Governors of the 36 states of the federation have implored President Muhammadu Buhari to fish out and prosecute the perpetrators of the recent killings on the Plateau. LEADERSHIP Friday reports that there had been public outcry over the latest massacre in which suspected killer herdsmen reportedly killed over 100 people in Plateau State. Rising from a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja in the early hours of yesterday, the governors also resolved to hold a security meeting with the Service Chiefs. While condemning the attacks, they commiserated with the government and people of Plateau State, just as resolved to pay a condolence visit to the state.
Chairman of the forum and Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who read the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting to journalists, noted that in the meeting held at the NGF Secretariat, Abuja, the governors deliberated on several issues. On the killings, Yari said, “The forum strongly condemned recent attacks in Plateau State and the spate of insecurity in the country. Members commiserated with the government and people of Plateau and other States including victims who were caught in transit travelling to and from neighbouring states. “Governors unanimously called for the prosecution of the perpetrators of the attacks and resolved to find a quick and common solution to the security crisis. The forum resolved to pay a condolence visit to Plateau State to commiserate with the government and people of the state.
“Governors noted with delight and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for their quick response and visit to Plateau State to show empathy to the people of the state. We equally commend Governor Simon Lalong for the way he handled the very sad situation. Governors resolved to hold a one-day meeting with the security chiefs to come up with a holistic solution to the country’s security situation.” The NGF chairman also disclosed that the governors also received a briefing from the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) respectively. He said the presentation from NCC revolved around the broadband deployment, which would expand the economic fortunes of the country, while that of the NNPC was on the security of the energy sector.
“The forum received presentation from the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Unar Garba Danbatta on Broadband Deployment in Nigeria. Governors acknowledged the importance if broadband deployment for both economic development and revenue generation, and pledged to work closely with the Commission and nfrastructure Companies to remove the impediments to broadband deployment including unifying right of way charges and addressing multiple regulation and multiple taxation. “Following a briefing on Energy Security and Cross-border Leakages, Effects on Remittances to the Federation Account by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr.
Maikanti Baru, represented by the Chief Executive, Downstream, NNPC, Henry Ikem Obi, and the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr.
Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan, represented by Team Lead, Terminal Operation, DPR, Idris Abdulraham, governors pledged to continue to engage with the federal government, the leadership of NNPC, DPR, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other security agencies to curb hoarding, diversion, smuggling and illegal hike in ex-depot or retail pump price to safeguard Nigeria’s energy security.
“Finally, governors reiterated their resolve to implement the PMS supply and distribution monitoring system in each state”, he said.
It’s Unacceptable, PDP Insists
But in a swift reaction, the major opposition party in the country described as reprehensible the presidency’s condemnation of its plan to declare a seven-day mourning and flying their flags at half-mast in honour of the dead and solidarity with the bereaved.
The party also said it is shocked by the statement credited to the presidency justifying its failure to stem the tide of killings and bloodletting in the country, particularly in Plateau, Zamfara, Benue, Yobe, Adamawa, Borno, Kogi, Taraba and other troubled states.
National publicity secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement he issued yesterday said, “It is disturbing that even in death, the Buhari Presidency still wants to deny these victims of callous murder the honour of being mourned.
“We are particularly appalled that instead of joining Nigerians in mourning the dead and seeking ways to stem the escalation of the bloodletting under its watch, the Buhari Presidency is engaged in morbid reference to past killings as if the lives of Nigerians have no value under President Buhari’s watch.”
The PDP stressed that as a party it will continue to identify with Nigerians at this troubled time, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations.
Noting that it will not allow itself to be “dragged into a needless mire with the Buhari Presidency, which has shown by its statement, that it has no iota of regard for the lives of Nigerians”, the PDP urged the “Buhari Presidency to confront the challenge of fulfilling the basic responsibility of governance by providing security to the lives and property of all Nigerians irrespective of their creed, tribe and political affiliations.
“Finally, the PDP assures Nigerians that we will not be deterred in speaking out against the killings and the failure of the Buhari administration to take concrete steps to stem this ugly tide,” the party added.
Shedding Crocodile Tears, Presidency Tells PDP
Meanwhile, the presidency yesterday fired back at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its reactions to the recent killings on the Plateau.
In a statement by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, the presidency regretted that the opposition party has availed itself of the opportunity created by the sad and unfortunate killings in Plateau State play irresponsible politics. The presidency was reacting to PDP’s statement issued on Wednesday in which the party announced that it was declaring seven days of mourning, during which flags in its offices would be flown at half-mast nationwide.
According to Adesina, while “these are dolorous times that call for deep introspection on how cheap human lives have become and the proffering of actionable ideas on how to get out of the bind, the PDP would rather dance on the graves of the dead, playing cheap, infantile politics”.
The presidential spokesman who described the PDP as a “comatose and prostrate party”, pointed out that PDP’s flags had been forcefully lowered since its 2015 loss at the polls, adding that itm”ay remain so for a long time to come because Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics”.
Giving a quick checklist of what he described as some savage and brutal killings in Nigeria during PDP rule, between 1999 and 2015, for which no national mourning was declared, Adesina recalled that on November 20, 1999, Odi in Bayelsa State was invaded on orders of a PDP president, with about 2,500 people killed and there was no national mourning.
He continued: “Between February and May, 2000, about 5,000 people were killed during riots over Sharia law in different parts of the North. No national mourning. In 2001, hundreds of people, including the old, infirm, women and children were killed in Zaki Biam. No crocodile tears. Between September 7-12, 2001, Jos, Plateau State, erupted in internecine killings. Between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. Flags were not flown at half-mast. In February 2004, at least 975 people were killed in Yelwa-Shendam, Plateau State. No mourning by the then ruling PDP.
“Between November 28 and 29, 2008, Jos was in flames again, with 381 deaths. No mourning. In 2010, 992 people killed in Jos. Mum was the word. In 2014 alone, according to Global Terrorism Index, at least 1,229 people were killed in the Middle Belt. No mourning. Boko Haram killings in PDP years were over 10,000. PDP flags were still fluttering proudly in the sky”.
Accordingly, Adesina stated: “Those who take pleasure in twisting statements from the Presidency may claim they are saying that many more people were killed under PDP than under President Muhammadu Buhari. It would be unconscionable to do so. “The ntendment of this statement is to show that wanton killings had been with us for a while; this government is working towards enduring solutions; and should be given the opportunity to do so. “Even a single soul is precious, and no man should take a life, which he cannot create. But when tragic situations as had happened in Plateau State occur, such should never be used to play crude politics. Those who are wont to do so should have change of hearts, or lose their very humanity”.