Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Eromosele Abiodun in Lagos
The presidency Wednesday attributed the widespread killings in the country to the political enemies of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying they were the sponsors of the killing machines that have sent many Nigerians to their untimely graves.
According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who spoke on Arise TV, a THISDAY sister broadcast network, the president’s enemies resorted to the bestial act to discredit his scorecard on security, which he said was one of the three-prong plank Buhari ascended the presidency.
He stressed that the killings across the country were being instigated and sponsored by the opposition to weaken the incumbent government as much as possible.
The presidential spokesman said security agencies were investigating those behind the killings in the country, warning that once they were identified, they would be dealt with.
He also stated that the protests around the country over the killings were driven by political motives.
According to him, “You have the true herders and farmers who are clashing and you have hidden hostile hands who have crept in under that umbrella to play what the president has described as irresponsible politics.
“This farmers – herders’ clash has been going on for a long time. When I say long time, I mean far long before this administration. Like the president said, the issue is even older than anybody living today. What you have today are being sponsored because they know security is one of the strongest points of the administration.”
Adesina added: “The president said so in a national broadcast. He also said the security agencies are investigating and has warned that once they are identified, they will be dealt with. The intension of the opposition in any democracy is to weaken the incumbent as much as possible and the opposition in Nigeria has identified security as one of the strong points of the Buhari administration. So they decided to go to that area finding the soft under belly and stick a knife into it.”
He regretted that though people were being killed, adding that security should be the concern of everyone.
“When our president met United States President, Donald Trump, recently, even Trump said security is a collective thing,” he said, adding: “What we see in Nigeria is that people expect security to come from the top, rather it should be bottom up.”
On the need to allow for state police to address the security situation in the country, he said the president could not do it alone because it was a party matter.
He said the Buhari administration had improved the Nigerian economy, adding that the kind of change that Nigerians envisaged in certain areas would not come in the short term.
The presidential spokesman said government’s spending had created jobs and denied that more Nigerians had lost jobs as a result of Buhari’s policies.
He said: “Those statistics you have of unemployment are from white collar jobs that is not all that make an economy. We have a record of blue collar jobs. For example, rice farmers, when this administration came were only five million. As at today, they are over 12 million, that is seven million additional rice farmers. When you heard that Nigeria cut rice importation by 90 per cent, it was not just from the blues.”
Speaking about the economic growth of over six per cent that the country recorded before the administration of Buhari as against the 0.8 per cent today, he said Nigeria was running a bubble economy that was unsustainable.
“Now the foundation of the economy is being changed,” he said, adding: “If you look at the figures you will see what manufacturing has contributed, what agriculture is being contributed and what the solid minerals sector has contributed.”
He also denied that the electricity situation in the country was getting worse, saying: “Comparatively, it is not getting worse. If you had less than 3,000MW of electricity in 2015 and now you have over 7,000MW that is an improvement. When people say the power outages have been on for a long time, they mean far long before this administration.”
On the doubts over the Buhari’s health, Adesina contended that it is human nature to have doubts, adding that it was also human nature to express belief and faith.
In a related development, President Buhari Wednesday in Abuja said his administration’s commitment to rapid development of Nigeria goes beyond ethnicity, religion and geographical space.
The president, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made this remark while receiving Sheikh Ahmed Tijjani Ibrahim Inyass, the Grand Khalifa of Tijjaniya, from Senegal at the Presidential Villa.
The statement said the president expressed the overwhelming support of Nigerians and their confidence in his administration and told the Sheikh that he was “very pleased with the prayers and support of the Tijjaniya for this administration”.
It quoted the president as saying: ‘‘I know you are praying for the stability and prosperity of this country,’’ adding that the president thanked the religious leader for the visit, saying it “underscored the importance of the religious group in promoting good governance in the country”.
The statement added that the Sheikh commended the president for what he described as the good job he’s doing in Nigeria, adding: ‘More than 40 million Tijjanyia’s are praying for your success because we believe the Almighty Allah has chosen you to lead Nigeria at this time and to actualise the dream of a great country.”
It also disclosed that the Grand Khalifa, who was in Nigeria to commiserate with the late Isyaku Rabiu family in Kano, paid tribute to the memory of Rabiu, describing him as a great man and nationalist who was dedicated to knowledge, Islam and prosperity of Nigeria.
It also said the Sheikh offered prayers for the progress and prosperity of the nation as well as the good health, wisdom, strength and success of the president.