Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Saturday, expressed her frustration at the growing insecurity in the country, saying Nigeria runs the risk of a cataclysmic upheaval if the menace of banditry is not quickly contained by the security agencies.
However, in a related development President Muhammadu Buhari in far away Saudi Arabia restated his resolve to battle terrorism with full force now that the elections are over.
The president’s wife said these while distributing relief materials to over 25,000 victims of attacks by unknown gunmen in Katsina State. She challenged the security agencies to live up to expectations.
A flustered Mrs. Buhari said, “What we have seen here is beyond the strength of a state. We are not supposed to be here giving rice, milk and others items to victims of an incident during Ramadan period.
“This is a state where we got 1. 2 million votes free of charge. It is not proper for us to give highest number of votes during the general elections and allow bandits continue to kill people and keep quiet.”
While calling for a concerted effort to arrest the situation, she said, “The security agents should either assist to take action or allow the situation to continue until bandits finish killing our people.”
She called on all well-meaning Nigerians to speak up when things are going wrong in order to force action by the government, saying silence is counterproductive.
According to her, “We should not keep silent while things are happening, thinking that if something happens today it will not happen tomorrow. What happened today will happen tomorrow, it will also happen next tomorrow if we keep silent.
“It is compulsory to speak the truth; it is not proper for us to give highest number of votes during the general elections and allow bandits to continue to kill people and keep quiet. We must speak on whatever is going wrong in the country.”
Earlier, the District Head of Katsina, Alhaji Aminu Abdulmumini, thanked the president’s wife for the gesture and also called on the government to intensify efforts to address the menace of banditry.
“These people need assistance, but they want the government to address the situation to enable them continue with their normal life. Almost on daily basis, we hear sound of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets. Yet, bandits are killing people. We don’t know what is happening,” Abdulmumini said.
Speaking also at the event, the First Lady of Katsina State, Dr. Hadiza Masari, who was represented by a former Commissioner for Health, Mariatu Usman, called on the federal government and the security agencies to tackle banditry and other crimes in the state.
Masari stated, “We have over 20,000 persons displaced from their homes, which means they are not farming; their children are no longer in schools; their livelihoods are totally destroyed and their homes burnt down.
“We have people from 28 villages in Batsari Local Government assembled to collect assistance. This is very unfortunate. We call on the federal government to rise up to the challenge and put a stop to it.”
Other women who donated relief materials to the victims at the event included the wives of former governors of Nasarawa, Bayelsa, Adamawa, and Akwa Ibom states.
The items distributed included rice, milk, sugar and clothes. They were given to no fewer than 25,988 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who came from Batsari, Kurfi, Faskari, Danmusa, Jibia, Safana and Kankara local government areas.
With Elections over, I will Battle Terrorism with Full Force, says Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday in Saudi Arabia that with the general election in Nigeria over, he would now face the issue of terrorism in the country head-on. Buhari made the declaration at a bilateral meeting with Idriss Deby Itno of Chad Republic in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where both leaders attended the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit.
The President, also yesterday in Makkah, commended the OIC for its interventions in aid of development and the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and other African countries. Buhari said this while reading the collective statement of African countries at the 14th summit of the OIC in Makkah. He particularly commended the interventions by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in key sectors, such as agriculture, trade, and investment.
The President’s assertions were contained in statements by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
In a statement, Shehu said Buhari told Itno that it was time for “a new way forward that completely removes the threat of terrorism from Lake Chad sub-region.”
According to the statement, both leaders agreed to deliberate on a strategy aimed at guaranteeing sustained battle against terrorism until the menace was eradicated. It also revealed that Buhari would host leaders of Lake Basin Commission in an informal summit on the sidelines of the Democracy Day and his second term inauguration celebrations on June 12 in Abuja. Shehu said in the statement that the meeting would focus on new strategies to end the threat of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region.
The statement read, “Speaking at a bilateral meeting with President Idris Deby Itno of Chad Republic in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where both leaders are attending the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit, President Buhari said it was time for ‘a new way forward that completely removes the threat of terrorism from Lake Chad sub-region.’
“The President said since elections were over, he would have more time to pursue the threat of terrorism with ‘full force.’
“The Nigerian and Chadian leaders agreed on the need for sub-regional leaders to sit down and agree on changing the strategy ‘for a more sustained operation, which will continue until the threat is brought to a permanent end.’
“President Buhari and President Deby Itno also discussed the challenge posed by rainy season to military operations against terrorism, agreeing to urgently review strategies that will bolster onslaught against insurgents.
“The two leaders talked about how the meeting in Abuja will respond to infiltration of displaced elements of the Daesh, an acronym for ISIL’s Arabic name, al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi-Iraq wa-sh-Sham, through Libya into the Lake Chad area.”
Shehu in another statement quoted Buhari as saying while addressing the OIC summit on behalf of African countries, “The robust interventions of the various OIC institutions and principally the Islamic Development Bank Group, have been effective in such key sectors as trade and investment, agriculture, rural development and food security, science, technology and innovation, poverty alleviation as well as women and youth empowerment.”
The statement said the president acknowledged the support of OIC member-states in countering the menace of terrorism and armed criminality in West Africa, the Lake Chad area, and the Sahel countries.
He said, “In particular, Nigeria acknowledges the support of OIC Member States in countering the menace of terrorism and armed criminality in West Africa, the Lake Chad area and the Sahel Countries. We appreciate their contributions in the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency but urge them to do more.
“We appreciate their contributions in the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency but urge them to do more.”
The statement also said Buhari commended OIC institutions for supporting development projects in Nigeria. It said the president highlighted the inter-water basic transfer aimed at recharging the Lake Chad, the National Food Security Programme, the Second Niger Bridge, and roads and school rehabilitation projects, as some of the projects that had been supported by OIC institutions in Nigeria.
The statement also said Buhari spoke on some global issues, where he said African members of the OIC were pleased with the renewed efforts by the organisation to restore the national rights of the Palestinians and resolve other long-standing conflicts.
It said the president noted that many OIC member-states were grappling with serious security problems, such as terrorism, violent extremism and armed criminality. The president, according to the statement, said some of these challenges had assumed grave dimensions in recent times and required serious and coordinated approach for lasting solutions.
Buhari was quoted as stating, “In addition to the core issue of the restoration of the national rights of the Palestinians and other long-standing unresolved conflicts, we now grapple with serious security problems, represented by the destructive activities of terrorists, violent extremists and armed criminals in many of OIC Member States.
“This situation has also been compounded by a series of political crises, which continue to affect a number of our countries. In this regard, we support the actions of the OIC in seeking an early resolution to the lingering Palestinian question and the rights of the Palestinian people to an independent homeland.
“We equally subscribe to the various actions of the OIC in resolving the crises in Syria, Yemen and Libya.
“We commend OIC engagement with other international actors in addressing the various political conflicts in the OIC region and the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.”
Source: Thisday Newspaper