Friday, July 22, 2011
Boko Haram,Jonathan meets Borno elders …Says, ‘it’s premature to withdraw JTF’
Also, the ruling All Nigerian Peoples’ Party (ANPP) in Borno has said that there was no need for a state of emergency in the state, arguing that Governor Kashim Shettima was on top of the situation.
The Islamic fundamentalists had made Borno and some states in the North ungovernable with the spate of bombings and the huge loss of lives and property.
Yesterday, the president met with Borno elders at about 2p.m at ‘House 7’ of the Presidential Villa.
Addressing State House Correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said that President Jonathan held consultation with Borno Elders, North East Elders and Arewa Consultative Forum on the Boko Haram menace.
According to him, “The meeting explored different options consulted widely on what we can do together to bring about peace and security in Borno State and other affected areas. The meeting was very fruitful and indeed, this is the beginning of further dialogue to find solution to this problem.
“All hands have to be on deck-political leaders, community leaders, traditional leaders, religious leaders-so that together, we can look at ways to bring about solution. The meeting rose with the understanding that further consultation will be taking place. All the leaders are concerned about the need to bring about peace.”
When asked if there were talks to withdraw the military from the state, he replied, “There were broad-based consultation about the outcry for the withdrawal of military. But in the light of this discussion, the meeting generally agreed that it is premature to withdraw the military. What was needed was that if there are cases of individual misbehaviour by members of the Joint Task Force, the authorities will look into those cases.
“And right now, we know one or two soldiers, who were found to have done things in excess, are being questioned by the relevant authorities. What is important is that the army are playing a great role and the situation we are now, if we withdraw the army, what happens?
What is most important is to manage the military until such a time that it is clear that some of the potent threat are lowered.”Only recently, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), led by its chairman, Gen. Jeremiah Useni, and former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, at different times, met with President Jonathan.
The president has lately been under pressure from groups, such as the pan-Igbo socio-cultural body, Ohaneze, calling for a state of emergency in Borno.
Following an allegation of killing of innocent people by the elders against the military, the National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, had, while denying the allegation, insisted the army will remain in the state to protect the state against attacks by Boko Haram.
Those in attendance, at the yesterday parley, were Usman Galtimari, Senator Ali Ndume, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Ambassador Bulawa Maligubio, Senators Ma’aji Lawal, Bunu Sheriff, Muhammad Goni, Brig. Abba Kyari Ambassador Hamza Yarima, ACF Chairman, Jeremiah Useni and Ahmed Gazali.
From the government side were Vice President Namadi Sambo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of State for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Bukar Tijjani, FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, Chief of Defence Staff, Haliru Bello, NSA Azazi and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Muhammed Adoke.
But reacting to the calls for emergency in Borno, yesterday, National Chairman of ANPP, Dr, Ogbonnaya Onu, told newsmen in Abuja, that Boko Haram is a national menace that must be tackled jointly.
Besides, Onu urged those calling for emergency to remember that the new governor was just two months in office and should be commended and prayed for.
While reiterating that dialogue was the answer to the crisis and that it cannot be solved through law enforcement alone, he cautioned that the crisis should not be politicised.
According to him, the security of lives and property should remain the most basic responsibility of any good government. He told the Federal Government that the “greatest challenge facing our beloved country at this stage of her history is the security of lives and property. Never before in the history of Nigeria have Nigerians lived in the present state of insecurity that pervade our fatherland.
The Federal Government should show a more determined commitment towards addressing the security challenges facing the country. Daily, innocent lives are lost in various theatres of conflict in different parts of the country, especially in Maiduguri, Borno State, as a result of the Boko Haram crisis.
“The Federal Government should go beyond rhetorics and restore public confidence by assuring all Nigerians that it has the capacity to guarantee security of lives and property, which is really the first charge of any responsible government. It should invest more human and material resources in this regard,” Onu stated
He asked rhetorically; “Why do Nigeria Police do well in international assignments outside the country? The answer is not far-fetched. It is because during such engagements, the police are properly equipped and the personnel enjoy better welfare package”.
Also speaking on the spate of insecurity, a labour leader in Bayelsa State, Mr. Chris Adokeme, urged the Presidency to convoke a conference of all nationalities to chart the path to mutual co-existence.
In calling for the conference, Adokeme condemned the clamour by Borno elders and leaders of thought that the JTF be withdrawn from the streets of Maiduguri. He regretted that instead on contributing to the resolution of the crisis, the elders have opted to ensure that the problem continues unabated.
Adokeme, who is the immediate past chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Bayelsa State chapter, also berated the Maiduguri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for also calling for the withdrawal and prosecution of JTF soldiers.
In another development, two groups in Niger Delta, the Dream Bayelsa and Movement for the Survival of the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), also warned against introducing ethnicity and religion into the Boko Haram menace.
In a statement, signed by its President, Clarkson Amaebi, Dream Bayelsa said that recent utterances attributed to the Movement of the Niger Delta (MEND) and Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change was disturbing.He noted that the groups have introduced ethnic colouration and even threatened to disrupt oil production in the Niger Delta over the Boko Haram crisis, stressing that the threats by the group was a cheap blackmail as the era of arm-twisting the Federal Government in the guise of fighting for the emancipation of the people had gone.
Also, the co-ordinator of MOSEIND, Winston Amain, pleaded with Niger Delta youths to give the Federal Government the necessary support. Nonetheless, 45 students of Bayelsa State origin, have been evacuated from the University of Maiduguri.
Governor Timipre Sylva had directed his Senior Special Assistant on Student Affairs, Mike Olomu, to immediately evacuate the students following the closure of the institution.
Speaking on their experience in Maiduguri, President, National Union of Bayelsa State Students, UNIMAID chapter, Mr. Indutimi Akpoukpou, said the sounds of guns and bombs still haunt them at night.
According to him, before the closure of the institution, the entire students’ community passed through nightmares with sounds of bombs and gunfire provoking dangerous stampede
Posted by Nigeria News at 12:42 AM