Former governor, Senator Modu Sheriff
By Chuks Okocha and Dele Ogbodo
The Borno State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday blamed the Boko Haram insurgency in the North on former governor of the state, Senator Modu Sheriff, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
The party alleged that the mis-governance by ANPP was one of the reasons for the security challenges being faced in the state.
But, the state Commissioner for Information and Culture, Inuwa Bwala, faulted PDP’s allegation, insisting that the party should be held responsible for all the killings in the state.
This accusation by the PDP, however, came on a day the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, expressed disappointment over the delay in the prosecution of alleged terrorists arrested, despite the fact that the Anti-terrorist Bill had been signed into law in June last year.
Speaking at the National Secretariat of the PDP Wednesday, the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Baba Basharu, said: “It is on record that the crisis precipitated out of control as a result of bad governance which led to massive unemployment and abuse of youths of Borno and the subsequent showdown between the ANPP government of Ali Modu Sherrif and the Boko Haram sect.”
The party also noted that the demand by the sect that Modu Sheriff should be arrested as part of conditions for negotiation was a pointer to whatever relationship or grouse the sect has with the former governor, adding: “It is not PDP that asked Boko Haram to name Ali Modu Sherrif.”
He added: “The PDP in Borno State still maintains its stand that cause and source of the insurgency is in the way the Government of ANPP under Ali Modu Sherrif managed their relationship. The solution to the problem cannot be found without getting to the source and cause of the problem. This fact is contained in the reports of the different panels set up by the Federal Government in the past.”
He blamed Bwala for distorting the historical facts leading to the exacerbation of the Boko Haram insurgency, stressing that: “It is thus amazing that the commissioner could come out for loudly and attempt to distort history in an effort to scoring cheap political point or perhaps to satisfy the yearnings of his masters who is now being exposed as principal reason for the insecurity in this part of the country.”
The party also exonerated President Goodluck Jonathan for not coming to the state, stating that: “The President didn’t come to Borno State and I think you we not forgetting that it is not only in Borno State that something has happened.
“The President is not at fault if he didn’t go to Maiduguri. The ANPP is worried that the President has not come. But we are not worry as such. But if the President feels it is important for him to visit Borno, he is welcome.”
Speaking further, he said: “You know how busy a President can be. His own brother of the same family died yesterday (Tuesday) and he still has to fly out. You build this kind. Of scenario to pull down someone who is trying to build this country. His brother died and he has travelled out. Because he didn’t go Maiduguri and so what?”
Meanwhile, Abaribe, who was reacting to a statement allegedly made by the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, that the absence of an Anti-terrorist Law was causing delay in the prosecution of alleged terrorists that are in its custody, added that the IG was simply ignorant and had no excuse in the existence of the Anti-terrorist Law.
Making clarification on the law, which the IG alleged had been responsible for the delay, Abaribe said: “The Senate was really very surprised, I will say flagabbasted that the IG will say that there is law or there is no Anti terrorism law. Actually it is called Terrorist Prevention Act 2011. It was passed by the Senate and the House on June 1, 2011 and on June 2, 2011 it was transmitted to the President Goodluck Jonathan about the same time.”
Abaribe stressed that the President Jonathan accorded so much importance to the bill, a development which made him to sign it into law in 2011.
According to him, the bill makes elaborate provision in the Act for prevention of terrorism for prosecuting people who have committed terrorist act anywhere in the country.
On the delay in prosecution of alleged terrorists, Abaribe said: “It is either that the IG has not been properly briefed by his staff and that there is the existence of a bill that have been here for more than a year and now we are in November which is a year and five months, after its passage.
“Actually what happened was that even on top of the bill that has already been passed, Senate went ahead to pass an amendment act and the amendment was passed on October 17 this year.”
The amendment, Abaribe said, was merely to expand part of the provision in that bill, but everything that you need to fight the war against terrorism is already in that bill, adding that Senate will move swiftly to resent the bill again to the IG.
While blaming the delay on the IG’s ignorance, Abaribe said: “Let me say that we find this very difficult to believe that an arm of government will say that, they do not the law that was signed by the President more than a year ago.
“And I think that there must be something wrong that is going on there so it is not true that we don’t have anti terrorism law. We actually have an anti terrorism law which has been passed since June and signed into law by President Jonathan since 2011.
“What I have here is a copy of the President signature which was signed on the 3rd of June in 2011. We don’t think that there should be an excuse, we think that there is enough in our law to prosecute anybody who has committed a terrorist act.”