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Amnesty committee meets Boko Haram in Kaduna

May 26, 2013

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Members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North led by its Chairman, Tanimu Turaki, on Friday toured institutions and places of worship bombed by Boko Haram members in Kaduna State.

The committee also visited some members of the terror group in an undisclosed detention in the state capital.

Areas visited included the Jaji Miliatry Cantoment where two suicide bombers attacked St. Andrews Military Protestant Church located at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, killing several worshippers and residents while scores were seriously injured last year.

Also, the committee visited the St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero where a similar attack was carried out by the insurgents.

At St. Rita, the Chairperson of the church’s caretaker committee, Mrs. Cecilia Michael, told members of the committee how the suicide bomber rammed through the wall of the church before blasting it.

The attack, according to her, claimed four lives and injured several others she estimated to be about 250.

The committee members later offered prayers to the victims who were buried on the church premises.

However, there was a mild drama at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji when the committee members were snubbed.

A junior officer who received the committee told them that the commandant was not ready to receive them because he was in a crucial meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.

But when members of the committee threatened to leave, another officer hurriedly called out the commandant.

The committee Chairman, who is also the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, was furious and said, “This is rubbish. Who is that permanent secretary? Let me see him. This is unacceptable. For the past five sessions, I have not attended council meetings because of this committee work. You cannot be in a meeting with a permanent secretary and say you will not attend to a presidential committee that is representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The Commandant, Air Vice-Marshall Ekpo Osim, told the committee that they were equally working for the security of the country.

He said the initial message was from a junior officer who might not have known the importance of the committee’s visit.

He said, “Take it easy Mr. Chairman. We are all here to ensure the security of our country and quell crises. The message that I was attending to a permanent secretary was passed by a young officer and I don’t need to say much. I sincerely apologise for the communication gap and the mix-up.”

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