Multiple explosions went off in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital yesterday, leaving no less than six persons dead and several others injured.
This comes even as nine governors of the various opposition parties that are merging to form the All Progressives’ Congress, APC, gathered to push ahead their merger plans.
About three explosions happened simultaneously on Baga Road, Customs and Gamboru Areas at about 3pm, while a fourth one went off at 6pm at London Ciki.
A top security source lamented that the incident may have been triggered by the invitation of the state governor to other APC g0vernors for the meeting, even when intelligence reports warned him against doing so.
An unconfirmed report from a hospital source said six dead bodies including security operatives and civilians were brought to the mortuary of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, while those who sustained injuries were admitted for treatment.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yuguda Abdullahi, however, claimed knowledge of only one blast, saying he personally visited that site. He declined comment on the number of casualties.
Spokesman of the Joint Task Force, JTF Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa could not be reached for comments.
This, however, did not prevent the governors from going ahead with their meeting and releasing a communiqué at the end, where they pledged to rescue Nigeria from what they described as visionless leadership.
This also comes just before an expected to the visit by President Goodluck Jonathan to the restive city. President Jonathan has not visited either Borno or Yobe States, the two states in the centre of the insurgency, since he won his presidential elections in 2011. Incidentally, both states are opposition-controlled.
Eight governors and one deputy governor from the four parties forming the APC were present at yesterday’s strategic meeting that lasted about four hours, which was reportedly focussed on how to properly position the emerging party in the polity.
The governors present at the meeting were Governors Rochas Okorocha (APGA Imo), Kayode Fayemi (ACN Ekiti), Babatunde Fashola (ACN Lagos), Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (CPC Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (ACN Ogun), Governor Rauf Aregbesola (ACN Osun), Deputy Governor of Yobe, Abubakar Aliyu (ANPP), and the host,Governor Kashim Shettima. Governors Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State sent in messages of solidarity as they were unable to make the meeting.
They also donated N200million to Borno and Yobe States as a show of solidarity with the people of the states that have been most hit by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The communiqué, which was read by Governor Aregbesola of Osun State said in full:
“The Forum reiterated our irrevocable commitment to the emergence of the new party, All Progressive Congress (APC).
“In solidarity with the government and people of Borno and Yobe states, we are pleased to witness an upsurge of tranquility and happy that the situation has calmed down considerably in Maiduguri, contrary to the image of rampant violence that has been painted to the whole world. We have discovered the people are going about their businesses without hindrance. We wish to commend the efforts of our brother-governors in the two states and the security agencies for the restoration of peace and stability.
“We also sympathize with the families of those who lost their lives and property and wish to donate N200 million to Borno and Yobe governments for emergency relief and support.
“We wish to commend the Central Merger Committee of the APC on the progress so far made in the establishment of the new party, particularly the recent inauguration of three major committees on constitution, manifesto and legal/INEC compliance.
“Finally, we wish to inform Nigerians that we shall soon embark on a national outreach and sensitization activities and we call on Nigerians to support our effort to rescue the country from a visionless leadership.”