•Blaming politicians, others unfair —ABC Nwosu
•Buhari not speaking the truth —Dan-Musa
•Govt has not shown seriousness — Tanko Yakassai
•Killings sponsored, Army Chief insists
By Henry Umoru, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Joseph Erunke, Johnbosco Agbakwuru and Omezia Ajayi
Claims by the presidency that politicians were culpable in the recent wave of killings in the country have been rebuffed by political actors and many Nigerians who have dared the administration to name politicians involved in the killings.
Politicians drawn from various parties were joined by lawyers to denounce the claim as diversionary and admission of failure on the part of the administration.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, following last weekend killings in Plateau State, accused the political class of taking opportunity of the differences between farmers and herders to bring the administration to its knees.
The President’s claim was followed by a statement on Thursday by the presidency in which it implied that the killings that occurred during the 16- year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP were more than what is being experienced.
There was, however, an exception to the trend of condemnation from the Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani who said the administration may have had its facts before making the assertions.
Among those who reacted were a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Mike Ozekhome; former ministers including, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, members of the National Assembly, and other political actors.
I consider President’s statement as unfortunate —Ahamba
Also responding, President Buhari’s one time lawyer, Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, described the assertion as unfortunate.
He said: “It is very unfortunate. Being a very major associate of the President for more than eight years, I consider that statement most unfortunate.
“The President is saying it is by politicians while the Chairman of Miyettti Allah is saying it is a reprisal for cattle rustling, not even cattle killing. I am very disappointed with that statement.
“I have said that some people are engaged in territorial cleansing. This is my personal belief and I may be wrong. From my own objective appraisal, some people are after territory.
“When I made a statement in 2009 that Boko Haram was after territories not after Christians or Muslims, nobody believed me. I have the same feeling. How can you say that people are killed because of cattle rustling and you go and kill babies? Are the babies also rustling cattle? Even if they had killed cattle, where are the dead animals?
“It is unfortunate indeed. Not so long Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State unfortunately made a statement a few months ago that the killings that happened in Benue State were a result of the Anti-Open Grazing law. Did he make such law in his state to have warranted the killings?
“People should be careful when they speak, they should be circumspect about what they say.”
Presidency lost in executive propaganda – Ozekhome
Reacting to the assertion, Ozekhome told Saturday Vanguard:
“The presidency is lost in the labyrinth and maze of executive anemia. They are lost on how to solve the menace. First, the president told a bewildered nation that the herdsmen were insurgents trained in Libya under Muamar Ghadaffi, a man who was killed over seven years ago!
“Now, it is politicians! We have a proverb that the bent head blames the pad with which it carries luggage. This government is short on ideas and long on propaganda. Nigerians are being killed by armed herdsmen, bandits, tacitly condoned and tolerated by government of the day.
“As the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, the President needs to rise to the occasion and save Nigerians from this daily orgy of bloodbath which has turned the Nigerian geographical space into a killing field.
It’s an admission of failure -Rep Golu Timothy, PDP, Plateau
Golu in his reaction asserted that: “It is a big lie that politicians are sponsoring the killings and a demonstration of lack of capacity on their part because they are supposed to police the country for us as it’s the responsibility of the President to provide security.
“We’ve begged the President to change the Service Chiefs he appointed since assumption of office but he refused.
“I am seriously advocating for a national security summit because there are variations from state to state. What happened in Zamfara, Taraba, Benue and other places in the country varies.
Senator Kabiru Marafa, in his reaction to the development, said: “ Presidency should name them.”
Also speaking, former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi urged President Buhari to end the blame game and bite hard.
He said: “Our government must call its security agencies to order. It does not matter who is involved, government has a responsibility to call the people to order. We also have a responsibility as a people to make sure that there is a change in the security situation.
“The President should bite. I think that the President should bite and bite hard. We cannot continue like this. My position is that it is not sufficient for Buhari to be clean, it is important for him to bite. By that I mean that he must clean his house.”
A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, said:”A bad farmer blames his tools. This government from the first day has been on blame game and will keep blaming people until May 2019 when it will leave office.
“If they were sponsored by politicians, the politicians are conspirators and it is criminal. Why won’t the government prosecute them? The claim by the Presidency is irresponsible and irresponsive to the plight of Nigerians.”
Saying that politicians are responsible is unkind to victims – Prof. ABC Nwosu,
A former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu, said: “What is happening now is a very serious thing and it requires Nigerians to really look at it with the seriousness that it deserves.
First, no politician would gain anything from the deaths of poor rural farmers, who elected us to improve their living. I don’t accept that it has anything to do with politicians. It is failure of the Nigerian security system.
“The Nigerian security system should rise to the occasion and Mr. President should deal with the matter decisively.
“Two; the post conflict consideration should be that we should now look at the very pillars on which this country stands and we expect that matters like the devolution of power, state police and restructuring which will end all these security and developmental problems will be addressed also decisively.
“All those who think that restructuring is not in the national interest should please look at what is happening to our country and have a rethink.
“Nigerians love themselves but when one section or one group is suffering and another group is inflicting the suffering or refusing to look at the issues that will end the suffering, that is what makes it look as if we don’t love ourselves.
“We should see this as an opportunity also to examine the very pillars on which this country stands: citizenship, equality of all under the law, enforcement of law and order among others. I think these are the challenges before us now. But to say that politicians are responsible is not helpful at all and it is unkind to those who have died.”
The Presidency may have its facts -Sani
On his part, Secretary-General of Arewa Consultative Forum ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, said the presidency might have some facts at its disposal.
He said: “The presidency may have its facts that some of our politicians are behind the dastardly killings. But I do not have such facts. If the allegations by the presidency are true, it would be very unfortunate because politics is for public spirited people, who have passion for protection of the people.
“I, therefore, do not want to believe the presidency that some of our politicians can be that callous, since such behaviour on the part of the politicians cannot bring peace that is needed for the development of the country.”
Buhari not speaking the truth—Dan-Musa
A 2019 Presidential aspirant on the platform of Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, Alhaji Ibrahim Eyitayo Dan-Musa, in his reaction said: “President Buhari was not speaking the truth by blaming politicians for what looked like ethnic cleansing and religious hatred going on in Nigeria.
“We are always against each other, why can’t we live in peace? I am a Northern Moslem like President Buhari but l don’t appreciate his aloofness regarding the insecurity in the country especially the wanton killings.
“In May 2019, God will give Nigeria a President who can be a father of the nation. Nigeria will be led out from poverty, killings, religious hatred, and unemployment, among others.”
Also reacting, Deputy Publicity Secretary of Social Democratic Party, SDP, Alhaji Alfa Mohammed, said: “The President is in control of security of the country not the politicians he is accusing.
The nation’s armed forces, the police, Department of State Services, DSS and other security agencies are under his control. With all these, how many politicians have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted over complicity? If he doesn’t know his work as President, let him resign.
“The allegation by the president that politicians are behind the crises is not a surprise to anyone. This accusation coming few weeks after he equally accused opposition politicians of stealing money from treasury during the previous administration, and keeping same to fight him at the polls in 2019, is to say the least unfortunate.”
“Even the claim by the president earlier that he was afraid of 2019 given the amount of money allegedly being in possession of opposition politicians who served in previous admission is a defeatist tendency and ranting.”
“Same for the APC Governors who refused to utilize the Paris fund refund and other palliatives that were released for them over the years to clear backlogs of workers’ salaries. Our advice is for Mr. President to ensure peaceful transition as canvassed by the US President, Donald Trump.