PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, commenced what could be regarded as peace moves to states where incessant attacks between herdsmen and farmers are being recorded, with his plan to visit Yobe, Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Rivers States.
He began the moves on Monday when he visited Taraba State, where he was received at the Dambaba Suntai Airport, Jalingo, the state capital, by the state governor, Darius Ishaku.
The President, in Taraba, held a stakeholders meeting with representatives of ethnic groups and the Taraba State government, at the statehouse in Jalingo, where he noted that “there were more killings in Taraba, Benue and Zamfara than other places.”
Earlier on his arrival, after the airport formalities, the president left the airport in company with the governor and other government functionaries for Jalingo and Mambilla Plateau in the Sardauna Local Government Area for an on-the-spot assessment of areas where clashes had occurred in the state.
The president, during a meeting with traditional rulers and other stakeholders in Taraba, said he had a way of getting intelligence on happenings across the country so he should not be expected to always go out to war fields to make noise and insult the sensibility of Nigerians before it would be known that he was taking actions against killings and insecurity.
Buhari said he had chosen to visit Taraba first before visiting Benue and Zamfara states, after his trip to Ghana, to also condole with the people of those states over their losses.
“I am here (Taraba) to meet with the leadership of the state, to offer my condolences to those who lost loved ones and properties in violence.
“People, sometime, expect me to rush out to the fields, to go and make noise. But I have my ways of gathering intelligence. I get to know what is happening across the country without necessarily going to those areas.
“I will be going to Benue and Zamfara after I return from Ghana, to also condole with the people,” Buhari said.
After leaving the state today, President Buhari is also expected to take his peace mission to four other states.
The Presidency, on Monday, said in view of recent terrorists’ attacks, criminal activities and communal clashes in some states, leading to tragic loss of lives and kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls, President Buhari had immediately tasked the Armed Forces and other security agencies to compile comprehensive reports on the various incidents.
Many stakeholders have criticised the president’s failure to visit the areas, citing instead Buhari’s preference to attend other functions, including a wedding.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State described President Buhari’s visit as an “afterthought and a move to seek votes.”
Fayose said in a statement on Monday that “the president is more concerned about his re-election in 2019, and his visits to those states he abandoned during their times of trouble is to seek votes, not to sympathise with the people of the states on their losses.”
Fayose, in the statement by his special assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Mr Lere Olayinka, described President Buhari as “a selfish king who went on making merry while his people were in agony only to show up when the people had already buried their loved ones that were gruesomely murdered, gotten over their anguish and moved on with their lives.”
Governor Fayose said it was “the height of cruelty that the same President Buhari, who promised to lead from the front in the fight against Boko Haram could not visit Dapchi, Yobe State, where 110 school girls were abducted by the insurgents, elected to go on merrymaking in Kano.”
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