• PDP, Fayose ask president to stop giving excuses for failing to stem farmers-herdsmen’s clashes
Damilola Oyedele, James Emejo , Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
It was a rowdy session in the Senate thursday following Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s description of President Muhammadu Buhari as “incompetent” in his handling of clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Abaribe (Abia PDP) had used the word while reacting to Buhari’s comments made in London last Wednesday when the president said the killer herdsmen were not Nigerians but militias trained by the late Muammar Gadaffi of Libya.
Abaribe, in a motion raised at plenary, queried why Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was incapable of protecting Nigeria from foreign invasion.
He also wondered why the president, Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, and the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), have propounded different reasons for the recurring clashes.
Idris, Abaribe recalled, had blamed the clashes on the anti-grazing laws passed by some of the affected states, while the minister had said they were caused by the blockage of grazing routes.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) in London, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria said the killings are as a result of the people who were trained by the late Gaddafi, and so implying that these people doing these killings in Nigeria are from outside the country.
“When a commander-in-chief cannot take care of invaders invading Nigeria, why is he still a commander-in-chief? Why do we continue to indulge this president (such) that everywhere he goes, he tells everyone outside this country that he is totally incompetent? Because it is obvious…,” Abaribe added.
At this point, his presentation was interrupted by shouts of ‘point of order’ by several senators who raised their hands, requesting permission from the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to register their protest.
It took a few minutes for calm to be restored to the chamber.
The Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who first took the floor, expressed displeasure at Abaribe’s choice of words, which he said disrespected the president.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the leader of this country, and he deserves the respect and courtesy of this chamber, and those of us in it. I was once a member of the opposition and I do not recall ever calling the then president names, or insulting him. This is our institution. If we do not conduct ourselves with respect, nobody will,” he said.
Lawan demanded that Abaribe should withdraw the statement and apologise to the chamber.
Saraki, backing Lawan’s position, said offensive words must not be used by senators.
“We can make our points without using words that are offensive. Please be guided accordingly,” Saraki ruled.
Abaribe apologised to his colleagues, but said he simply interpreted the words used by Buhari himself.
“I am very well guided by you, but there are words that have no alternatives. What I did was to interpret the words by the president in London. If any word I used is misunderstood by anyone, I apologise. What I am saying is simple. The heads of security in Nigeria made several explanations for the killings of our people. It shows that there is a disconnection,” he said.
However, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has said that President Buhari was becoming an embarrassment to Nigerians, urging his handlers to desist from allowing him to speak extempore.
Fayose, who was reacting to the president’s claim that Gaddafi should be blamed for the ongoing herdsmen killings across the North-central of Nigeria, said: “It is embarrassingly shameful that the president has taken his blame game to the international level by blaming the dead for his cluelessness.”
According to a statement issued yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said it was becoming obvious that “Very soon, President Buhari will blame those who elected him for his failure.”
Fayose, who described the president’s statement as embarrassing, asked how many Libyans were killed by herdsmen in the last three years.
“Nigerians are accusing President Buhari and his government of complicity in the herdsmen killings and all that the President could do in response is to blame Gaddafi, who became history seven years ago? This is no doubt another international embarrassment from a president who knows nothing other than to blame people for his own failure.
“Methinks those handling the president should see to it the he is prevented from speaking outside Nigeria without a prepared speech.
“The other time, he went to Germany to embarrass Nigeria by referring to the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, as ‘President Michelle of West Germany.”
Fayose said President Buhari should rather face the reality of his government’s failure to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians as well as its seeming culpability in the herdsmen killings instead of going to foreign lands to advertise his cluelessness by blaming the dead.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Buhari to admit that he has failed woefully in his promise to end insurgency in the country, rather than resorting to excuses, particularly in the international arena.
The party said by running to Archbishop Justin Welby to declare that the insurgents and marauders pillaging our people are fighters from Gadaffi’s Libya, President Buhari confirms the position of Nigerians that he is incapable of handling the security challenges of our nation.
“We invite Nigerians to recall that in November 2017, President Buhari had informed the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire that Gadaffi’s fighters were responsible for the escalation of Boko Haram insurgency.
“This time, Mr. President has revealed that the killer-herdsmen ravaging our nation and killing our people are from Libya.
“If the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government knew all these while that the marauders and insurgents are invaders, then why is it engaging them in dialogue, reportedly paying ransoms and even considering the amnesty option for them.
“In the same vein, Nigerians should demand explanations from President Buhari on why his administration has been asking the victims of marauders’ attacks in various states, particularly, Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Plateau, among others, to learn to accommodate, if it knows that the attackers had links with Libya.
“Our take remains that President Buhari and his dysfunctional APC should simply admit that they have failed to safeguard the lives of our people as well as the territorial integrity of our nation.
Meanwhile, yesterday, both chambers of the National Assembly condemned the April 5, 2018, attacks on five banks in Offa, Kwara State, which led to the losses of several lives.
The Senate expressed displeasure at the ease at which the criminals executed the attacks with sophisticated weapons and made away with substantial amount of money.
Senator Rafiu Irahim (Kwara APC), in a motion, recalled that similar attacks have been recorded in other towns in the state, with the latest incident being the fourth major one in 10 years in the area.
The Senate, in its resolutions, urged the federal government to consider setting up a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kwara South senatorial district, and urged the IG to reinforce security in the area.
The House of Representatives, while condemning the attacks, also commiserated with the victims over the loss of lives and material resources.
Following a motion of urgent national importance moved by Hon. Olayonu Danladi (Kwara APC), he expressed concern how the security system could be easily overwhelmed and personnel, gruesomely killed in security facility.
Describing the development as an issue that calls for serious concern, the lawmaker said citizens have right to security and life as guaranteed in the constitution, stressing that this cannot be undermined.
Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuf Lasun, described the incident as horrible, as he expressed worry at the disparity in population growth and police manpower.
He also stressed the need to look at values and mentality of Nigerians in moving forward.
Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) said the current security situation is a total dysfunction and needed total overhaul, adding that the “Police force is ill-equipped.”