PDP, APC clash as 30 die in Borno bridge ex­plo­sion

• APC re­spon­si­ble for rising blood­let­ting – Op­po­si­tion party • PDP has night­mares, ped­dling false­hood, says APC

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Ka­marudeen Ogun­dele, Ade­lani Ade­pegba, Suc­cess Nwogu, Kay­ode Idowu and Olaide Oye­lude

THE Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party and the All Pro­gres­sives Congress on Tues­day locked horns on na­tional is­sues, in­clud­ing re­newed in­sur­gency and in­se­cu­rity in the coun­try.

The PDP, in a state­ment by its Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Mr Kola Olog­bondiyan, said the rul­ing party, the APC, was re­spon­si­ble for what it called re­newed in­sur­gent at­tacks, blood­let­ting and wors­ened in­se­cu­rity in some parts of the coun­try. It also ac­cused the APC regime of loot­ing.

But its coun­ter­part for the APC, Lanre Issa-onilu, ac­cused the PDP of false­hood. He said the op­po­si­tion party was not con­stant in its lies.

The PDP and the APC dis­agreed over na­tional is­sues , just as no fewer than 30 peo­ple were killed and 35 in­jured in an ex­plo­sion on a bridge at Gam­boru, Borno State, on Mon­day.

Res­i­dents of the town, in an in­ter­view with The PUNCH on Tues­day, said an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice was det­o­nated on the bridge at 3pm on Mon­day in the mar­ket town of Gam­boru, close to Cameroon.

One of the eye­wit­nesses, said, “All I can say is that I heard a loud bang and when I rushed to the scene, I saw life­less bod­ies, about 30 in all.”

How­ever, a source at one of the United Na­tions agen­cies in Maiduguri, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, told one of our cor­re­spon­dents that only nine per­sons were killed and 17 oth­ers in­jured in the ex­plo­sion.

The source, in a text mes­sage sent to the cor­re­spon­dent, stated, “The ex­plo­sion killed nine per­sons. The blast was heard around 3:30pm yes­ter­day (Mon­day) on the Gam­boru bridge.af­ter the ex­plo­sion, Nige­rian mil­i­tary closed the bridge.”

But a mem­ber of the civil­ian joint task force, a youth group fight­ing in­sur­gency along­side the mil­i­tary in the North-east, said im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice det­o­nated on the bridge killed scores of peo­ple.

Also, Reuters re­ported on Tues­day that eye­wit­nesses in the mar­ket town said more than 35 in­jured peo­ple were taken to the lo­cal hos­pi­tal fol­low­ing the at­tack.

An eye­wit­ness, Modu Ali, in an in­ter­view with Reuters, said, “It is an un­for­tu­nate day for us to wit­ness this frus­trat­ing and dev­as­tat­ing in­ci­dent in our com­mu­nity. I just heard a loud sound of ex­plo­sions, be­fore I re­alised what was hap­pen­ing I saw many of our friends and col­leagues were killed.”

It was sui­cide bomb­ing

– Com­man­der The Theatre Com­man­der, Op­er­a­tion Lafiya Dole, Ma­jor Gen­eral Oluse­gun Adeniyi, con­firmed the bomb­ing of the Gam­boru bridge. He at­trib­uted the ex­plo­sion to a sui­cide bomb­ing car­ried out by a sus­pected in­sur­gent.

“It was a sui­cide bomb­ing by a ter­ror­ist which claimed many lives and also dam­aged the bridge,” Adeniyi, told one of our cor­re­spon­dents on the phone on Tues­day.

Re­call that af­ter gains made by se­cu­rity agents last year, there has been resur­gence of ban­ditry, killing and kid­nap­ping in some parts of the coun­try.

On Fri­day, gun­men at­tacked Tawari in the Kogi Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Kogi State and killed 23 peo­ple.

On Sun­day, ban­dits killed four sol­diers at Sarkin Pawa in the Munya Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Niger State.

In Bayelsa State, gun­men on Mon­day killed four naval ratings and ab­ducted three ex­pa­tri­ates at Agge in the Ek­er­e­mor Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area.

Also, af­ter se­cu­rity chiefs’ meet­ing with the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor Gen­eral Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on De­cem­ber 30, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Ad­mi­ral Ibok Ekwe-ibas, had said, “Just two weeks back, we have had over 27 at­tacks from Boko Haram and ISWAP in the North-east alone.”

Amidst the wors­en­ing in­se­cu­rity, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had said it would with­draw troops from less volatile ar­eas in the coun­try.

APC re­spon­si­ble for rising blood­let­ting – PDP

In its state­ment on Tues­day, the PDP said the APC al­legedly had been feed­ing fat and ser­vic­ing its in­ter­ests from the pains and an­guish of Nige­ri­ans.

The party urged Nige­ri­ans to be wary of the al­leged APC’S re­newed at­tacks and base­less al­le­ga­tions against the PDP and its lead­ers, in­clud­ing for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent, Atiku Abubakar.

It said the al­leged APC’S at­tacks were all in the bid to di­vert pub­lic at­ten­tion from its per­ceived atroc­i­ties against Nige­ria, in­clud­ing com­pro­mis­ing its se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture for self­ish pur­poses.

The PDP chal­lenged the APC to re­spond to al­le­ga­tions that its regime ter­mi­nated the na­tion’s counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tions to sat­isfy for­eign in­ter­ests, lead­ing to es­ca­lated vi­o­lent at­tacks and blood­let­ting in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly in the North.

The op­po­si­tion party stated that the APC should ex­plain the as­ser­tion by an in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity ex­pert, Eeben Bar­low, who said on an in­ter­na­tional tele­vi­sion, Al­jazeera, that Nige­ria was suc­cess­fully rout­ing out in­sur­gents in the North-east be­fore the APC and its regime ter­mi­nated the counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tion to sat­isfy an al­leged Amer­i­can in­ter­est that as­sisted it to win the 2015 elec­tions.

Olog­bondiyan said, “It is in­struc­tive to note that the APC has en­gaged in un­war­ranted at­tacks on the PDP and Atiku Abubakar as well as spon­sor­ing neg­a­tive di­vi­sive pub­li­ca­tions in the last few days in the bid to di­vert pub­lic at­ten­tion from this very grave is­sue.

“Nige­ri­ans can now see why in­sur­gents, ma­raud­ers and ban­dits, who had been pushed to the fringes un­der the PDP ad­min­is­tra­tion sud­denly resurged in re­newed rav­aging of com­mu­ni­ties and killing our com­pa­tri­ots un­abated, while the APC and its ad­min­is­tra­tion en­gage in empty con­do­lence mes­sages.

“Nige­ri­ans are aware of how the APC im­ported po­lit­i­cal mer­ce­nar­ies, thugs and mis­cre­ants from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries in­clud­ing Niger Repub­lic and used them to un­leash vi­o­lence on Nige­ri­ans dur­ing the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.”

The PDP said the APC should ac­count for or de­mand in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of its lead­ers re­spon­si­ble for the loot­ing of over N14tn from fed­eral cof­fers, in­clud­ing the stolen N9tn ex­posed by the leaked Nige­rian Na­tional Pe­tro­leum Cor­po­ra­tion memo on oil sub­sidy theft.

“The APC should also ac­count for the N1.1tn worth of crude si­phoned by its lead­ers us­ing 18 un­reg­is­tered ves­sels, the steal­ing of over N48bn meant for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of vic­tims of in­sur­gency.

“It should ac­count for the N33bn Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency saga in which a very top mem­ber of the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor-gejeral Muhammadu Buhari (retd), regime was men­tioned as well as the loot­ing spree in Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Scheme and the Fed­eral In­land Rev­enue Ser­vice un­der its watch.”

PDP has night­mares, ped­dling false­hood, says APC

But the APC ac­cused the PDP of ped­dling false­hood and fab­ri­cat­ing fig­ures to jus­tify its claims of al­leged loot­ing of the trea­sury.

Its Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Lanre Issa-onilu, in an in­ter­view with one of our cor­re­spon­dents, said the op­po­si­tion had kept chang­ing its fig­ures on the al­leged fraud com­mit­ted in the Fed­eral In­land Rev­enue Ser­vice and the Nige­rian Na­tional Pe­tro­leum Cor­po­ra­tion.

He said, “We have chal­lenged them to as­cer­tain their facts be­fore com­ing to the pub­lic. The PDP should be con­stant in its lies by get­ting a con­stant fig­ure. They should stop ped­dling dif­fer­ent fig­ures as it may soothe them by telling Nige­ri­ans their fi­nal fig­ure on the al­leged loot­ing.

“Se­condly, we have chal­lenged them to give ev­i­dence from any­where – not just FIRS or NNPC – where any miss­ing money is traced to the party.

“They have kept chang­ing the fig­ures they want to use to lie. Although we know it is false­hood, they should at least keep to a fig­ure. They can’t be reel­ing out fig­ures they ob­tained while hav­ing night­mares.”

Beef up se­cu­rity, Atiku tells Buhari

On his part, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Atiku Abubakar, urged the Pres­i­dent to beef up se­cu­rity across bor­der com­mu­ni­ties in Nige­ria.

Atiku, in his tweeter han­dle, @atiku, said he was sad­dened by the death of no fewer than 30 peo­ple in Gam­boru, Borno State, af­ter an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice was det­o­nated on a bridge.

“I am sad­dened by re­ports of the death of no fewer than 30 peo­ple in a bridge bomb at­tack in Gam­boru, Borno State. May the souls of the de­ceased rest in peace and their fam­i­lies be com­forted. Se­cu­rity must be beefed up across bor­der towns. –AA”

Re­newed ban­ditry: Kastina vil­lagers flee­ing, says coali­tion

In Kastina State, the Coali­tion of Civil So­ci­ety Or­gan­i­sa­tions crit­i­cised both the fed­eral and Katsina Stat gov­ern­ments over re­newed ban­dit at­tacks in the state.

The coali­tion, in a state­ment in Kastina on Tues­day by its Chair­man, Bishir Ruwan­godiya, said ban­ditry had made thou­sands of peo­ple in the state to flee their homes.it said ban­dits had in­creased and in­ten­si­fied their at­tacks to vir­tu­ally all parts of the state.

The group stated, “It is no longer news that

Katsina State that used to be one of the most peace­ful states in the coun­try is grad­u­ally miss­ing such glory due to in­creas­ing act of ban­ditry and re­lated crimes.

“Cur­rently, in ad­di­tion to the eight front­line lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas of Bat­sari, Jibia, Dan­musa, Safana, Sabuwa, Kankara, Dan­dume and Faskari, the men­ace has es­ca­lated in Dutsinma, Kurfi, Bata­garawa, Rimi, Danja, Ka­fur, Matazu, Kaita, Malum­fashi and Katsina, which are now also vul­ner­a­ble to these at­tacks .

26 at­tacks recorded in two Katsina LGAS in 30 days

“Worst hit of re­cent af­ter the di­a­logue and amnesty are Jibia and Dutsinma lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas where hardly a day goes by with­out a re­ported at­tack. Within the last 30days for in­stance, 26 at­tacks were recorded in these places.

“In­sur­gency in Katsina State has made thou­sands of peo­ple flee their homes and re­lo­cate to other com­mu­ni­ties for safety. Those that can af­ford rents look for ac­com­mo­da­tion in other safer com­mu­ni­ties within and out­side the state while those that can­not live with rel­a­tives.

“In view of the state’s se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion, cou­pled with the ac­tions be­ing taken by gov­ern­ment at all lev­els, the coali­tion wishes to strongly ex­press its dis­may by the way fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments are not liv­ing up to their con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­tect­ing lives and prop­erty of the peo­ple of Katsina State, as en­shrined in sec­tion 14 (2) of the con­sti­tu­tion. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is the tier that has con­trol over the se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions and ma­chin­ery of the coun­try.”

The group said the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments had failed woe­fully in se­cur­ing the lives and prop­erty of the peo­ple of the state.

It stated, “The di­a­logue done with the ban­dits ini­ti­ated in good faith be­came ef­fi­cient for a while be­cause it was nei­ther pro­fes­sional nor built on any de­fined frame­work.

“Should this sit­u­a­tion con­tinue , the peo­ple would be left with no op­tion but to take the law into their own hands to pro­tect them­selves. This may spell doom for the fu­ture of se­cu­rity in the state.

“The fore­sight of the state gov­ern­ment in cre­at­ing se­cu­rity depart­ment and ap­point­ing a sea­soned se­cu­rity ex­pert is com­mend­able.”

The coali­tion al­leged that some un­pa­tri­otic cit­i­zens had started con­niv­ing with the ban­dits to smug­gle rice, arms, and other items.

It added, “The coali­tion has also ob­served that the sus­pen­sion of vig­i­lante groups has cre­ated an av­enue for the ban­dits to wreak havoc at will. It has been ob­served also that there are sev­eral al­le­ga­tions of con­nivance be­tween ban­dits, se­cu­rity per­son­nel, and tra­di­tional rulers.”

The coali­tion ad­vised the state gov­ern­ment to re­view its di­a­logue with the ban­dits with a view to mak­ing it pro­fes­sional, ef­fec­tive and sus­tain­able.

It also called for what it called “pro­duc­tive en­gage­ment on se­cu­rity is­sues with com­mu­ni­ties. Gov­ern­ment should en­sure that the of­fice of the se­cu­rity ad­viser be made to func­tion ef­fec­tively de­void of any in­ter­fer­ence.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.