The Enugu State police command yesterday transferred the 21 suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, arrested in the state last Wednesday to the Force Headqaurters, Abuja for further questioning.
This is as the Hausa community in Imo State has commenced screening and identification of all members in the state who claim to be of Northern extraction following the recent discovery of improvised explosives at the Living Faith Church (aka Winners Chapel) Owerri which was later detonated by security agents.
The suspects who were said to be travelling to Kano with several military uniforms concealed inside a luxurious bus were intercepted by the National Task Force (NATFORCE) at Amala in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State last Wednesday.
It was gathered that the suspects who left Aba, Abia state were intercepted at wee hours of Wednesday morning at a boarder community in Enugu State heading to the northern parts of the country.
The command spokesman, DSP Ebere Amaraizu while confirming their movement to Abuja, however dismissed reports that they were Boko Haram members.
“Those people have been transferred to Abuja for further screening. They are no longer with us. But the command wishes to state that those people are not Boko Haram, this cannot be possible. Let us not go about saying that they are Boko Haram members.
“The Abuja Force Headquarters have them in their custody and they will carry out the screening and it is at their disposal to release them after routine checks and the screening”, he said.
Meanwhile, panic again gripped residents of Enugu State Friday following rumours that Boko Haram was set to bomb the Army command Nursery and Primary School at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army with headquarters in the state.
It was gathered that tension gripped the people around the 82 Division when two persons were seen in a black colour Golf car patrolling the area dressed on white brocade. Their presence heightened fears.
As a result of the rumour, commuters around the New Heaven Junction, Okpara Avenue and the fly-over, close to the military barracks and main market scampered for safety for fear of being hit by possible bomb explosion.
However when reporters inquired from a soldier at the barracks, he dismissed the report, contending that the 82 Division was well fortified and had all the gadgets to dictate any type of bomb and that the security formations in the area cannot allow that to take place.
Amaraizu however cautioned residents of the state against peddling false rumour in order to instil fear and tension in the state.
“People should stop raising falls alarm about bombs. People because of what is going on now use the opportunity to create panic through peddling falsehood and causing tension. The command wants to use this medium to warn members of the public to desist from carrying false stories and deceiving security operatives”.
“The command will not take kindly to people who go about spreading rumours and creating fear among members of the public. In as much as the command and security operatives in the state are well prepared, hoodlums can also cash in on these falsehood to commit crime during those periods of stampede and apprehension”.
The leader of the community who is the Sarikin Hausawa, Alhaji Baba Saidu Suleiman who disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri said that the measure had become inevitable to ascertain the true identity of residents of the city who dubiously parade themselves as Hausa and also associate themselves with all forms of insurgency.
Suleiman expressed regret that all Hausas in the City have come to be associated with all manner of unpatriotic activities including the devilish acts of terrorism being perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect.
Dismissing the deadly Islamic fundamentalist sect as an evil quite unacceptable to any devout genuine Muslim in the country, the Hausa leader advised the people of the state to report any suspected member of the sect to the security agencies for prompt action.
“Boko Haram is evil and unholy which is alien and unacceptable to genuine Muslim,” he stated.
He recalled the history of the settlement of the Hausa community in Owerri and noted that the Hausa have traditionally enjoyed a cordial relationship with their host community of Owerri and pledged that the former would continue to do its best to sustain the harmonious relationship for the overall growth and development of the state.