On 31 May, a man who gave his name as Abu Zaid (or Zayd) and claimed to be the deputy spokesman of the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, told the BBC Hausa Service that his group was responsible for the post-inauguration blasts in Bauchi, Zaria and Zuba near the Federal capital, in which at least 17 people were killed.
The man, who spoke via telephone, told the BBC’s Hausa Service that some serving members of the Nigerian army had been used to carry out the bombings in the Bauchi barracks on 30 May. He said the soldiers had approached the sect, seeking to join its ranks, and that they were sent to bomb the barracks, as a test of their loyalty to Boko Haram.
Abu Zaid said the group was also responsible for killing Abba Anas Ibn Umar Garbai, younger brother of the Shehu of Borno, the second-highest Muslim leader in Nigeria, who was gunned down outside his home in Maiduguri, on 30 May. The Shehu of Borno is one of the most prominent Muslim figures in Nigeria – second only to the Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s Muslims.
”We are the ones responsible for the killing of the junior brother of the Shehu of Borno,” Zayd said. “As we always say, these traditional institutions are being used to track and hunt us, that is why we attack them”.
He told the radio station, which broadcasts in Hausa languge in northern Nigeria, that the sect did not believe in the Nigerian constitution and he repeated a call for sharia (Islamic law) to be imposed nationwide.
“We are doing what we are doing to fight injustice. If they stop their satanic ways of doing things and the injustices, we would stop what we are doing,” Zayd said.
However, the Nigerian army spokesman Brig Gen Raphael Isa rejected the allegation of any soldiers planning to desert the Nigerian Army and join the sect.
“It is not correct”, he told the BBC News website. “Let him publish the names of those pledging loyalty to Boko Haram. This is not a banana republic. We are one army united and very, very loyal”.
The BBC could not verify the caller’s identity or his claims.
On 31 May, a leading opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), urged President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently summon a national security summit that would provide stakeholders a forum to proffer solutions to the increasing bombings and other violent acts in the country.
Reacting to the post-inauguration bombing incidents in Abuja, Bauchi and Zaria, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, proposed that such a summit should involve all those who could make positive contributions towards ending the rash of explosions, regardless of their political affiliations.
ACN stated that: “After every bomb attack, the government will vow to get the culprits and punish them. Then more explosions will occur and the government will repeat its vow. This is not reassuring to the people of Nigeria as well as foreigners who may want to do business in the country”.
“Therefore, it is now clear that, in spite of its best efforts, the government alone cannot stop the bombers. It is time for all patriots to put heads together to identify the culprits and their grievances, and seek the way forward”.
The party urged that the growing security challenge should now be treated as a national emergency.