Buhari, Lawan, oth­ers ex­press shock as gun­men at­tack Jonathan’s house

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - John Ameh, Sun­day Aborisade, Daniels Igoni and God­win Isenyo

GUN­MEN on Tues­day at­tacked the Otuoke coun­try home of for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan in the Og­bia Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Bayelsa State.

It was gath­ered that the ban­dits in­vaded Jonathan’s home at about 3am.

They were said to have used a ferry to nav­i­gate their way to the for­mer Pres­i­dent’s river­side res­i­dence and opened fire on the soldiers on guard, os­ten­si­bly to gain en­try into the build­ing.

The at­tack has how­ever gen­er­ated a pub­lic out­cry as Nige­ri­ans led by the Pres­i­dent, Major Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari (retd.) and the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Ahmed Lawan, con­demned the at­tack, de­scrib­ing it as tragic and un­for­tu­nate.

There were con­flict­ing re­ports on the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties as a re­sult of the armed in­va­sion of the for­mer Pres­i­dent’s res­i­dence.

While a source said one sol­dier was killed and an­other one in­jured, an­other source claimed that three soldiers and one per­son were killed in the at­tack.

But Jonathan was said to have es­caped un­hurt in the at­tack, which some com­mu­nity per­sons de­scribed as “an as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt” on the for­mer Pres­i­dent.

The in­ci­dent was said to have caused panic among res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity.

Shortly af­ter the in­ci­dent, the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta co­de­named Op­er­a­tion Delta Safe re­in­forced de­ploy­ment of troops in the area who cor­doned off the roads.

Tues­day’s vi­o­lent at­tack on Jonathan’s Otuoke res­i­dence was the sec­ond in 12 years as the same home was in­vaded by mil­i­tants on April 20, 2007 be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of that year.

The spokesman for the Op­er­a­tion Delta Safe, Major John un­uakhalum, who con­firmed the in­ci­dent in a state­ment on Tues­day, said the gun­men also at­tacked the se­cu­rity out­fit’s “gun­boat de­ployed close to the house of for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan.”

He said, “The vig­i­lant troops re­pelled the at­tack while some of the as­sailants es­caped with gun­shot wounds. How­ever, dur­ing the at­tack, one sol­dier paid the supreme price and an­other one was wounded in ac­tion. The wounded sol­dier has been evac­u­ated to the hos­pi­tal and is re­spond­ing to treat­ment.”

un­uakhalum said pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions had com­menced “to iden­tify the per­sons or group of per­sons be­hind the at­tack.”

Buhari on Tues­day af­ter re­ceiv­ing the news of the at­tack, called Jonathan on the tele­phone to sym­pa­thise with him.

A State House state­ment by Buhari’s me­dia aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said he de­scribed the at­tack as “tragic and un­for­tu­nate.”

The Pres­i­dency stated, “While com­mend­ing the soldiers on guard for bravely re­pelling the at­tack, the Pres­i­dent con­doled with the fam­ily mem­bers as well as of­fi­cers and men of the Nige­rian Army over the loss of one of the guards.

“Pres­i­dent Buhari as­sured Nige­ri­ans that the pro­tec­tion of the life of the for­mer leader and all ci­ti­zens of the coun­try will con­tinue to be the major pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of his administra­tion.”

Also, the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by his me­dia aide, Ola Awoniyi, de­scribed the at­tack as de­spi­ca­ble.

In his own re­ac­tion, the Chair­man, Board of Trus­tees of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party, Sen­a­tor Walid Jib­rin, de­scribed the at­tack as trou­bling, un­ac­cept­able and un­for­tu­nate.

•Jonathan

•L-r:per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Pub­lic Ser­vice Of­fice, La­gos State, Mr Sam­son Ajibade;per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Of­fice of Es­tab­lish­ments and Train­ing, Mr Abio­dun Bamg­boye; Chair­man, Joint Ne­go­ti­at­ing Coun­cil, Mr Razak Falade; and Di­rec­tor, In­dus­trial Re­la­tions, Mr Adeniyi Okoya, dur­ing the La­gos State Pub­lic Ser­vice Joint Ne­go­ti­ait­ing Coucil meet­ing in La­gos... on Mon­day. Photo: Goke Fa­madewa

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