President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that government knows the sponsors of the recurrent explosions in the country.
He said government has uncovered what he called “strong leads” to the terrorists ad those behind them.
The president said he has therefore directed security agenicies to begin a man hunt for the alleged sponsors, saying there would be no “sacred cows” in the “war against terror.”
President Jonathan, who spoke at the launch of the new National Drivers Licence and vehicle number plates in Abuja, also paid N6000 to obtain his new drivers’ licence.
He warned those visiting death and destruction on innocent Nigerians and their sponsors that there is “no hiding place” for them anymore.
Jonathan said: “Today’s launch has acquired greatest significance following last Friday’s unprovoked attack which led to the loss of lives and has left in its trail gory images of the threat which terrorism now poses to the peace and security of our nation and the safety of our citizens.
“Since the last bombing episode on October 1, I had directed the hastening of efforts to build a credible data base of drivers and vehicles in order to improve public safety. The importance of this project is reaffirmed by the consistent use of vehicles in the conduct of the recent bombing episode.
“Let me use this occasion to reassure Nigerians and members of the international community that we now have strong leads as to those involved in this terror war on Nigeria and Nigerians. I have directed security operatives to go after them no matter where they may be hiding.
“Also, I am using this opportunity to warn that those who choose to hide under our new freedom to perpetuate evil against our people shall have no hiding place.”
This administration, according to the President, is fully determined and able to deal with all threats and agents of instability who continue to test the resolve of our nation and its democratic institutions and leadership.
“As President and Chief Security Officer of the nation, I will employ every means and instruments at my disposal to secure this nation against forces of evil which seek to divide and sabotage our country,” Jonathan said.
He added: “There shall be no sacred cows in our efforts to expose, contain and defeat this network of terror. I have directed the review of our national security architecture to lay greater emphasis on intelligence and citizens’ participation in security surveillance.”
An explosion went off at the United Nations (UN) House in Abuja penultimate Friday, killing at least 23 people and injuring scores of others.
In June, another blast rocked the Police Headquarters also in Abuja.
There was controversty over the casualty figure, but a traffic warden was officially confirmed dead in that attack.
The Boko Haram (‘Western education is sin’) sect claimed responsibility for both explosions.
The State Security Service (SSS) early in the week arrested and detained two suspects - Babagana Ismail (aka Abu Summaya) and Babagana Mali (aka Bulama) - in connection with the UN building bombing.
Another suspect, Mamman Nur, an al-Qaeda- trained Boko Haram member, alleged to be the brain behind the explosion, has been declared wanted.
On Thursday, the fundamentalist group named 27-year-old Mohammed Abdul as the suicide bomber who drove the explosive-laden Honda Accord Car that rammed into the UN House.
Before extending its operation to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Boko Haram had been engaged in series of killings and attacks in Borno, Bauchi and some other northern states.
Jonathan said yesterday that government was pleased “that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has delivered in its promise to introduce a credible driver’s licence that meets international standard.”
He described the launch of the new enhanced driver’s licence and number plates by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) as a “positive development which demonstrates the FRSC’s commitment to the government’s transformation agenda and testimony that we can get it right in this country.”
He added: “Restoring the integrity of the driver’s licence allies fully with the transformation agenda of this government. It is at the heart of the efforts to alter a culture of recklessness, impunity and lack of consideration for other road users and to transform these negative traits to a positive affirmation of a rule driven society.”
According to him, the international dimension of driver’s licences and number plates imposes on Nigeria as a country the need to ensure that they are not used as instruments of terrorism.
He spoke further: “I want to reassure Nigerians and members of the international community that terror groups would be defeated in our land. This administration will spare no effort or resource in containing these latest threats to the unity and stability of our nation.
“Terrorism has no conscience, it spares no one. We must all stand together against terror and its destructive manifestations. We are in touch with all international agencies involved in the global war against terror. We work in tandem with all organisations and partners towards a timely and eventual containment and defeat of terror and their sponsors in our land.”
The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka, said the new drivers licence and number plates would play three significant roles in the polity, namely, enhanced enforcements of road traffic rules, track drivers’ behavioural patterns, and help in national security.
He also revealed that all driver’s licences and number plate now in use have up till August 31, 2012 to change to the new ones.
He said the new driver’s licence now costs 6,000, while the vehicle number plates would cost N15, 000 for private car owners.
Chidoka said: “Today (yesterday) is the beginning of our quest to restore the integrity of the driver’s licence. It is a culmination of the work we have done with the support of the media very strongly to re-educate Nigerians and to bring back the integrity of the driver’s licence. One of the critical ingredients of this is that we are going to have a credible data base of drivers and vehicles in Nigeria.
“One of the significant changes to the plate number system in Nigeria today is that plate numbers are now attached to individuals and not to vehicles. That is to say, if you sell your vehicle, you are under obligation to return those plate numbers and make sure that the new person gets a fresh registration to ensure that we have a credible data base of who owns what vehicle at every time and we are linking the vehicle plate numbers to the drivers licence.
“So, we will have a credible data base of easily calling up that. Now that would help us in three critical things. The new drivers licence and plate numbers would help us first in enforcement, develop patterns of the behaviour of the drivers, and help in area of national security.”
Dignitaries present at the launch which took place at the headquarters of the FRSC in Abuja, included the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, Minister of Information and Communications, Labaran Maku, Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, among others