January 2012 is a period that Nigerians will always remember as one of the most fearful periods in Nigeria’s recent history. On the 5th and 6th of January, notorious Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, perpetrated the Kano Bombings of 2012.
As of Saturday, January 28th, 2012, exactly nine (9) years ago today, the attacks had claimed over 185 lives, making the Kano Bombings of 2012 the deadliest attack claimed by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.
Roughly two weeks after the first set of attacks, which was on places of business and other public centers and tourists’ locations, another attack occurred, this time targeting police stations and government offices.
ORIGINS OF THE KANO BOMBINGS
Boko Haram, a militant group based in Borno State which seeks to institute sharia law on all of Nigeria, first became widely known for the orchestration and execution of the 2009 clash with security forces resulting in the death of its then leade,r Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf.
Since then. it has either claimed or been blamed for numerous attacks on Nigerian government and civilian targets. Most attacks have been the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria, though the group’s name has been called out in other bombings such as the attacks against the United Nations HQ and the main police building in the capital city of Abuja.
Prequel to the January 2012 attacks, Boko Haram had on 25 December 2011, bombed a church in Abuja and attacked other Christian targets in northern Nigeria, after supposedly giving all Christians 3 days to leave Yobe and Borno states.
This led to the President of Nigeria at the time, Goodluck Jonathan, declaring a state of emergency in several towns of those two states.
On January 5th, 2012, men armed with automatic weapons stormed a town hall in the city of Mubi in Adamawa State where people had gathered to mourn 3 Christians shot on the previous evening.
At least 18 people were confirmed killed by a Nigerian Red Cross official, and a separate ambush of Christians leaving a church service in the state capital of Yola on January 6th, 2012, left at least eight people dead. Most of the victims were Igbo people.
A spokesman for Boko Haram who identified himself as Abu Qaqa claimed responsibility for these two incidents and the shooting during a church service in Gombi that killed six people on January 6th.
A Christian couple were also gunned down in Maiduguri, considered to be the stronghold of the radical group. The Police in Yobe State later stated in a press release that they were engaged in street battles with members of Boko Haram.
Hundreds of Christians started fleeing northern cities in the aftermath of the bombings and church officials urged people not to take part in revenge attacks.
On January 20th, 2012, about two weeks after the initial attacks,in Kano, a group of gunmen in police uniforms entered five police buildings and freed all of the inmates who had been captured after the previous attacks.
They then went ahead to bomb the buildings (hence its being referred to as the Kano Bombings) , as well as two immigration offices and the local office of the State Security Service in Kano. They later drove around the city in cars and motorcycles, shooting pedestrians and battling with police.
One of the victims of these attacks (who died), was television reporter Enenche Akogwu, who was shot while covering the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
Boko Haram proceeded to leave letters written in Hausa language at the site of the attacks, announcing that the Kano bombings were part of a protest of the continued detention of Boko Haram members. They also directly contacted the press to claim responsibility for the attacks.
State officials in the city responded to these letters by setting a curfew and by initiating armed patrols of major streets, though sporadic gunfire was later heard the following day.
The Kano State government ordered all hospitals in the area to treat victims free of charge. The attacks were condemned by the Chairman of the African Union at the time, Jean Ping, stating that the Union “rejects terrorism in all its forms;” and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks as well.
ALLEGED INVESTIGATION OF THE ATTACKS
Shortly after the incident of the January shootings and bombings which led to the deaths of many, and injusry of even many more, the Nigerian Police sais in a statement that investigations had commenced as a measure to bring the members of Boko Haram involved in these incidents, to book.
Olushola Amore, who spoke on behalf of the Police at the time, said:
“The police have commenced investigation and therefore use this medium to call for calm among the residents of Kano as police are doing their best to bring the situation under control,” .
He said police were “appealing to members of the public to come forward with information on the identity and location of these hoodlums. Information given will be treated with utmost confidentiality”.
The country’s police chief at the time, Hafiz Ringim, called for an investigation into the blasts, which he described as “well-co-ordinated attacks”.
Ringim himself, was at the time, under investigation after a suspect charged with carrying out Christmas Day bombings on churches, escaped from police custody earlier that week.
The January 2012 Boko Haram attacks left over 185 people dead, more than 150 of whom were innocent civilians going about their lives, as well as 32 members of the Nigeria Police, including three (3) Secret Police members.
We hope and pray that the dead continue to rest on, and that soon enough, there will be a day of reckoning for all the stakeholders in the existence and operations of the Boko Haram. We will not forget January 2012.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.