Jonathan, govs, security chiefs meet Thursday
BRITISH international terrorist, Samantha Lewthwaite, otherwise known as ‘White Widow,’ has been linked to Monday’s bomb blast in Nyanya, near Abuja, the Federal Capital.
Meanwhile, worried by the heightened insecurity in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan has summoned members of the National Security Council (NSC) to a meeting Thursday for 11 a.m. at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In a related development, escalating violence across five states in North Central part of Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013, Human Rights Watch has disclosed.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for a thorough forensic examination of the victims of the Nyanya bomb blast to ensure proper identification.
Though no group has officially claimed responsibility for the act, but United Kingdom security sources think the bombing bore the trademark of the White Widow.
The sources said that the bombing might have been a revenge attack for the death of Lewthwaite’s mentor — al-Shabaab terror chief, Sheikh Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, also known as Makaburi, two weeks ago.
“Makaburi was always believed to be at the very top of the hierarchy of al-Shabaab”, the security source said.
“Intelligence suggests that he introduced Samantha Lewthwaite to many influential figures within the al-Shabaab network. He guided her on her path to Jihad. His murder was seen as yet another act of war.”
The 30-year-old is believed to be in Nigeria, Kenya or Somalia “where Islamist terror networks are closely linked, making it far easier for her to evade detection than in Europe.”
Significantly, the world’s most wanted woman was reportedly caught at a checkpoint in Nigeria just six months ago, but managed to bribe her way to freedom,” the UK senior security source said.
When contacted, the spokesperson for Department of State Security (DSS), Maryln Ogar, said she was not aware of Lewthwaite’s connection to Abuja’s bomb blast.
“I don’t know where you guys got that piece of information from. We have not picked that information. There was no such release from this office,” she said.
It is believed that the White Widow commands enormous loyalty and power as a white convert female jihadist, “having proved her worth in previous attacks.”
She is officially being hunted by 190 countries and “is one of the most wanted international fugitives in the world.”
A UK newspaper, Daily Star, said that Lewthwaite, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK, is believed to have widely used the alias ‘Natalie Webb’ and travelled on a forged South African passport.
The paper revealed that Police seized her laptop in 2011 and found details of how to build bombs and many evidences that she was planning multiple terrorist attacks both in Africa and the West.
She has also been linked to grenade attacks at non-Muslim places of worship in Africa and a terrorist attack on western football fans watching Euro 2012 in the Jericho bar in Mombasa, Kenya.
The Head of Interpol, Ronald Noble, said there is a global ‘tripwire’ for the fugitive and all 190 Interpol member-countries are aware of the danger she embodies worldwide.
Lewthwaite, daughter of a British soldier, is the most wanted woman in the world.
She is connected with seven murders and the Westgate shopping mall siege that resulted in 67 deaths and 200 severe injuries in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013.
She has been on the run since January 2012. She got the ‘White Widow’ nickname after her husband Germaine Lindsay blew himself up while bombing a London Tube train in what is now referred to as the 7/7 bombings of 2005 where 56 people were killed and more than 700 were injured.
Those expected at the meeting, according to a statement from the Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati include Vice President Namadi Sambo; the Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen Aliyu Gusau, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.); the Chief of Defence Staff,(CDS) Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police,(IGP) Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar; the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The statement said in part, “The meeting of the National Security Council will be followed at 1p.m. by an enlarged meeting on security developments in the country to which President Jonathan has invited state governors.
“President Jonathan, members of the National Security Council and the governors will review the security situation in the country as well as ongoing national security measures and operations with a view to determining the best way forward.
The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.
Communal violence, stoked by competition between local farming communities and nomadic herdsmen, has plagued this region for many years and is spreading to other states in northern Nigeria.
“The lack of justice for years of violence resulting from inter-communal tensions has created a combustible situation,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, adding: “The government needs to ensure full criminal investigations and provide justice for the victims and their families.”
The NMA condoled with the families affected and called on relevant government organisations to handle the victims’ bodies with topmost professionalism.
The NMA’s President, Dr Osahon Enabulele, said it was a shame that after 100 years of nationhood, Nigeria was yet to evolve and standardise, adapt and adopt standard operational procedures in handling bodies of victims of mass disasters in line with international best practices.