Islamist group, widely known as Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attacks. A man claiming to be the sect’s spokesman, reportedly told journalists by telephone in Maiduguri that: “Government and security agencies have turned against us and betrayed the truce we offered. That is why we attacked Kaduna. And henceforth, we will always attack any town or city where our members are exposed or arrested”.
On 16 January, Army authorities presented Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa to newsmen, alleging that he had been involved in gun running and in supporting a terrorist group in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State. Also accused was one of his sons, Musa Nuhu Mohammed. Another son, Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, was declared wanted for allegedly shooting at security personnel and then fleeing with his weapon.
Alhaji Marafa is a former chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association in Kaduna State.
Addressing a press conference, the Assistant Director of Public Relations, 1 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Lt Col Abubakar Edun, on behalf of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Maj Gen Joseph Shoboiki, said the principal suspect was arrested after a search was conducted on his compound.
Narrating the circumstances of the arrest, Col Edun said Marafa’s activities, bordering on issues of national security, had attracted the attention of the Nigerian Army. Those activities, he said, specifically had to do with gun running and suspected association and support of a terrorist group. After intensive surveillance, troops from the Kaduna-based 1 Division, on the night of 13/14 January, were sent to search his compound, located at Trikania area, opposite IBBI, in Kaduna.
The army spokesman said: “Before troops could gain entrance into the house, there was a gunshot fired at soldiers from the compound. It was later revealed that the shot was fired allegedly by Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, the son of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa. Yusuf escaped with the weapon by scaling the fence of the compound”.
He further disclosed that when the troops finally gained entrance into compound, several weapons and other incriminating items were discovered.
The items found included, “nine number of 9 MM ammunition, five number of 6MM ammunition, 7.62 mm (special) ammunition, 11 number of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 17 barrel gun cartridges”.
“Others include one pump-action gun, two double-edged special axes, three machetes, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) bomb in a Mirinda bottle which, if ignited, can cause serious collateral damage to lives and property”.
“Also recovered were two metal bows, three long wooden clubs, one black army belt, one camouflage belt, two dog tags belonging to the Nigerian Army D2004/1/55/1899 S Adamu and US Army 84637857 Rambo RH and Nigerian Army camouflage trousers”.
“Other items recovered include two mobile phones, 10 pairs of vehicle number plates and three single vehicle number plates, one whistle, one passport of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa and his son, Mohammed Yusuf Nuhu, GSM SIM packs, among others”.
It was on the basis of these discoveries that Alhaji Marafa and one of his sons, Musa, were arrested. The Army spokesman added that Marafa’s other son, Yusuf, who shot at the troops during the search operation, “is hereby declared wanted”.
The Army appealed to law-abiding citizens to assist law enforcement agencies with information that could facilitate arrest of the wanted man. They said investigations were still ongoing and that the suspects will eventually be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
However, Alhaji Marafa’s lawyers who also addressed the press after he was paraded by the military, said their client was a law-abiding citizen. Barrister Sani Katu, who spoke on behalf of the three-man legal team said: “The gun was legally acquired alonside the bullets. The plate numbers are also his property”. Other residents said a lot more explanation may be needed, regarding the other items that were recovered from Alhaji Marafa’s residence.
On 3 January, protests against the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy, which raised the price of petrol by over 100 per cent overnight, spread through several cities of the country, claiming a first casualty in Ilorin, Kwara State.
In Lagos, the protesters were addressed by leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the labour union’s secretariat in Yaba. Thereafter, led by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and labour officials, they marched through some major streets, carrying unprintable placards against the Federal Government.
The protest disrupted traffic for several hours, especially along the multi-lane Ikorodu Road, a main drag into the metropolis. The march was however disrupted after policemen had tear-gassed protesters. Commercial drivers, fearing their vehicles would be damaged, withdrew their services from the streets, leaving commuters trekking to their destinations.
In Ilorin, protesters set up bonfires in several areas, including those around the Emir’s Palace, Oniyangi, the Taiwo Road -Niger Road junction, Alore, Sango, and the Oloje Ipata market. The spokesman of the Kwara State police command, Mr Ezekiel Daboh, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the protesters attacked two petrol filling stations around the Post Office area, destroyed their fuel pumps, and also damaged two vehicles they found inside the premises of the filling stations as well as a bullion van.
Daboh confirmed that a protester was killed around the railway station, but he said the wound on the man was not inflicted by a police bullet, and so he might have been stabbed by his colleagues. But the NLC insisted the protester was shot dead by the police, and said it was holding President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration responsible for the death. Some of the protesters were arrested by security agents.
In Lokoja, Kogi State, protesters blocked vehicular movements along the ever-busy Lokoja-Abuja highway, creating a massive traffic gridlock. The protests also disrupted economic activities in Lokoja town, as petrol stations, banks and even government offices remained closed all day. Some sources report that one protester was shot while several others suffered other injuries, as policemen battled to disperse them and re-open the highway.
In Kano State, students from universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the state marched peacefully through the city. They started from the gate of Bayero University, Kano, and ended up at the Silver Jubilee Square. Their leader, Comrade Mohammed Hamisu Sheriiffa, said they were protesting the increase in fuel prices as well as the month-long strike by university lecturers nationwide. Nine protesters were arrested by security agents, but later released.
In Kaduna State, mostly youthful protesters, under the umbrella civil society movement, Occupy Nigeria, converged at the Murtala Muhammed Square, where a register was opened for people to indicate their opposition to the government’s removal of fuel subsidy. Policemen, who barricaded the gate to the Square, barred the protesters from gaining access inside. The register was later made available at the gate, where an unknown number of protesters signed against the government’s policy.
In Ibadan, Oyo State, protesting youths led by the University of Ibadan students’ union president, Mr Tokunbo Salako, marched through the areas around Agodi, Agbowo, Gate, Dugbe and Challenge and the Governor’s Office. The march paralyzed businesses as banks and many other commercial houses remained shut. However security agencies, deployed to protect public assets and control motor traffic, were able to maintain peace, in spite of the generally chaotic situation.
The protesters demanded the immediate resignation of President Jonathan, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Information, Labaran Maku; and Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke. They also demanded that members of the National Assembly immediately call off their recess and reconvene to resist the increase in fuel price.
At the office of Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the students submitted a formal letter of protest. The Governor assured them of his understanding and urged them to press their demands peacefully. “What you are doing today is part of democracy”, he said. “Whatever message you have brought will be delivered accordingly”.
On 7 December, an explosion in a motor parts market left several people dead in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State.
The explosion occurred a little after 9am, along Danmusa Road by Ori Akpata, an area housing mostly non-indigenes, many of them vehicle spare parts dealers. Local sources said the blast went off near cylinders of highly inflammable natural gas.
The spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Yushau Shuaib, said at least seven people, including a three-year-old child, were killed. But other sources have reported casualty figures between 10 and 15. The severed head of one of the victims was flung about 100 metres away from the point of the blast. Several other persons were severely wounded. About 10 shops and property worth millions of naira were destroyed.
The blast caused panic in many other parts of the metropolis. Personnel of the Kaduna State Emergency Agency, soldiers, police, the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps all rushed to the area, battling to evacuate victims and put out the fire.
The cause of the explosion has not yet been established – indeed it is not yet clear whether it was one explosion or several. The Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State, Mr Bala Nasarawa, said investigations are underway, but that he suspects it could be an accident caused by items within a shop.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Aminu Lawan, also said the police initially thought it was a bomb explosion, but that “our preliminary assessment has shown that it was an accidental explosion from a repair shop dealing in car batteries and gas cylinders”.
However, shop owners in the area insist that none of the wares in their shops could have caused such explosion. Some of them believe the blasts were detonated by suspected members of the militant Islamist sect, widely known as Boko Haram. One of them claims two bombers came riding on a motor-cycle, that one was consumed by the blast while the other was severely injured; but this is yet to be officially confirmed.
In recent months, there have been series of bomb and gun attacks in several northern cities, mostly in the north-east zone. Some of the incidents had been blamed on Boko Haram, while the sect had in fact claimed responsibility for others.
On 26 August, an Islamic cleric, Malam Ja’afaru Ibrahim Tanimu, popularly known as Sarki Jafaru by his followers, was shot and killed by four gunmen in the Unguwar Jushi area of Zaria, the second largest city in Kaduna State.
Sources said the unidentified gunmen had apparently trailed the cleric and shot him at his residence at night, shortly after returning home from the mosque, where he performed the Tarawi prayers.
Narrating the incident, his younger brother, Muhammad Bello, said the four killers had come to the house at about 4pm and asked of Malam. They were told he was not in and they went away with a promise to come back later.
Bello said the killers came back in two Jeeps at about 8.30 pm, shortly after the breaking of Ramadan fast and evening prayers. They requested to see Malam who was sitting among other people in his compound. Acting as though they wanted to have a private chat with him, they took him to one corner not far away from the house.
According to Bello, the men suddenly asked him to hand over the keys of his Toyota Matrix car, which he gave them immediately. They asked him to leave, Bello said, “then the next thing we heard as he turned toward us was a gun shot from the killers and he fell down and died instantly”.
Neighbours and other residents say it may have been a robbery case, as the killers fled with the victims’s car. But his younger brother suggests otherwise. He said they could be hired killers, simply sent to kill.
The spokesman of the Police Command in Kaduna State, DSP Aminu Lawan, told newsmen that investigation was underway; but he said the incident was being treated as a robbery case, since the killers had fled with the late Malam’s car.
On 21 August, Alhaji Ahmadu Chanchangi, Chairman, Chanchangi Airlines Nigeria Limited, denied any hand in sponsoring the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, in reaction to a report in an Abuja-based monthly magazine which listed Alhaji Chanchangi as one of the sponsors of the militant group, the Managing Director and Executive Director (Operations) of the airline, Mr. Trevor Worthington and Alhaji Musa Chanchangi, said the publication was false and misleading. They said the report was merely “a figment of the imagination of the publisher, the writer”.
A statement issued by the airline’s management at the conference said: “Our chairman is not one of the sponsors of the sect and, in fact, he has nothing to do with them. His house is open to both Muslims and Christians because of his philanthropic and accommodating life style. 60 percent of the workforce of his company are non-Muslims and are from different parts of the country and the world”.
The statement further said: “Our chairman is a promoter of both western and Islamic education, hence his establishment of Gummi Secondary School where indigent students, both Muslim and non-Muslim, alike are given scholarships”.
The statement demanded an apology from the publisher of the said report and a retraction “which must be given same prominence with the misleading report” within the next two weeks. It said if the publishers of the magazine failed to meet this demand, Chanchangi Airlines would “institute legal action against the publisher for libel, as the report defamed the person, character of our chairman”.
On 11 August, Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State advocated that policemen should undergo psychological and psychiatric checks every six months, as a means to curtailing the incidence of extra-judicial killings by the police.
Opening a workshop on Police Abuses in Nigeria, jointly organised by Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and the National Committee on Torture (NCoT), Yakowa said it was unfortunate that innocent citizens were sometimes killed by those who were paid to protect and defend them.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Jonathan Adamu Kish, argued that there was a need to re-orientate the police on how to handle crime situations, so that they do not end up as murderers.
He said that: “The orientation should involve experts in psychology, psychiatry, sociology and other human behavioural sciences. I can go further to suggest that every policeman should be subjected to psychological and psychiatric test every six months”.
He urged police authorities to take a cue from President Goodluck Jonathan’s policy of adhering to the rule of law and respecting due process.
On 9 August, the Kaduna State governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, donated six Hilux operational patrol vehicles, equipped with modern communication gadgets, to the Kaduna State Police Command.
Handing the vehicles to the police at the command headquarters in Kaduna, Governor Yakowa said they were meant to boost the mobility of the police in their operations in the state.
The governor, represented by his Special Assistant on Security, Mr Gideon Dogara Mamman, further said his government had also approved funds for complete overhaul of police vehicles damaged during the presidential election and in post-election violence in the state. He assured the police of his government’s continued support in protecting lives and property.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ballah Magaji Nassarawa, expressed appreciation to the governor and said the vehicles would be distributed to the three area commands in the state, to strengthen their operational capabilities.
On 31 July, a retired Army officer, Colonel Francis Aba Ogbeyi, and his younger wife, Stella, were both murdered by unknown persons at their home in the Sabon-Tasha area of Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State.
Ogbeyi, who had been in private legal practice since leaving the Army, was reportedly shot in the face, while his wife was said to have been cut with a machete.
The circumstances in which they were killed are not clear. Colonel Ogbeyi’s senior wife was away to a Sunday morning church service when the incident happened. No one seemed to have noticed when the killers came in, struck and left.
Reports said the attention of other family members living in separate apartments, was drawn to the main apartment where Ogbeyi and Stella lived, only when the smell of burning food started coming from the apartment. Thinking someone must have left a pot on the cooker unattended for too long, one of the Colonel’s sons went over to alert whoever was cooking, to take the pot off the fire.
On getting to the apartment, he found the door firmly locked. After repeated knocks brought no response, he climbed into the two-bedroom flat. He found his father and wife had been gruesomely killed, and he raised alarm.
Policemen from the Sabon-Tasha Divisional Police Station later took the corpses to the mortuary at St. Gerald Hospital. Reports say the assailants apparently took away a laptop and three mobile phones belonging to the victims, as well as the key to their house.
Police authorities confirmed the incident and said they had commenced investigations. They said only the investigations will determine whether the killing was an assassination, an armed robbery or both.
[THIS REPORT MAY BE UPDATED LATER TODAY].