*As govs meet security chiefs on solution
By Lawrence Olaoye and Ese Awhotu with agency report
President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop playing irresponsible and infantile politics with the latest crisis in Jos, Plateau State, where scores of lives were lost.
On their part, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum are to meet with security chiefs to provide a holistic solution to insecurity challenges confronting the country. Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara, who is also Chairman of the Forum, made this known while briefing newsmen after their meeting which ended in the early hours of Thursday in Abuja.
President Buhari, in a statement made available to newsmen by his Spokesman, Femi Adesina, responded to the call by the opposition party that declared a seven-day mourning during which flags should be flown at half mast nationwide saying the killings during the sixteen years administration of the opposition party were not politicized.
Buhari described the PDP directive as irresponsible politics. He said: “These are dolorous times that call for deep introspection on how cheap human lives have become, and the proffering of actionable ideas on how to get out of the bind. But the PDP would rather dance on the graves of the dead, playing cheap, infantile politics.
“Even a single soul is precious, and no man should take a life, which he cannot create. But when tragic situations, as had happened in Plateau State occur, such should never be used to play crude politics. Those who are wont to do so should have change of hearts, or lose their very humanity.”
“The comatose and prostrate party is declaring seven days of mourning, during which flags in its offices would be flown at half-mast nationwide. But unknown to the party, those flags had been forcefully lowered since its 2015 loss at the polls, and may remain so for a long time to come, because Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics.
“A quick checklist of some savage and brutal killings in Nigeria during PDP rule, between 1999 and 2015, for which no national mourning was declared: November 20, 1999. Odi, in Bayelsa State, was invaded on orders of a PDP President. About 2,500 people killed. No national mourning. Between February and May, 2000, about 5,000 people were killed during riots over Shari’a law in different parts of the North. No national mourning. In 2001, hundreds of people, including the old, infirm, women and children were killed in Zaki Biam. No crocodile tears. Between
September 7 and 12, 2001, Jos, Plateau State, erupted in internecine killings. Between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. Flags were not flown at half-mast.
“In February, 2004, at least 975 people were killed in Yelwa-Shendam, Plateau State. No mourning by the then ruling PDP. November 28 and 29, 2008, Jos was in flames again, with 381 deaths. No mourning.
“In 2010, 992 people killed in Jos. Mum was the word. in 2014 alone, according to Global Terrorism Index, at least 1,229 people were killed in the Middle Belt. No mourning.
“Boko Haram killings in PDP years were over 10,000. PDP flags were still fluttering proudly in the sky.”
He continued: “Those who take pleasure in twisting statements from the Presidency may claim we are saying that many more people were killed under PDP than under President Muhammadu Buhari. It would be unconscionable to do so. The intendment of this statement is to show that wanton killings had been with us for a while. This government is working towards enduring solutions; and should be given the opportunity to do so.”
Meanwhile, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have resolved to meet with security chiefs to provide a holistic solution to insecurity challenges confronting the country.
The Newa Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara, who is also Chairman of the Forum, made this known while briefing newsmen after their meeting which ended in the early hours of Thursday in Abuja.
Yari said that the governors also condemned Sunday’s attacks in Plateau State and called for the prosecution of the perpetrators.
“The forum strongly condemned recent attacks in Plateau State and the spate of insecurity in the country.
“Members commiserated with the government and people of Plateau and other states, including victims who were caught in transit travelling to and from neighbouring states.
“Governors unanimously called for the prosecution of the perpetrators of the attacks and resolved to find a quick and common solution to the security crises.
“The forum resolved to pay a condolence visit to Plateau State to commiserate with the government and people of the state.’’
According to Yari, the governors commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo for their quick response and visits to Plateau, to sympathise with the people of the state.
He equally commended Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau for the way he handled the situation.
Yari added that the governors would continue to engage with the Federal Government, leadership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigeria Customs Service and other relevant agencies to safeguard Nigeria’s energy security.
“We will continue to engage with the Federal Government, the leadership of NNPC, Director of Department of Petroleum Resources, the NCS, and other security agencies to curb hoarding, diversion, smuggling and illegal hike in ex-depot or retail pump price, to safeguard Nigeria’s energy security,’’ he said.