Atiku, Obi Condemn Renewed Killings in Plateau

•Knock FG over spate of carnage 

•Obi denies endorsing Abure, says visit reconciliatory 

•Party spokesman disagrees, insists statement twisted

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Former Vice President and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar, and the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, yesterday, have condemned the renewed killings in some parts of Plateau State.

Atiku stated that the uncontained killings in some parts of the country was an indication that state police should be given a priority, and said the continued bloodletting was not acceptable.

He said the escalation of the carnage was part of the growing insecurity in the country, stressing that it has become a hallmark of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

Atiku described as condemnable Monday’s reported killing of more than 40 persons in Zurak village in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State, and earlier killing of nearly two dozen residents in Tilengpat community of Pushit district, in Mangu council.

He stated, “We need to reflect on the fact that the persons being killed are human beings, a creation of God. This bloodletting and continued waste of precious human lives is not acceptable.

“Sadly, it is a reminder of the escalating state of insecurity, which contradicts the propaganda of this administration that security is improving. The incidents in recent times put a lie to their claim.

“It is about time that the issue of state police is approached with the urgency that it deserves. I need to warn that community policing, as being canvassed in some quarters, can never be a substitute to state police.

‘’I am mindful of the arguments that have been raised by opponents of state police that it can be subject to abuse by the state governors and their officials. This can also be said of the federal police.

“What is important is to insert into the instrument of creation of the state police, watertight measures that will check abuses. However, not recognising the need of the state police to address the peculiar challenges of different states in the country is a disservice to the security needs of the people.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the government and people of Plateau State.”

Obi also criticised the federal government over the spate of killings in Plateau and Benue states, and urged the federal government to halt the incessant bloodletting.

Obi asked the federal government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.

The former Anambra State governor wrote on his X account, “One continues to be disheartened by the persistent reports of terrorist attacks across Plateau, Benue, and other parts of the country.

“The recent reports of an attack in Zurak village in Wase LGA of Plateau State, which has left about 40 people dead and many others hospitalised, remains a very sad one, which must be condemned in strong terms.

“This adds to the growing number of these heinous attacks. These repeated attacks particularly in Plateau, have become too many to make any discerning mind worrisome.

“Again, I call on the government to rise to its responsibilities of securing the lives and property of Nigerians with corresponding actions.”

Obi added, “Above all, we must take every necessary measure to drastically reduce insecurity in the nation by investing in the critical areas of human development; education, health, and lifting people out of poverty.”

On the LP crisis, a statement by Yunusa said, “Obi’s visit to Labour Party yesterday was not to endorse anybody, but occasioned by his reconciliatory move.

“Julius Abure in his speech stated clearly how Obi came to the office, and Obi in his speech clarified same, while preaching peace, and his mantra ‘Pursuit of better Nigeria for the poor.’”

He further said the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)/Trade Union Congress (TUC) Political Arm, Comrades Titus Amba and Chris Uyot, respectively, also met with Obi and he extensively discussed the same peace move with them.

Yunusa stated, “Obi had repeatedly maintained that his interest was to carry everybody along into one strong family, and not to support one against the other.

“In all his meetings with all stakeholders, he has always maintained peace, and urged not to lose purpose, which is to free Nigeria suffering and pain.

“The LP standards bearer plans to continue meeting with critical stakeholders, and groups to achieve all-inclusive political family with a common dream of rescuing Nigeria.”

But National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ifoh, insisted, “As a party we are pleased that our leader has chosen to reconcile all aggrieved members and stakeholders of the party.

“This noble step taken by Mr. Obi is in line with the call made by the Labour Party’s National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure, during his maiden press conference last week, titled ‘Triumphant Resumption of Abure-led NWC’, wherein he pleaded with all the warring parties, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to sheath their swords and join in the rebuilding process in the party.”

He said Obi’s visit and speech had been variously described in some quarters as an endorsement of the Abure leadership, being his very first visit after the successful National Convention of the party held in March.

Ifoh said, “But to us as a party, we cherish this visit on whatever nomenclature as a positive wind blowing on the party. We believe that very soon, the reconciliatory efforts will be consummated and metamorphose into a political force that will usher in a government that will liberate Nigerians from the shackles of maladministration we are presently facing in the country.

“Finally, we urge the NLC and its Political Commission to understand that we are not the foe, and to see us as an ally in the battle to rescue Nigeria.

“They should emulate the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which has shown greater understanding and willingness to partner with the Labour Party in our efforts to make a new Nigeria possible.”

LP’s 2023 governorship candidate in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, also countered claims that Obi endorsed Abure as elected chairman of the party.

Gbadebo took to his X account, ‘GRV PR@IPrinceSaviour’ to counter the claim that Obi had endorsed Abure and dismissed it as fake.

He wrote, “He never and did not endorse Abure or any of their leadership activities. So, please, disregard any fake news from any media platforms.”

Actor and one of Obi’s spokespersons, Kenneth Okonkwo, equally ruled out the possibility of having anything to do with the Abure-led party.

Okonkwo, who had severed his relationship with the Abure-led faction of LP, made this known via a message on his known X page on Tuesday evening.

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