More security headaches for President Buhari
• Fresh Killing In Rivers State • ‘DSS Muddling Matters For APC Govt’
• Anyaoku Rejects IPOB Mediatory Role • As Lawmaker Decries Crime In Southeast
While the nation’s troops might have made significant progress in their fight against insurgents in the northeast, rumblings in other parts of the country show the Federal Government is still behind on security.
Yesterday, at Yeghe community in Khana local council of Rivers State, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member, Barieene Court, was shot dead by gunmen.
The state, in the build up to re-run polls scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2016, has slid into an orgy of violence, which has claimed several lives.
The Minister of Transport and former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, hinted during radio and television interviews in Port Harcourt, yesterday, that President Buhari would be forced to step in and restore order, even as he blamed Governor Nyesom Wike for failure to protect life and property.
The Rivers State government, however, condemned Amaechi’s comments, describing them as baseless and lacking in evidence, adding that the killings are the result of cult clashes.
Also, the former Commonwealth Secretary General, Mr. Emeka Anyaoku, has excused himself from offer by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to represent them at mediations with visiting US officials, dampening hopes of the resolution.
IPOB had while rejecting the representation by the Ohanaeze Nd’Igbo, named Second Republic Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Anyaoku, even as the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, said he prefers to die in detention to having Ohanaeze take credit for his freedom.
Anyaoku’s refusal to serve as mouthpiece for IPOB, which has been pushing for secession from Nigeria, calls to mind similar rejection by President Muhammadu Buhari when Boko Haram insurgents picked him to negotiate with the Federal Government on their behalf.
Though there is nothing to suggest that failure to dialogue with the US officials would lead to further street protests by IPOB youths in the southeast and other parts of the country, the breakdown of the dialogue may raise tension.
IPOB had explained that its nominees, former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku are not sponsors or members of the group.
The group noted that the three elder statesmen are those that can meet with the US Congressmen who are in the country to speak on the ongoing persecution of its members by security agencies.
In a statement jointly signed by Emma Mmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, spokesperson for IPOB, the group said it chose Dr. Arthur Nwankwo, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Archbishop Anthony Obinna, Gen. Alex Maduebo, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, as persons capable of speaking the truth about its agitations without compromise.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, condemned the arrest of some public officials and lawmakers in the state by the Department of Security Services (DSS), saying the agency’s activities could make President Muhammadu Buhari’s government unpopular.
Fayose, who described the security organisation as an “instrument of oppression”, said it has taken on the “wrong customer”, warning that any attempt to force him out of office will spell doom for the Buhari-led administration.
The governor, who boasted that he would be a hard nut for Buhari to crack, lamented how the DSS has “usurped” the statutory roles of the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in a desperate move to get him at all costs.
Reacting to Friday’s Federal High Court judgment in Ado Ekiti, ordering the DSS to release detained lawmaker, Afolabi Akanni, Fayose urged Nigerians to challenge excesses of the security agency.
The Finance Commissioner, Toyin Ojo, was also arrested and interrogated. He has since been released.
The governor criticised Buhari for allegedly aiding the Lawal Daura-led DSS in acts beyond its constitutional powers, saying no amount of intimidation and harassment would dissuade him from speaking on national policies.
He said: “Beyond this judgment, I have always said the DSS are taking on more than their brief. They have become an instrument of oppression. They are now taking up the job of the Police, the EFCC and all other security agencies.
“You would recall that they were at the Akwa Ibom Government House to harass the governor. They came to Ekiti too, to do the same thing. But in Ekiti, they are taking on a wrong customer.
“Maybe, they think this will make me stop criticising the bad policies of the APC Buhari-led government. No. Let me make it very clear to them that majority would have their way; minority would have their say.
“Ours is to continue to help democracy to grow and help the average man get the dividends of democracy by keeping the government in power on its toes. Harassing me would make their government unpopular. I have said that before. And attempting to take me on would bring down their government.
“I’m entitled to my opinion. How would the DSS be investigating the finances of a state? That is taking it too far. How would the DSS detain somebody without a court order for one, two weeks?
“Anybody who is supporting this act, one day, it would be his turn. It is Ekiti’s today. I urge all Nigerians to rise up and oppose this act of oppression; this country belongs to all of us. It is time to stop this harassment.”
Decrying attacks and destruction of lives and property in the Agatu local government area of Benue State by armed Fulani herdsmen, Senator David Mark said: “I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction I have seen here in Agatu today. This is unbelievable; it is unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of destruction meted out on the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds.”
Mark who was on an assessment tour of the war-ravaged communities alongside some members of the National and state Assembly from his Benue South constituency, urged security operatives to do all that is needed to bring the perpetrators to book.
A statement signed by Mark’s media assistant, Paul Mumeh, said: “About 10 communities have been razed to rubbles while no fewer than 500 lives have been lost to the recent hostilities.”
Mark advised the people to take advantage of a proposed public hearing on the crisis to bring the matter to public domain and seek redress.
In a related development, the Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Chukwuka Utazi, has decried the rate of kidnappings, armed robbery and other security problems, which, he said, have taken a toll on the economy of the southeast.
Utazi made this known while delivering a 13-page lecture on “Nigeria and The Future of South East Economy” at the inauguration of the newly elected executive committee of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Enugu State Council, yesterday.
Utazi, who is also the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, said insecurity in the zone could drive genuine investors away, even as he noted: “Most of our people are afraid to visit home.”
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