Apparently irked by the latest killings in Kaduna State, where over 45 persons were killed in cold blood, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday accused “propagandists” against the government of being behind moves to instigate war for selfish reasons.
He vowed that his government would not relent until it gets to the root of the crisis by taking decisive actions to checkmate them.
“These persistent killings are not spontaneous; there are subterranean forces with a sinister agenda to instigate war in the country for selfish purposes.
“Although unconventional war is particularly complicated, our security forces are making rigorous efforts to better understand these enemies with a view to decisively checkmating their evil attacks,” Buhari said in a statement.
Buhari has, however, approved the establishment of a new battalion of the Nigerian army.
He has also directed the setting up of a new Police Area Command in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
In approving the formations, the president strongly condemned the latest massacre of innocent Nigerians in the area.
According to him, “I am deeply outraged by this unwarranted, unprovoked and reckless destruction of lives by bandits who belong to the lowest level of civilisation. I feel the pains and devastation of the families of the victims, and this administration will do everything possible to ensure we defeat these enemies of humanity.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that the new army battalion and the Police Area Command are the latest in a series of law enforcement measures to ensure more effective protection of lives and property in and around Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara and Nasarawa states.
Recall that on Saturday armed bandits stormed the Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State, killing about 45 persons and setting houses ablaze.
Shehu said last week the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of two new helicopter gunships, for deployment to parts of the country affected by banditry.
He also disclosed that a quick response wing has been established by the Nigerian Air Force in Taraba State, while a Joint Military Intervention Force is fully on ground in Benue.
He said the president assured that security remains a priority for his government, noting that his administration will not tolerate the persistent killing of innocent people in order to set Nigerians against one another.
President Buhari also extended condolences to the families of the victims, the government and the people of Kaduna State over this unfortunate tragedy, assuring that his government will never abandon them to their fate.
Buhari Rues Senate Invasion, Vows To Unearth Culprits
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has described the recent invasion of the Senate by hoodlums allegedly contracted by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) as embarrassing.
The president, who just returned from Daura, Kastina State, where he went to participate in the ward congress elections of the All Progressives Party (APC), vowed that a proper investigation will be launched into the matter with a view to bringing the culprits to book.
President Buhari gave the pledge when he met with Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, at the
Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting, which was at the behest of the president, also centred on the delays associated with the passage of the 2018 budgetary appropriations as well as the ill treatment meted out on Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) by the police authorities.
Although the budget has been before the National Assembly since November 2017, Saraki said the National Assembly may likely pass the budget early next week.
Dogara while fielding questions from State House correspondents, likened the actions of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, as that of a barbarian.
The speaker, who was obviously reacting to the ill treatment meted out on Senator Melaye, said it was unheard of that an accused person will be facing trial when the health of such suspect is not guaranteed.
He said the actions of the police were capable of truncating the country’s democracy.
Recall that the National Assembly leadership had extended invitation twice to the Inspector General of Police but the IGP failed to honour both invitations.
Rather on the day the IGP was supposed to appear before the Senate, he went to Bauchi State, where the president had gone on a state visit.
Saraki said, “Well, we came on the invitation of Mr. President, he wanted to brief us on his trip to the United States and also the issue of the budget.
“We also talked on the issue of concerns to us, the invasion of the National Assembly, which he showed great concern and said action will be taken to investigate that”.
On the budget, he said, “Well, hopefully it should be laid this week, if it can be laid this week and passed early next week, but we are hoping it will be laid this week”.
On Senate invasion, “Of course, the president sees it as an embarrassment to the country and that there will be a proper investigation because it is something that is not just about the National Assembly, it is about the country”.
On Senator Dino Melaye’s trial, Dogara said, “Of course, anything that happens to one of our members or any member of the National Assembly is of concern to us.
“There is no way we can have this kind of meeting without raising that. This is a civilian administration, it is democracy and it is imperative and very important that all institutions of democracy operate within the ambit of the rule of law.
“There is nowhere, I have said it before, that police will behave in a democracy like a clan of tribesmen, like an upgraded barbarians sort of. So there is need for us to act with civility.
“We are not saying that anybody should be protected and defended. Once you have committed an offence, our law said you should answer it, but you just have to utilise the provision of the constitution, the rule of law and this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has overemphasised in order to bring people to book.
“But a situation where people are wheeled to court, that doesn’t give good image of our democracy. I have not seen a democracy where people are wheeled to court, they are not in the proper frame of mind and they are forced to undergo trial.
“Whatever it is, even if Dino is pretending as some have said in some sections of the media, he cannot pretend forever. He is there, he will not run away, he is a senator and he can be tried any time he is in proper frame of mind.
“As a lawyer, I can tell you any judge that assesses an accused person not to be in a proper frame of mind even if the accused person pleads guilty, he is duty bound by law to record not guilty plea, if he is not satisfied as to the soundness of the mind of the accused person.
“So the emphasis is there and I believe the president being a listening president will definitely take steps and do something about it”.
Saraki, who corroborated the speaker’s position on the IGP, said it was unconstitutional for the police authorities to continue to disobey constituted authority.
“Talking about the issue of the police, we also raised the issue of the non-appearance of the IGP at the Senate and felt that they must continue to ensure that he continues to apply obedience to the issue of constituted authority.
“We are of great concern that this is the first time this is happening and that matter needs to be addressed considering the importance of the powers of the constitution that gives investigative powers, also gives to us and that there is need for police to accept that they too are under constitution and they must obey that. We raised that concern”.