Monday, January 2, 2012

Moved by the level of destruction and
gory details of how innocent lives were
lost at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church
during the Christmas Day bomb blast,
President Jonathan openly wept
yesterday when he visited Madalla, a
suburb that shares common borders with
the Federal Capital Territory.
Jonathan, who had gone to commiserate
with the victims and relatives of the
blast, was touched by the wailing of
families of the bereaved. He was
conducted round the premises by Rev.
Father, Isaac Achi, the priest in charge of
the church.
Relatives of those affected by the blast
had to be held back as they rolled on the
bare floor, lamenting their loss.
On sighting the wailing crowd, President
Jonathan betrayed his emotions and he
was promptly dragged away by his aides.
Speaking later, the President promised
to carry out some drastic measures to
turn Suleja town, known for its notoriety,
upside down beginning from last night.
He said: “When the terrorists struck in
Niger State, it was in Suleja. Luckily the
local government chairman is here, we
are going to turn this place upside down,
if there are institutions here that are
harbouring criminality, we are going to
deal with it decisively, because Niger
State is a very big state and every
terrorist attack is in Suleja.
“My belief is that there are institutions or
individuals in Suleja that are harbouring
terrorists and we would deal with it
decisively. In any part of this country
where an individual or a group of people,
either traditional or religious institutions
are associated with terrorists will be
dealt with decisively. There will be no
sacred cows.”
Jonathan, while expressing condolences
to all Nigerians and the Catholic family
stated that: “This did not affect just the
Catholic Church, but it affected all
Nigerians irrespective of religious divide
because terrorism attack anywhere is
terrorism attack on the whole nation.
These are evil men being propelled by
evil thoughts and evil desires to create
confusion in decent societies.
“I sympathise with the Church, the
government and people of Niger State
for this act, but I assure Nigerians that I
would do everything to protect lives and
properties. Since this incident happened
we have been meeting. In fact, one of
the reasons why I did not come early was
because I did not want to disrupt things
at the site, I wanted things to be done
properly, that is investigation, because I
knew by the time I will come in there will
be crowd and a number of things will be
tempered with. Even yesterday and the
day before yesterday we met and we
would continue to meet.
“This night I am going to speak to
Nigerians about some few steps we are
going to take which I believe the public
should know, so that they will not be
embarrassed when they get to some of
the situations so that I will address them
tonight on television. There are a
number of things that we are doing and
will continue to do.
“Boko Haram started as a harmless
group in Borno State at a time they were
used by politicians to fester their political
interest, now they have grown
cancerous and Nigeria being the body,
they want kill the body and nobody will
allow it. Some people re exploiting it to
their own advantage, but terrorist attack
on any part of the nation is an attack on
all of us and all Nigerians will collectively
fight this terror. We will crush them.
We’ve seen what happened in other
countries. Terrorist attacks is not what
you will use magic wand to wave it off,
but collectively we will bring under
control and finally we will crush it.
“We will begin from tonight to take
different measures, different approach in
fighting Boko Haram and we must weed
them out from society.
“I sympathize with those who have lost
lives, properties and especially those
who have lost people dear to them.
When you lose life you cannot get it
back, how I wish it is something that we
can reconstruct but God has not made it
so.
“As the President and Commander in-
Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria I
will take actions that this will come to an
end very soon”.
Also speaking at the venue, the Niger
State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, told
reporters that compensation for the
victims will commence on Tuesday after
the holidays.
The governor said the committee set up
has concluded its work of assessment
and so compensation both for those who
lost loved ones and properties should
commence on Tuesday.
Aliyu, who said that he had no problem
with the church leadership saying it has
forgiven the attackers, said the
government would go after members of
the Boko Haram sect and bring them to
justice.
“I am happy Mr. President is here and
terrorism is not anything to sympathise
with. The Church can forgive terrorists,
but we in government cannot forgive
them until we get them and they are
punished properly and that is what the
President has promised us today”.
On the notoriety of Suleja, Aliyu said,
“you have forgotten that Suleja started
FCT, the whole headquarters was in
Suleja. So the cosmopolitan nature of
the place now has become so special
that we have been asking the Federal
Government to consider all the
contiguous states of the FCT including
the towns from Suleja, Mararaba,
because the security of the FCT is
contingent of what happens in the
neighbourhood.
“So am happy that what we have been
asking for has now been recognised.
Because there is a special need of this
place both in terms of security and the
welfare of the people. I believe we
should pay attention”.
Speaking on compensation of victims,
the Governor said, “What we are doing is
to access what has happened, we will
make donations both for those who have
suffered losses and properties. The
committee has concluded its work and
by Tuesday we will come and start
compensating”.

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