*N/Delta militants demand Gumi, Mohammed’s arrest
*Threaten to blow-up oil/gas pipelines if…
*As NHRC asks police, DSS to end the menace
By Myke Uzendu, Appolos Christian and Ameh Ajewkonyilo
The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has blamed former President Ibrahim Babangida for the rising insecurity in the country.
Okechukwu said Babangida’s government planted the seed that generated the “Extreme-Poverty” class in 1986 through his Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).
In a statement on Sunday, he said that SAP gave birth to insecurity, stressing that it calls for introspection and deep reflection on how the country became the world poverty capital and how best to exit fast.
He said: “Yes we of the APC pledged to fix security in our dear country in every particular matter. That’s our pledge, and to be honest, we are deploying billions of naira and every material and human resources to contain it.
“However, we are confronted with extreme poverty planted in 1986 by the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).
“The day SAP was born was the day the gross economic inequality and insecurity in Nigeria was born. It has badly mutated since 1986.
“To be exact, no matter how much trillions of naira we spend on military hardware, or how many times we change security chiefs, with extreme poverty security will remain a mirage”.
Okechukwu said the primary solution is to return to mixed economy model clearly stated in section 16(2)(c) of the constitution which supports economic system operated in the hands of few individuals or of a group, thus creating “an artificial economic model where there is an ocean of poor people and island of rich people”.
- N/Delta militants demand Gumi, Mohammed’s arrest
A coalition of Niger-Delta militants threatened to blow-up oil and gas facilities in the country if Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi and the Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Bala Mohammed are not immediately arrested.
They said they would commence the destruction of the nation’s oil facilities if federal government fails to arrest Gumi and Gov. Mohammed within seven days.
Relating Gumi and Mohammed’s recent engagements and utterances in relation to banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen attacks ravaging the country, they called for their immediate arrest.
They did not say how section 308 (the Immunity Clause) would be circumvented in effecting the arrest of a sitting governor.
The Militants threatened to attack all oil and gas pipelines destined for the northern part of the country if the recent threat to stop food supplies from the north to the southern part of the country by foodstuff sellers from the north is not withdrawn within 30 days.
In a joint statement by their leaders: Gen. John Duke, Gen. Ekpo Ekpo, Gen. Osarolor Nedam, Maj-Gen. Henry Okon Etete, Maj-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw, Maj-Gen. Ibizabo Horstall, Maj-Gen. Duke Emmanson, Maj-Gen. Inibeghe Adams, Maj-Gen. Abiye Tariah, Maj-Gen. Joshua Ebere, Maj-Gen. Jeremiah Anthony, Maj. Francis Okoroafor, and Col. Nelson Okochi, they accused Gumi and Mohammed of allegedly “financing terrorists”, but could not provide concrete evidence.
The Coalition also condemned all forms of negotiation with bandits, gun-carrying herdsmen, kidnappers and Hoko Haram leaders terrorizing innocent citizens across the country, insisting such amount to serious act of criminality.
They also frowned at the recent outbursts by prominent figures, calling on northerners to be well-armed with guns to defend themselves.
“The Coalition considers it very erroneous to compare bandits, Boko Haram members and herdsmen who are not pursuing any just cause than to kill, maim and destroy lives and properties in the country, with Niger-Delta militants who have over the years, been subjected to suffering, discrimination and deprivation in their own land, while their resources are exploited and used for the development of other regions in the country.
“It is therefore out of place to seek amnesty for killers and abductors of innocent school children and citizens simply because some militants in the Niger-Delta had been given some form of amnesty.
“For Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi to accept in the first place to negotiate with ‘terrorists’ who are enemies of the Nigerian state, and also recommend that government should grant the criminals amnesty for no just or reasonable cause, means that he is an integral part of the group.
“It is quite appalling to learn that Sheikh Gumi was even very furious with journalists for reporting the nefarious activities of these bandits and even went on to brand journalists ‘criminals’ for stressing on the criminality of the bandits.
“After carefully watching this ‘naked dance’ displayed by the likes of Sheikh Gumi, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, Bauchi ex-Governor Isa Yuguda, and some other northern elites, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators is compelled to believe that the northerners are using the kidnappings of innocent citizens to make money.
“It is very clear that the northerners are using the federal government which is led by a northerner to rape the country’s commonwealth which belongs to all citizens of the country.
“Sheikh Gumi’s latest actions and utterances already suggest and indict him first as the grand patron and major financier of banditry in Nigeria.
“Recall that in October 2012, following the Chibok girls kidnapping, the current President Muhammadu Buhari, was named by the Boko Haram leadership as one of their mediators with the Jonathan government, but he (Buhari) promptly refused, citing the reason that he did not know the Boko Haram group, and what they were fighting for.
“This is exactly what Sheikh Gumi would have done if he was contacted to mediate for the bandits, and not to speak for and support them.
“We are aware that the northerners have begun the stoppage of movement of food items to the southern part of the country.
“We hereby give the northerners a 30-day ultimatum from today to withdraw that threat, otherwise we shall retaliate by cutting off all the oil pipelines supplying oil and gas to the entire northern Nigeria, and block all tankers and other vehicles from loading products to the north.
“Additionally, we shall make sure that oil licenses belonging to the northerners are forcefully revoked after the expiration of this ultimatum”.
*Police trying to frustrate our work – NHRC #EndSARS panel
Also, the Independent Investigative Panel on SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police Force sitting at the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja, has warned the Police counsel to stop frustrating the panel’s efforts.
Mr. John Aikpopko Martins, said while addressing counsel to respondents (Malik D. Taiwo Esq) over the seemingly lackluster attitude displayed by counsel to the police before the panel.
Expressing his displeasure, the 1st Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), who is also the NBA representative on the panel, also accused the police of frustrating them.
He decried how police lawyers could so brazenly smear professional ethics are expected of them.
The panelists expressed concern in respect of a case of enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, prolonged unlawful detention and access to justice brought by Alhaji Salihu Suleiman against one Supol Christopher of defunct SARS-FCT and three others.
*Zamfara: NHRC boss charges police, DSS to end menace
Similarly, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed deep concern over rising kidnappings, especially of boarding school students in northern parts of the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Barr. Tony Ojukwu, at the weekend while reacting to the recent reports of abduction of over 300 students at Government Girls Science Secondary School in Janjebe, Zamfara state, said the incident is another wake up call for the law enforcement agencies to up their game in protecting lives and property.
“The level of insecurity in Nigeria is getting worse by the day and as such poses additional challenge to all the security agencies, particularly the Police, Department of State Service (DSS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to do the needful to restore citizens’ confidence in government to protect them,” Ojukwu said.
Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, in a statement called on the Zamfara State Government to reconsider its concept of ‘repentant bandits’ so that the state government does not elevate criminality to a level where bandits would be dictating conditions for negotiations with government.