Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe
•Warns against politicisation of crimes
The Federal Government Tuesday dismissed the recent visit of governors coalescing under the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Maiduguri, describing it as opportunistic and reckless, designed to score cheap political points.
Also reacting to the statement by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Monday, which claimed that the assassination of the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chinwike Asadu, in Enugu was indicative of a failed state, the government cautioned ACN and other opposition parties against the politicisation of crimes and criminal activities in the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who spoke to journalists in Abuja said: “The APC governors’ visit was hurriedly packaged to pre-empt the visit of Mr. President which had been planned and scheduled several weeks ago.
“This is surely an act of crass opportunism and political desperation on the part of these governors and the party they represent.”
According to Okupe, “We regard that visit as a media circus, stunt and photo-op by these governors who were apparently in Maiduguri to feather their political nests.
“If one may ask, where were these governors in the last 18 months that they had been in office? It is obvious that it is part of their mobilisation drive that took them to Borno State, rather than any patriotic call to duty.
“These are desperate power mongers who flock together in spite of their obvious conflicting political philosophies and inordinate ambitions.”
Okupe called on ACN to explain to Nigerians the benefits that the celebrated visit had brought to the citizens of Borno State and what effect it had on the activities of the Boko Haram sect, which even carried out bomb attacks while the APC meeting was in progress.
“That visit was borne out of sheer political recklessness and could have caused Nigeria major security embarrassment but for the fact that the Federal Government and its security apparatus took extra efforts to ensure that the visiting governors were safe.
“Being elected officials, the onus was on the Federal Government to ensure that they were safe in spite of their being oblivious of the peculiar security implications and real potential dangers inherent in their hurriedly packaged visit,” Okupe said.
Okupe further described the APC as a rickety political organisation seeking cheap publicity, saying, “The visit had nothing to do with sympathy, as it was borne out of political recklessness and political grandstanding.
“The Federal Government does not play to the gallery, it is doing what ought to be done.”
Also reacting to the comments by the opposition parties on Asadu’s death, the president’s aide said: “It is unthinkable that any rational citizen or serious political party would seize the opportunity to acquire any political mileage without considering the interest of the deceased’s grieving family.”
Okupe said under President Goodluck Jonathan's administration “nobody will kill a Nigerian and get away with murder. It may be impossible to prevent crime but anybody who commits a crime, the forces of the law will be unleashed till the persons are caught. Government will not fail or falter till the criminals are caught.”
He said: “Everywhere in the world, it is a known fact that criminality exists but the overriding duty of government is to guarantee the safety of lives and property and ensure that perpetrators of crime are made to face the full weight of the law.
“There is abundant evidence that the police and other security agencies are working in line with this goal.”
Continuing, Okupe said isolated tragedies such as the killing of Asadu could not be taken as an index of a failed state because if that was the case, many nations of the world, including some of the advanced countries, would be termed failed states.
“All over Europe and America, criminals engage in killings and mass murder, even of schoolchildren, and nobody in those countries laid the blame on the president or head of government, talk less of using it to denigrate their countries as failed or failing states.
“Everywhere in the world, it is a known fact that criminality exists but the overriding duty of government is to ensure safety of lives and property and ensure that perpetrators of crime are made to face the full weight of the law.
“There is abundant evidence that the police and other security agencies are working in line with this goal. For example, those who carried out the recent attack on His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, have been apprehended and are going through the process of the law.
“A few days ago, a retired police chief, Bill Dowling, aged 59, who was a former station commander at Marlborough Police Station for over five years, was killed with his girlfriend in his home town in the United Kingdom.
“Till date, no opposition politician or the media in the UK has insinuated that this was an evidence of a failed state or ineffective government in the area of security or law enforcement.
“On the part of government, we wish to restate that this administration will not shirk its responsibilities to ensure that Nigerians everywhere are safe and free to conduct their lawful business.
“The perpetrators of this ignoble act will surely be apprehended and brought to justice,” he said.