In the wake of Nigeria's Islamic extremist attacks that killed more then 250 people this month, President Goodluck Jonathan replaced the police chief and fired his six deputies, according to Reuters.
Officials said Police Chief Hafiz Ringim’s sudden dismissal on Wednesday was “a first step towards the comprehensive reorganization and repositioning of the Nigeria police force to make it more effective and capable of meeting emerging internal security challenges," reports Agence France Presse.
Mohammed D. Abubakar, formerly the assistant inspector general, was appointed to be the new chief. Ringim has been criticized for failing to stop attacks by Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group linked to Al Qaeda which has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day church bombings that killed dozens.
Last week, Kabiru Sokoto, the main suspect in the Christmas Day bombings, escaped police custody. This escape adds weight to Jonathan's charges that Boko Haram has allies within the government. The regional police commissioner is currently under investigation for negligence, according to the Nigerian Tribune.
United States State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urged the Nigerian people to "stand united" against the violence, which includes a synchronized bombing campaign last week in the northern city of Kano that killed 185 citizens and police officers. She said the US "remains strongly committed to working with Nigerian officials to find a way to bring peace to the north through both security and political responses," according to the AFP.
Nigerian activist and former presidential candidate Dr. Tunji Braithwaite warned against foreign assistance, saying the international community wants to control Nigeria’s oil, not help the people, according to the Nigerian Tribune.
"The issue of Boko Haram is about corruption that has eaten deep into our system of governance. Corruption has become a king in Nigeria and it has to be dethroned. We know that the international community has offered to work with Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram menace, but we take this a pinch of salt … We don’t need international interference at this moment, because it is only a Greek gift and it will only exacerbate our problem.”
Early this week, Nigeria's Joint Miltary Task Force arrested 158 suspected members of Boko Haram. After finding car bombs and hundreds of other explosives around the site of Friday’s Kano attack, explosions were heard Tuesday, but no new attacks were reported.