A civil society group, the Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism in Nigeria (CATE) has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar against playing politics with fallen national heroes.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, the opposition appears hell bent on dragging the ruling party to the mud – despite a recent pre-dusk raid on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State.
The group made this known in a press statement signed by its National Coordinator, Gabriel Onoja.
According to CATE, the PDP is trying too hard to undermine the remarkable progress of the Nigerian military under the current dispensation which has helped to push Boko Haram to fringes of the Lake Chad only .
“A tragic attack on the military outpost in Metele village, Guzamala local government area of Borno state has become the latest incident that these politicians have latched upon to ply their dangerous ware of objectifying the nation’s fallen heroes that have sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of other citizens.
CATE expresses its condolences to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Military and the families and loved ones of the departed soldiers but is of the view that their memory should not be desecrated by those turning their sacrifices into campaign barbs.
“We specifically refer to the statements issued by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. They both only stopped short of mocking the fallen soldiers by the utterances and misrepresentation of facts contained in their responses to the attack and the resulting deaths.
“The PDP in its reaction sought to drag the military into partisan politics as it relied on insinuations and speculations to conclude that the presence of the Service Chiefs at an event in Abuja is itself enough to have allowed Boko Haram terrorists overrun the outpost.
“On his part, the PDP candidate is calling for an investigation of what happened at the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, while completely feigning ignorance of the role he and his party, the PDP played in ruining the military before the present government commenced the efforts of rebuilding it to its current strength.
‘It is well known in the land that they created these problems, which the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is decisively dealing with. Had Atiku as a Vice President for eight year and the PDP as a ruling party for 16 years done the needful and developed the country in the period they were in the saddle, Nigeria would have been a better place by now. The grinding poverty in the land, to which they were the precursor, remains the single largest factor making it possible for Boko Haram to continue having a pool of dejected people to recruit from.
“It is the PDP that created the monster of Boko Haram and at the same time failed in those sixteen years to equip the military, which it now expected to be appropriately armed in a matter of three months. The same party and those that today masquerade as concerned saints in its ranks were also responsible for corrupting the military to an extent where other nations and international partners distanced themselves from offering the needed support for combating terrorists.
“We believe Nigerians deserve better than this shallow perversion of logic that the architects of today’s problems are putting out because even where politics is concerned there should be some measure of honour that demands that the truth be told.
“It is a great disservice to the people of the northeast that their plight, the existential threats to their families, have been reduced to a matter to bickering because some unscrupulous politicians see it as something to be used to garner votes.
We at CATE see this as a new form of terrorism against these people since it removes hope and assurance of security away from them. Converting what is happening in these areas into a charade of political gladiators reinforces bad behaviour for the Boko Haram terrorists because they by default see the opposition politicians as clients who will appreciate further attacks on not just the military but also on the local population.
“Therefore, after taking time to reflect on this development, CATE warns the PDP, Atiku Campaign Organization to stop dancing on the grave of our patriotic troops. Nigerians truly sympathize with the military and will continue to stand strongly behind the Nigerian state to end the last remnants of Boko Haram Terrorism in Nigeria.”