Tinubu; We Can Have A Nigeria Free Of Bandits
As Nigeria battles multiple security challenges, a frontline presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, has promised that he will deliver a united and banditry-free Nigeria if elected president.
This is as the Plateau State Governor, Hon. Simon Lalong has stated that his government was not overwhelmed by the recent mass killings in Kanam Local Government Area of the state in which over 100 lives were lost to attacks by the terrorists.
But the President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr Bitrus Pogu, has stated that terrorists have formed a parallel government in Nigeria, describing the country’s security situation as that of a failed state.
Speaking on Saturday at a grand rally by the youths under the aegis of Progressive Youth of South-West who declared their support for his presidential aspiration at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in Lagos, the former Lagos State governor stated that Nigerians are tired of excuses and lamentations of the past.
The youths from different states in the South-west, converged on Lagos in large numbers to drum up support for the aspiration of the national leader of the party.
Tinubu urged them to team up with him in his bid to change the story of Nigeria for the youths of today and tomorrow, which they represent.
He said: “All you need is courage, determination and perseverance, if the YouTube alone has 2.9 billion people following it, including you all standing here, then Nigeria can excel, we can do it, you must develop the can-do-attitude, you must believe that this country is yours and you want to change the story. You must change the story of potential, the story of banditry, you must change the story of tribalism.
“We as a nation can conveniently feed ourselves by being creative, visionary and committed, anybody who says we cannot, they can get out because it is voluntary. We cannot continue the lamentation of the past. We cannot continue with excuses of power failure, no nation made rapid development without electricity. Give us light and if we cannot be successful then you can abuse us, you cannot give us erratic light that is undependable and then blame us again that we are lazy.
“Nigeria, it is about time we have enough gas to fire up electricity and supply the rest of Europe and make money, long term from it. You know it. We don’t want to bore you with it, when I started we used to pick dead bodies on the streets, but today Lagos is one of the cleanest, most progressive states in the country.’’
He urged the youths to revalidate their Permanent Voter’s Cards and be ready to vote in the forthcoming 2023 general election.
In his keynote address, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who appreciated the grand support for Tinubu, noted that youths would continue to be identified as critical stakeholders, just as he enjoined all delegates to the APC primary to exercise their franchise wisely.
The South-west youth leaders at the event took their turns to speak on why they are promoting Tinubu to become the next president of Nigeria, come 2023.
Speaking, Dr Muritala Seriki, Dayo Israel, Muhammed Sulaiman, among others applauded the achievements of Tinubu in infrastructure, education, and raising the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Lagos, while he was governor of the state, saying some of them were his products having brought them to the level they had attained presently.
This was just as they described the APC national leader as a detribalised Nigeria.
We are Not Overwhelmed by Plateau Killings, Lalong Reassures
Meanwhile, Plateau State Governor, Lalong has stated that his government was not overwhelmed by the recent mass killings in the Kanam Local Government Area of the state in which over 100 lives were lost to attacks by the terrorists.
Lalong lamented that a planned military raid of the locations of the terrorists at the state borders may have been leaked to the terrorists who attacked the state a day earlier than the planned military operations.
The Plateau State governor, who was featured on ARISE NEWS Channel on Friday night, blamed the persistent attacks in the state on porous interstate borders, pointing out that the state government was not overwhelmed by the state of insecurity in the state.
“I will not say I am overwhelmed because I have been working with the security agents.”
He said one of the challenges facing the state was the long stretch of borders it has with Kaduna, Taraba, and Bauchi, saying “you may work out measures to protect your border, but some people will enter from other states, especially if the states are not doing same.”
He said that was the reason the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) was working out a synergy “so that as one state protects its borders, others do same, if not, just when you think you have done well, you will see an influx of bandits from other states.”
He added that with the heavy military bombardments in the North-west, the terrorists are now looking for hideouts, and migrating towards states in the North-central, and vowed that Plateau will not harbour them.
He said he was not only worried about Plateau State, adding that as Chairman of NGF, but he was also worried about a region devastated by the terrorists.
He added that there must be some informants that leaked the planned military operations to terrorists.
“We had started having meetings on synergy to prepare to secure our borders against the terrorists, but it was like someone leaked the information. This is because the military was planning a raid on the border areas, but before we carried out the raid, they were very fast and had attacked a day earlier.
“But some of these terrorists move like thieves – thieves won’t inform you before they come. They come when they know you’re not awake,” Lalong lamented, adding that “when our attention was on other places, they sneaked into where we had relative peace, caused havoc and ran away.”
The governor also insinuated that the terrorists may have used mining activities in the area as a cover for their sinister motives.
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“There are massive mineral deposits in the area; they may have pretended that they are there for mining activities and wreak havoc on the people.
“Incidentally, that’s where we also planned our pilot scheme on ranching; all these may have been the attraction.”
He said that at a recent meeting, he reminded the Council of State that the governors had enumerated certain challenges in addressing some of the security issues in some states that were identified as frontline states in the North.
“Mr President had directed sometimes ago that we have a meeting with the security chiefs, which we did. But shortly after that, the then Chief of Army Staff died in an accident. After his death, it took a while to come back to the issues. So, at the Council of State, I had to ask what had happened to the measures that were being put in place,” Lalong explained.
He said that as a followed-up to the issues he raised at the Council of State, President Muhammadu Buhari had called for a Security Council meeting. “This is particularly because it’s now farming season, and farmers need to feel secure to go back to their farms,” he added.
The governor who was in Kanam five days after the attacks, said: “I drove there immediately” to commiserate with the people, and to show them that the state cared much for them.
Priding himself as one that has brought a measure of peace to the state in the last two decades, Lalong said he has done much in this regard. He said that on the assumption of office, he had set up an inter-religion council, established Plateau Peace Agency, mediated between Fulani and Berom, and now mediating between the Fulani and Irigwe, all of which he said had paid off by the measure of peace that was witnessed in the state before the recent attacks. He added that it’s no longer the issue of farmers and herders crisis, but terrorist attacks.
He said that the white papers from the various commissions set up to address crises in the state revealed that injustice and unfairness were a major cause of the crisis, which he said has largely been addressed, and has nothing to do with the current attacks by terrorists.
In another development, the President of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu stated that terrorists have formed parallel government in the country and described Nigeria’s security situation as that of a failed state.
“We have a parallel government out there that seems to do what it feels like, while the constituted government seems to be incapacitated. So terrorists continue to do what they want to do and get away with it.”
Speaking with THISDAY on Saturday, Pogu said: “Confidently I can tell you that these people are not more powerful than our military, but political forces are stopping our military from doing what are supposed to do.
“This has gone beyond the acceptable level. The unfortunate thing is that this government, because of its attitude, has pushed people into hating Fulani, because everybody now thinks Fulani are a nuisance; a people that will come and kill others in their sleep for whatever reason. But we can say that it is for displacement and taking over of ancestral lands and to change democracy.
“So, this thing has to stop, because if, and when it gets to a level, the innocent Fulani who may not be part of these whole attacks will pay for it. How many Fulani are there across this country; if their attack is triggered from somewhere, it will spread like wildfire and they will be wiped out. So, this government has to change its attitude and deal with these criminals, otherwise, we are heading in that direction.”
By Segun James & Seriki Adinoyi