By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Chibuzo Ukaibe and Tunde Oguntola |
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday fired back at Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, accusing him of politicising killings in the country.
Buhari was reacting to Ortom’s allegation that he (the president) was working for the Fulani ethnic stock to take over the country.
The governor had on Tuesday alleged that the president’s body language is what is being played out. “The body language, the action and inaction of Mr President shows that he is only the President of Fulani people; I have known this,” Ortom stated.
But in a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu the president said he was disappointed and sad to listen to Ortom making a litany of accusations against his person and his government following the recent attacks in Benue State.
He said no responsible government would take pleasure in the killing of military personnel and innocent citizens taking refuge in Internally Displaced People’s camp.
Shehu said, “President Buhari is deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence happening not only in Benue State but also in other parts of the country and expects that the law enforcement agencies will go to every possible extent to catch the perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to justice.
“The lives of fellow citizens should not be desecrated by deploying them in political diatribe which unfortunately appeared to be the intent of the string of emotional attacks and blame laid at the doors of the President for those killings by Governor Ortom. President Buhari took an oath to defend the life and property of every citizen, a duty he takes seriously and is committed to ensuring.
“Those citizens regardless of their affiliations, who either incite, sponsor or are proven to be abettors of these atrocities will face the law squarely and be answerable for their crimes against our fellow citizens and nation”.
Buhari recalled that he had repeatedly stressed that the strength of Nigeria as a country lies in its diversity in faith, culture, and traditions.
Accordingly, he said, “Attempts to sharpen the divide between northern and southern Nigeria, between Muslims and Christians, and between communities that have coexisted for centuries should be frowned upon and resisted. As Nigerians, we accuse colonial rulers of the policy of divide and rule.
“Today, it is our own leaders who put region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group and community against community”.
He pointed out that the future of Benue State and that of the entire country lies in harmony and the respect for law, order, and the constitution, adding that it is the only way to achieve progress and development.
She continued: “While the President will continue to keep security, police and the armed forces on their toes to be on top of their act in troubled parts of the country, the situation in the states will greatly be helped by everyone working together because that is the foundation on which progress and prosperity can be achieved.
“Benue under the Ortom administration ought to cooperate with the Federal Government in the implementation of a number of national strategies programs in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress and development.
“This can still get done when the interest of the people is placed above all other interests. A government voted into office by the people, should treat the people as its masters and not as its servants”.
Declare State Of Emergency – PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday from an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting with a call on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency following the growing spate of insecurity in the country.
NEC, which is the second largest organ of the party, also asked the president to summon a national conference on security to galvanize ideas and options to tackle insecurity.
National publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who read the communiqué after the meeting, said NEC lamented the heightened insecurity pervading all parts of the nation due to “the misrule of President Buhari and All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as their failure to decisively tackle the menace of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, bloodletting and acts of violence in our country.”
He added that NEC told President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a national state of emergency on security.
“NEC also urged President Buhari to without delay convoke a national conference on security so as to galvanize ideas and options to tackle insecurity in our country.
“NEC further commended the efforts of governors, senators, House of Representatives members and other officials elected on the platform of the PDP in forcefully seeking solutions to the spate of insecurity in our country,” he stated.
Ologbondiyan also said NEC appointed Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki as chairman of the party’s e-registration committee, while his Adamawa State counterpart, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, was appointed deputy chairman.
He also said the NEC unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, as well as the member of the National Working Committee (NWC).
Speaking earlier, the national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, said all the ‘noise’ for 2023 will amount to naught if the security challenges are not drastically addressed.
“For us as opposition, any sacrifice to stop the endless bloodletting of innocent citizens should be activated including but not limited to immediate convocation of the National Conference on security for comprehensive and all-embracing deliberations on the future of this country.
“Your Excellencies, leaders of our party, I therefore invite NEC to note on this very critical matter with a view to offering the necessary advice to the government at all levels for a prompt solution.
“This has become necessary as nothing, not even 2023, is realistic if security issues are not adequately addressed,” he said.
Respite came the way of the PDP national chairman, as the NEC of the party passed a vote of confidence on his leadership.
State Of Emergency Won’t End Insecurity – Masari
But Katsina State governor, Aminu Masari, yesterday said the declaration of a state of emergency won’t solve the insecurity crisis in the country.
The House of Representatives had on Tuesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency in the security sector to effectively tackle the raging and ravaging insecurity in the country.
Masari, who spoke to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with the chief of staff to the president, Ibrahim Gambari, at the presidential villa also appealed to Nigerians to stop politicizing security issues.
According to him, the military are already overstretched, hence declaration a state of emergency will be stretching them the more.
He stated: “It cannot because how can state of emergency solve the problem? You have a situation where the military is in all the states of the federation, then you ask yourself, how many do we have? Are we not overstretching them?
“So the reality is the responsibility of securing this country is ours, all of us. We have a role to play and we must play it for the sake of the country and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, not for the sake of the people in office.
“I think we have to understand that whatever we do to restore security today, we are not doing it for one particular person or group of persons, but we are doing it for all of us, for the country and in fact, for Africa. A stable Nigeria means a stable Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I think we better be serious about this issue of security. If you say set up a state of emergency, what do you do? We are having the same people, the same security agencies, the same capacities, and the same resources. So what are we talking about?
“We have a problem that everybody has a role to play, we better play it. Politics should be over, the security situation of this country is beyond partisan politics; it is a national concern for all of us, every responsible person in this country.
Resign Now, Mbaka Tells Buhari
Catholic Priest and spiritual director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Rev Father Ejike Mbaka, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over his inability to contain the rising insecurity in the country.
Specifically, the cleric asked the federal legislature to impeach Buhari if he refuses to resign on the ground that he has failed Nigerians woefully.
Mbaka, an ardent supporter of the president who pushed relentlessly for his emergence with series of prophesies against former President Goodluck Jonathan, had predicted that Buhari would win the 2015 presidential poll.
But addressing his congregation during a sermon at Adoration Ministry in Enugu yesterday, the cleric wondered why Buhari would maintain grave silence in the face of incessant killings in the country.
“God is angry with our leaders. From Buhari to the last, God’s anger is upon you. Now God has asked me to withdraw and prophesy against you. Why would Nigerian leaders, from the president down, be melting out evil, satanism on Nigerians in the name of leadership?” Mbaka queried.
He said if it was a civilized country, President Buhari would have resigned by now.
He stated: “Let me tell you; if it is in a civilized country, by now, President Buhari would have resigned with what is happening.
“Nigerians are crying because there’s no security in the country, the House of Representatives should impeach the President if he doesn’t want to resign.”
Warning those who may be tempted to attack him to desist or face God’s wrath, Mbaka said if the lawmakers fail to impeach the president, something worse than what they can never imagine “will happen to the members of the Senate and House of Representatives.”
On Buhari’s frequent foreign medical trips, he said, “Listen, I repeat it again; is it not shameful that a president of a country will be sick and there is no hospital in the whole country to treat him and he will fly out?
“If other Nigerians are sick, will they fly away? Do you have the money?”
He said the nation cannot continue the way it is, saying “enough has to be enough. There is time for everything.”
He also prayed to God to change the heart of the leaders, wondering how someone can become a billionaire with the commonwealth of the people.
Mbaka condemned the activities of herdsmen who have been destroying farmlands of people without any repercussion and called on them to retreat.
He asked church leaders to come together and pray for God’s intervention on the land, insisting that they would not be spared should the present violence and killings continue in the land.
He urged church leaders to understand him as a messenger of God and not begin to attack him.
He warned that the danger was going to affect the church.
“I pray that the church leadership will understand me as a messenger of God and not begin to attack me because the danger is going to affect the church.”