Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio has attributed the current state of insecurity across Nigeria to part of alleged plots to derail the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
But the minister assured that the government cannot be derailed.
He spoke to journalists Thursday at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during a surprise visit to the national secretary of the party’s caretaker committee, Senator James Akpanudoedehe.
Asked to comment on the spate of insecurity in the country, the minister said: “The issues of insecurity for me, has already assumed a very worrisome dimension. If you notice, it is not limited to one region, it is not a function of North-east, it is not a function of South-east, even in the South-south, even in my own local government, and if you read everyday what is happening in Benue state and other states.
“Most of the actions you see today are politically-motivated, to try to derail the government but the government will not be derailed. And there is nothing that lasts forever; you know that everything that goes up must come down. So the insecurity you are seeing today, you will not see it again.
“We have never in the history of this nation witnessed where people in uniform are targeted for elimination. That will show you that we have infiltrators in our midst. The security of our neighbouring countries must also remain a priority, because all these heavy arms entering into Nigeria when Libya failed, when Mammah Gadafi was taken out, and people looted the arms.
“If you enter Chad or Niger Republic, just like you buy Nigerian petrol by the roadside, you can pick up any arm you want, so that has led to very heavy arms entering into the wrong hands.
“In the Niger Delta region, we have been able to contain the situation, with the amnesty programme, and as I speak today, I think that is the most peaceful region today in the country. The area is very calm and we intend to keep it as such.
“So, there are many reasons that people can ascribe to it, if you say oh! Youths are unemployed, no! Because many of the people that are undertaking the insecurity are not even unemployable. They are not even interested in employment; some of them are on the basis of ideology and all sorts of things. So I think most of it is from outside influence,” the minister said.
On the reports of his ‘bitter’ relationship with Akpanudoedehe, he said: “Let me give you an example, you heard about the Rwandan genocide. It started with one person with a rumour that an ethnic nationality had killed another ethnic nationality, and over one million lives were lost, and it was at the end of the war that it was discovered that the rumour never happened.
“What it means is that we have to be careful about what we read, and we have to be careful about what we churn out. Yes, breaking news is good but breaking news should not break the nation. So, there has never been anytime we had issues together, we have never quarrelled with one another, in fact, we have always cooperated with one another, if anything, he will use his mouth to tell you how we used to dance Kokoma, holding hands together, then we go down and come up again.
“All these things happened in 2019 elections, when we tried to install the APC government in Akwa-Ibom State, until there was a conflict from both within and without, and that effort was shattered. I don’t want that to happen again,” he said.
On his feelings over the visit, Akpanudoedehe said: “I want to remind you what I said two months ago. My father told me that if you go to heaven and you don’t see politicians in heaven, you have to leave because that one is hell. I asked him why, he said politicians are people who can easily resolve their problems without fighting. That is why when you people open your mouth or your pen on issue of politics we are always laughing because you will not know when we will laugh and resolve these issues.”
Meanwhile, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged President Buhari to urgently convene a national security summit to deliberate on the way out of the security challenge.
National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus stated this Thursday in his keynote address at the party’s 91st emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
He said: “For us as opposition, any sacrifice to stop the endless bloodletting of innocent citizens should be activated including but not limited to immediate convocation of national conference on security for a comprehensive and all embracing deliberations on the future of this country.
“Our country today is grounded by insecurity and there has been no matching response from government despite the demands of the 1999 operating constitution in Section 14 (2b) that ‘the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government.”
Secondus further said prior to this time, “terrorists in the North before were confided to the North-East region but today 50 villages have been reportedly taken by them in North-Central state of Niger. Where they are now, we hear is about two hours drive away from Abuja. Herdsmen are also menacing in the West, gunmen are causing havoc in the East and the militants in the South, all killing, looting, raping, maiming and burning down homes. The situation is bad, Nigerians all over are living in fear.”
On the emergency NEC meeting, he said this became necessary to enable the PDP add its voice to the growing condemnation of the mass killings of innocent Nigerians across the land.
He continued: “Travel guide recently released by the United States for their touring citizens based on their intelligence gathering, listed 14 states that they should avoid for security reasons.
“Fear of attack has clearly frustrated schooling system in the North-West. The record of student abduction in Kaduna states alone has been unprecedented. Hardly a day passes without incident of killing, kidnapping, etc, in the state. This is notwithstanding the high concentration of security operatives.
“Leaders of our great party, the picture out there is worse than I have even painted because there are other many unreported cases. The banditry and herdsmen menace are taking huge tolls on our food production as farmers avoid their farms to be alive.”
Speaking on behalf of PDP governors, Bauchi state Governor Senator Bala Mohammed pledged on behalf of his colleagues, undiluted support to the Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC).
He confirmed that “we are not with those other people that have been causing trouble in the past few weeks.”
He called on Nigerians to join hands with party members to rescue the nation from what he called the ineptitude of the APC, stressing that with all hands on deck, “we will return to power at the Aso Rock in 2023.”
In his remarks, House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu also lamented the spate of killing and kidnapping, adding that Nigeria have never had it this bad.
He added that “It is incontrovertible that our great party worked hard to achieve a stable and more united country with unprecedented economic growth, massive infrastructural development and citizen empowerment in our 16 years in power at the center.”
The meeting was attended by party bigwigs including Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, ex-foreign affairs minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, former governor of Niger and Katsina states, Babangida Aliyu and Ibrahim Shema respectively, and a host of others.
But all hope is not lost as the Chief of Army Staff Lt.-General Ibrahim Attahiru reiterated the army’s commitment to the total annihilation of Boko Haram from Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Attahiru as saying this Thursday in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri.
He said Boko Haram had been defeated in many encounters and would continue to be defeated until they are totally annihilated from Nigeria.
“We will take on Boko Haram decisively, and we are committed to the focus of the operations which is the total annihilation of Boko Haram from Nigeria,” Attahiru said.
The COAS who was visiting the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri for the fifth time since his appointment four months ago, said the regular visit was to boost the morale of the troops, reassure them and listen to any issues affecting them.
Attahiru also said the visits were to convey to them goodwill messages from the Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces, President Buhari.
He said it was also to reiterate President Buhari’s commitment that he would continue to provide them the needed resources they would require to execute the fight against insurgency and other violent groups across Nigeria.
Earlier, while welcoming the COAS, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Farouq Yahaya, lauded the regular visit by the COAS which he said had continued to boost the morale of the troops.
“We are honoured, we are grateful, we are encouraged by those visits.
“You provided us guidance, logistics and other things we required. We are most grateful for those visits,” Yahaya said.
The COAS, while in Borno, interacted with the troops, held meetings with theatre and component commanders, and visited injured soldiers receiving treatment at the 7 Division Military Hospital.