In view of the incessant killings by herdsmen and bandits in Pleateau, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara states, the minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the states. The minister, who hinged his call on the premise that the move will check the persistent killing of innocent people in the affected states, made the call when he spoke with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Dalung also condemned the renewed killing of people in some local government areas of Plateau recently and insisted that it has become a matter of necessity for President Muhammadu Buhari to impose state of emergency as a means of putting a stop to the killings. Faulting those blaming the federal government over the persistent crisis in Plateau State, the minister noted that the state and the local government authorities should be held responsible for the problem.“The Plateau crisis can be traced to many years of inaction by previous and current administrations in the state despite the federal government’s efforts to address the problem. “It is disheartening that Plateau State has been witnessing the killing of innocent citizens in the last four to five days and this is very annoying and disturbing to the government and inhabitants of the state. “I alerted the Federal Executive Council on September 5, on the need to take drastic and emergency measures to tackle the crisis because the local and state governments have failed in their responsibility of offering useful information to security agents despite the huge resources being spent on security.
“It has therefore become imperative for the federal government to declare state of emergency in Plateau and other troubled states across the country so as to put a stop to the killings,’’ he said.
He warned that nobody should politicise the killing of innocent Nigerians. He also noted that the federal government was doing all it could to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book. According to him, the government has already put in place, measures to check cases of insecurity, saying that Nigeria needed peace and stability for the country to progress and achieve meaningful development. “But security personnel alone cannot achieve much in addressing the problem without the support and cooperation of the state and local governments as well as the local communities “There is the need for collaboration between all the three tiers of government, the local communities and Youth Councils in order to find a lasting solution to the crisis.”
He identified lack of strong and dedicated leadership at both local and state levels as main factor responsible for the inability of the combined efforts of the security personnel to check the killings in the troubled states. He also sought for the re-reintroduction of Crises Resolution Committee at the local government level. He said the committee’s membership should be drawn from religious bodies, traditional institution, cattle breeders’ association, farmers’ organisations, women and youth organisations.
On the chances of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winning the 2019 presidential election, Dalung said the party’s presidential candidate, Buhari, had no serious challenger from the opposition parties. Contending that no Nigerian politician in recent history is as popular and admirable as President Buhari, he pointed out that the president has millions of votes already guaranteed him by his `traditional and die-hard’ supporters come February 2019. He dismissed the insinuation that President Buhari was desperate for power, saying that the president was only interested in addressing the nation’s socio-economic challenges for the general good of the country.