Politicians Sponsoring Killings, Buhari Insists, Vows to Fish Out Culprits

•  Solution to deadly farmers, herdsmen clashes in the pipeline

By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja   

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Monguno, Borno State, promised to fish out and punish politicians who are allegedly instigating violence in some states of the federation “in their quest for relevance in the country’s political landscape.” 

Buhari, according to his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, was speaking as the special guest of honour at the closing event of this year’s Army Day celebrations in Monguno, which he described as a one-time stronghold of Boko Haram terrorists.

According to the statement, the President emphasised what he told Christian leaders in the State House, Abuja on Thursday, saying a solution to the deadly clashes between farmers and herdsmen was in the pipeline, threatening that whosoever is found culpable in the evil act would be accordingly brought to justice.

The President, Shehu added, thanked the armed forces for keeping the country safe, acknowledging that there were still challenges facing the nation and proceeded to make a self-assessment of his administration in the last three years.

He quoted the President as saying: “This does not mean there are no challenges. There are pockets of violence in several states. Some deliberately instigated by disgruntled politicians who have lost all arguments and are desperate to cause mayhem as a way of seeking relevance. We shall fish them out and punish according to the provisions of the law.

“We have worked tirelessly to ensure and preserve the dignity and sanctity of life. When I was sworn in as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I promised that this administration would tackle the challenges of Insecurity, poor Economy and Fight Corruption.

“We are all witnesses to the fact that our once battered economy as a nation has exited recession and once again vibrant. Our nation is safe again, thanks to the efforts of our security agencies. I want to use this opportunity to reassure the world, Nigerians and the families of the remaining kidnapped Chibok girls and Leah Sharebu of the Dapchi School girls that this administration will not relent in our efforts to see that they are all released. 

“I also want to reassure all Nigerians that the issue of farmers and herdsmen clashes is being tackled and all those found culpable would be brought to justice. Let me quickly remind us at this point to always be tolerant, loving and ready to give peace a chance.”

Furthermore, the statement said Buhari reiterated how he had told the Northern Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that none of the country’s religions or cultures consents to the killing of anybody by another.

The statement also stated that Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, spoke at the occasion with a sense of triumph, saying “we have cut the rubicon of insurgency in the North-east. Thank God, we have come to the end of insurgency. Suicide attack is a sign of weakness, not strength.”

In the same vein, the statement noted that the Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd.), commended the Army for establishing a motorcycle battalion which he said was enhancing quick mobility and as well providing security in areas of unfavourable vehicular movements. 

It also said the minister praised the Air Force for setting up rapid response groups in the six geopolitical zones of the country and disclosed that appropriate measures were being put in place to tackle insecurity in the country.

“Appropriate measures are being put in place to address security challenges in the nation; the Armed Forces are currently handling Operation Delta Safe in the South-South, Operation Safe Haven in the North Central and Operation Awatse to combat militant activities in the Arepo general area and other parts of the Southwest. Recently, the Nigerian Army established Operation Whirl Stroke to tackle insecurity in the North Central states,” Dan-Ali was quoted as saying.

Shehu also added that the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, noted that military operations in the North-east were moving from the level of engagements of a combat to humanitarian and civilian support services with a view to assisting victims of insurgency to return to their communities which he said they were forced to abandon.

He also said Buratai remarked that the Army had accomplished the President’s objective to stabilise the North-east and other parts of the country, assuring the president of their unwavering support and loyalty both to him and the constitution.

Shehu also disclosed that upon his arrival at Kinnasara Army barracks in Monguno yesterday, Buhari had inspected military equipment on display by 21 Specialised Corps of the Nigerian Army, and equally inaugurated the first indigenous Mines Resistant and Ambush Armoured Vehicles (MARAPS) adding that before his departure yesterday, the president toured one of the largest camps housing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Monguno.