As expected, last Monday’s bomb blast in Abuja and the abduction of over 100 secondary school students in Maiduguri same Monday night by Boko Haram dominated today’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting.
Labaran Maku, minister of information, while briefing State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, said that President Goodluck Jonathan is under immense psychological pressure from the unrelenting terrorist attacks against innocent people in Nigeria.
He was reacting to questions on why the President shrugged off the carnage on Monday and was dancing with joy at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rally in Kano the next day. “This President has suffered a lot of psychological torture by terrorist activities… going to Sokoto was a loud statement that terrorism cannot stop Nigeria from running,” he explained.
According to him, the target of the terrorists is to paralyze the normal functioning of the country and this cannot be allowed to happen.
In deference to the victims of the Nyanya motor park bombing, Maku said Jonathan cancelled his planned trip to Ibadan for the centenary celebration of the Olu of Ibadan.
Bala Mohammed, minister of the Federal Capital Territory, gave an update on the bomb blast. He confirmed 75 people dead, up from 72; while 126 are receiving treatment in 13 hospitals in FCT. Similarly, 47 motorcycles, 26 mass transit busses and 14 mini-buses were destroyed in the fatal incident, which he described as “rude and shocking to our sensibilities.”
To bridge the gap in transportation due to the loss of the high capacity buses, Mohammed said about 20 buses are being refurbished to replace the destroyed ones; while an order has been placed for 100 new high capacity buses to beef up intra-city transport in the Federal Capital City.
He equally said FCT would pay the hospital bills of those wounded in the incident.
He admitted the incident has thrown up “some gaps” in the security architecture of the City “and we will respond to fill these gaps.” Consequently, markets, motor parks and other public places will be provided with enough security gadgets to forestall similar incidents; while the coverage of surveillance cameras would be expanded to the satellite towns and other strategic axis of FCT.
On the mass kidnap of over 100 students of Chibok Government Girls Secondary Scholl, GGSS, in Borno State, Maku said security operatives were hot on the trail of the terrorists. “We are doing everything to get the girls back to their families. We continue to pursue them and their abductors. What is happening is strange to what we are; it’s a complete lack of respect for basic morals. What will they be doing with female students if the issue is religious piety? he wondered.
FEC urged Nigerians to be vigilant not only in the north but everywhere in the country.