We knew Boko Haram was in Zaria days before the bomb blasts-Christian Leader

A new twist has emerged over the bomb blasts in Zaria Kaduna state last Sunday as  Christian leaders in Zaria revealed that  there was prior information that members of the Boko Haram group were planning  attacks on  some churches in the city .They even said they met on Friday to discuss what seemed like an impending attack.

Rev. Chris Dariya, secretary of the Second ECWA Church that was affected by Sunday’s explosion told Governor Ibrahim  Yakowa who was on a visit to the area on Tuesday that they got information few days before the attack that members of the Boko Haram group were in Zaria and met on Friday to plan how they will strike on Sunday.

Dariya said, “we were cautioned on the fact that Boko Haram were already in Zaria. We heard vividly there was a meeting on Friday and the Chairmen and secretaries of CAN Zone 1 were actually invited for a meeting we were told that Boko Haram were already in Zaria and there were going to strike this Sunday.
“Some of us were very concerned and were thinking of what possible thing to avert such happenings.

“I came back on Saturday from a meeting and drove into my office which is just behind (the Church), that is the District Office.
“There were soldiers who were actually patrolling and guarding the area. I saw them parking their things and I drove there and asked two of them what was happening and what we heard which I am sure you heard too. You are parking your things and it does not speak well for the community and for me as a religious leader.
“I was told that the community was disturbing them and that is why they have to move. I told them that it was not the community that kept you here, but the government. But they told me there were ordered, but I don’t know where the others came from.”
He noted that he did not want to get confrontational with the soldiers and so had to let them be only for the bomb blasts to happen on Sunday.

Muslim leaders have also condemned the Zaria and Kaduna attacks. Dr. Khalid Abubakar, Secretary-General, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in a press statement said , “the JNI under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, notes with pain and sadness, the sporadic bombings of some churches in Sabon Gari and Wusasa in Zaria, Nasarawa and Trikaniya, Kaduna, Kaduna state and regrettably the immediate reprisal attacks that were carried out by some irate Christian youths on the Muslim communities leading to to loss of lives and property in Sabon Tasha, Kakuri GRA, Gonin Gora, Abuja junction, all within Kaduna state look like preplanned acts of unleashing terror on the Muslims.

“The reprisal attacks that do always ensue signal hidden agenda to black paint the Muslims and the way things are unfolding; Muslims are put at the receiving end.

“This is so because previous perpetrators of similar acts have gone unpunished. We call on the government to leave no stone unturned in unmasking the perpetrators of this heinous crime against innocent people and their property. These reprehensible attacks are as unjustifiable as they are senseless.

“We condemn strongly in unequivocal terms, series of attacks on places of worship which Islam abhors and call on Nigerians to be steadfast, prayerful and remain law-abiding in all circumstances they find themselves.

“We are not oblivious of the fact that some petulant elements are bent on dragging the Muslim ummah into a religious war with the Christian community, the consequences of which will be unimaginable.”

However, the situation in Kaduna worsened today.In fact sources said, the curfew on Monday didn’t quite work as there were unconfirmed reports of attacks across Kaduna.It merely degenerated on Tuesda forcing the governor to reintroduce the 24- hour curfew. Reuben Buhari, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) said in a statement on Monday that, “in view of the new security challenges that came up today and based on the need for government to continue with its responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of citizens, the state government is hereby re-introducing a 24 hours curfew in all parts of the state.

“This curfew covers all the 23 local government areas of the state. As unpalatable as this decision is, the state government is doing it in the best interest of the state.

“Consequently, everybody is strongly advised to go back home while security agencies continue with the task of ensuring total peace in the state.”

Equally,Saidu Adamu ,commissioner for information, said the earlier decision to relax the curfew was borne out of the “thinking that the people had understood the importance of living together and the importance of having peace in Kaduna.

“That was why we decided to relax the curfew earlier on. We did it based on the simple fact that first and foremost there was relative security and also based on the reports of the security agencies that things have normalized, that was from Sunday night up to Monday afternoon.

“Unfortunately, on Monday evening when the curfew was relaxed, we recorded some problems in Barnawa, Narayi, and some other places. But, we thought it was only those areas and we decided to send the security agencies to those places to ensure peace was restored.

“But, unfortunately, when everything was going on smoothly, as we thought, this morning, when the whole city was busy and there was movement everywhere suddenly we heard reports from various quarters that there were problems. “Naturally, nobody wants innocent citizens being killed unnecessarily, properties destroyed, so we had to re-introduce the 24 hours curfew.”

The State  Commisssioner of Police, Muhammed Jinjiri Abubakar, said  while Speaking on the Zaria and Kaduna bomb attacks, said two principal suspects who he gave their names as Mallam Daudu and one Mr.Victor have been apprehended with dangerous weapons including 17 gas cylinders suspected to be impoverished explosive devices that could cause massive destruction.He added that Governor’s decision to earlier relax the curfew was meant allow people do their normal business.

“Governor Yakowa was sympathetic to the situation of the people, he said that people should be allowed to go about their lawful business despite the tension in town. It was a kind gesture on the part of the Governor.

“But the Governor’s kindness was abused by the people, and that is wrong of them, and that was why the Governor relaxed the curfew, but we are going out in full force now to enforce the curfew to the later. The curfew will continue till further notice.

“On whether there was death in this fresh attack (Tuesday), we do not know yet, by the time we meet with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other security agencies, we will be able to put records together and see if there was death or not.

“We just came back from operation, it is not humanly possible for me to give you the number of deaths but we have succeeded in keeping the state capital calm and peaceful.”


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