Second Time Unlucky - Madalla
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
Madalla was marked for death says as it were. Over three months ago, five Christians were killed by suspected Boko Haram members but the story went virtually unreported in the media and the police authorities kept it under wraps.
But the Christmas Day bombing which claimed dozens of lives were too massive to be hidden.
Our investigation has shown that on September 2, 2011, suspected Boko Haram members went to shops owned by Christians at a Madalla market around 8pm, ordering them to recite certain verses from the Quoran.
Those who couldn’t were shot and killed instantly.
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The sound of the gunshots compelled Christians to call the police from nearby Suleja, and officers arrived to find that five Christians had already been killed.
The names of the victims were: Sunday Emmanuel, John Kalu, Uche Nguweze and Oliver Ezemah. The identity of the fifth Christian was not immediately known as witnesses could not identify him.
The issue of security lapse in the nation’s fight against terrorism popped its ugly head in the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla on Christmas day.
A resident of Madalla said that what was odd about the dastardly killing was the posture of the Madalla Police Station and the District Police Officer in charge of the station, Nurudeen Abdul, as well as an unnamed Muslim cleric he said was suspected of harbouring members of the sect in his cell.
“Some people were killed here sometime ago and the DPO said it was armed robbers until it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that these people were not victims of armed robbery,” he said.
Abdul was asked for clarifications regarding the alleged posture he took when the killings took place. Abdul feigned ignorance of any such attack in the town.
The discussion went as follows:
We gathered there was an attack on Christian traders in this town three months ago, specifically on September 2. Were you aware of this and how did your unit handle it?
DPO Abdul: I am not aware of any attack here. I have no idea of what you are talking about.
We understand five people were killed after being subjected to a recitation of the Holy Quoran, which test they failed. How true is this?
This sounds strange to me. Honestly, I don’t know what you are talking about.
Some of the residents actually lamented and said you claimed it was an armed robbery case, not a Boko Haram attack. How true?
I still insist no such thing happened and I am not in the know of this whole talk.
It was learnt you later succumbed to the truth that this was no armed robbery case as the goon squad left without carting away money or goods from the traders. Did this happen?
How can I know when I was not aware of it?
Abdul, who is from Kwara State, later said: “Human beings will say what they want to say but those we guard know us very well.
Ask them or stay behind to see whether we are working or not. CP Ibrahim Moshane has been here as well as the ACP. The Minister of Interior has been here and we are receiving commendations. We will remain focused.”
According to him, Rev. Father Isaac Achi will be in a better position to testify to the good works of the Madalla Police Station who patrol the vicinity night and day to keep the peace.
DPO Abdul’s response led us to the Assistant Commissioner of Police Greg Efele, who confirmed the incident, which he said was the handiwork of Islamic extremists.
Efele said the gang had disappeared before police arrived at the scene of action and no arrests were made.
Earlier, Richard Adamu Oguche, a spokesman for the Niger State Police Command in the state capital of Minna, confirmed that five Christians had been killed
He was quoted then as saying that the attack was linked to members of the Boko Haram sect who recently bombed Christian sites elsewhere in Madalla.
Yet the DPO claimed ignorance.
Chika Nnawuihe, a parishioner of St. Theresa’s, was particularly irked because information came that there was going to be an attack that Sunday. The police were promptly informed and unfortunately when it happened, guns could not stop the bombs.
He said: “We had expected a thorough search of all those coming to church and even insisting that cars should be parked clearly at a distance from the church while taking position to identify who was a member of the church or not.”
More victims under critical conditions have been moved from hospitals in Niger State to the National Hospital, Abuja.
About 11 victims were yesterday taken to the hospital for proper medical attention.
Hospital sources said that the victims were brought in from various health facilities around Madalla area and its environs.
Meanwhile, families and church members of St. Theresa’s have continued with the search of their loved ones, visiting one hospital after another.
A worshipper at the church, Emmanuel Obiukwu, whose wife was seriously affected, is still in search of four of their children. The fifth one, Chiamaka, was only found yesterday morning alive at the hospital.
According to Obiukwu, “I am still looking for four of my children. Since Sunday, we have been looking for them but we are yet to see them.”
Also, members of the Catholic Youth Organisation (CYON), the Laity Council and other groups in the church were seen searching for members believed to be involved in the bomb explosion that rocked the parish on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, the Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the sponsors of Boko Haram are fished out and dealt with, adding that it was high time a drastic action was taken.
Aliyu, who made this known when he paid condolence visits to the families of the victims of the explosion yesterday, said he hoped the nation’s political leadership and security agencies would have the courage to take decisive actions against sponsors of the group in order to bring to an end the incessant bomb attacks across the country.
He also stated that it was time to declare to the sponsors of the perpetrators of the dastard acts, that ”enough is enough”.
“I pray that God will give Mr. President, all of us in leadership position and security agencies the courage to take the right decision and to declare to the sponsor of this dastard acts enough is enough,” he said.
culled from This Day
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