- CAN Dares Islamic Group over Threat To Bishop Kukkah
- Nigeria Controlled By Forces Bent On Setting It Ablaze If Their Interests Are Not Guaranteed – Ortom
By Stephen Ubanna
In spite of the criticisms against President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, of throwing the country into a mess, the Kasina state born Nigerian President , who could no longer take such criticisms from the country’s elite without response had fired back , urging them ‘’ to be fair in their criticism of his Administration’’.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have opened up when Yakubu Pam, a Clergy man and Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, paid him a curtsy call at the Presidential Villa on Thursday, January 14, 2020. He had urged the critics’’to be fair in terms of reflecting on where the country were before now, he resources available to the Administration and what has been done with the limited resources’’ over the last five years.
The Nigerian President may have alluded to the recent criticisms of Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, 2020, Christmas message on the state of the nation. The Catholic Bishop, had said that ‘’the prospects of a failed state stare the country in the face under the Buhari Administration. He had lamented of’’the endless bloodletting in different parts of the country, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and Community violence, , kidnapping and armed robberies’’, describing country as a ‘’house of horror with ‘’fear stalking the highways’’.
The Bishop who could not hide his feelings had said that the Buhari Administration ‘’owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as the country seem to journey to darkness’’. He had accused the Nigerian President of reserving ‘’a majority of the plum jobs in the government to Northern Muslims’’ and ‘’deliberately sacrificing the dreams of those who had voted him into power to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status’’.
According to him the Nigerian President had pursued ‘’this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion’’. He may have stepped on powerful toes and won more sympathisers for Buhari when he said that ‘’there is no way any Non-Muslim President could have done a fraction of what he had done by his nepotism and gotten away with it’’. He fears that ‘’there would have been a Military Coup a long time ago or the country would have been thrown into war’’.
The Nigerian President who has never stopped criticizing former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, ‘’ had repeatedly said that the Administration left the country with many unsolved problems, noting his Administration had been struggling over the years in paying the debts left behind by the Administration to the multi-lateral financial institutions.
Lawan Ahmad led Senate had put the total external debt of the country owed the multi-lateral Financial Institutions and China EXIM Bank, by past and Current Administrations at about N33 trillion .
The Nigerian President may to give the impression that the Administration had used the limited resources available to it, including the foreign loans in investing in road repairs and rebuilding, and revamping of the country rail network, which Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state, and minister of Transportation could authoritatively say had been modernized to standard gauge as obtained in other parts of the world. The Nigerian President was said to have also cited his Administration’s efforts in reviving the country’s power sector which was in a sorry state.
In an emotional outburst, he had asked the elites to use his achievements in office to compare notes with the previous PDP Administrations in the country. He was said to have also made reference to the security situation of the north east states of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, home state, Borno, home state of Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, and Yobe , which was dreaded by people because of the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalists, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP. He had confirmed the decimation of thousands of the insurgents and the purchase of new equipment for the military to prosecute Counter-Insurgency war in the region.
He had said that a total of 46,568 barrels of stolen crude and 22,881,257 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, were recovered by the military from the oil thieves.
Giving a region by region account of the Administration’s efforts to reduce the criminality in the south-south geo-political region, he had said that’’a total of 8,890,300 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, popular, diesel, and 33,516 litres of DPK were impounded in Delta state. He further disclosed that the troops had immobilized a’’ total of 185 illegal refining sites, 85 dugout pits, and 163 storage tanks within the period’.
He stressed that an additional 1,236.8 barrels of crude oil as well as 12,272,652 litres of PMS, and 45 boats engaged in illegal activities were recovered from the t oil hieves in the region by the troops. The troops were said to have also recovered 23 rifles, 65,330 rounds of ammunition and 25 trucks including the destruction 23 sea pirate Camps
In the north west, home of the armed Bandits and the Nigerian President home region, 5,281 lives stock, 6,951 rounds of ammunition and 120 assorted rifles were recovered from the bandits as 455 kidnapped victims were rescued and 473 of the Bandits killed in a gun dual.
An elated Nigerian President had said that 461 arrests were made in the region including high profile armed bandits and there Collaborators ,including gun runners while a total cash of N6.365,550.00 was recovered from the bandits and their informants in the zone.
The situation in the north east appears very revealing. He had said that through the intensified Counter-iinsurgency Campaign in the region, the troops rescued 200 victims of kidnappers, recovered 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades and, 95 assorted rifles. The troops deployed to the region,he said also’’ captured several gun trucks from the insurgents while others were destroyed during repeated air strikes. He had said that 1,805 insurgents, and their Commanders were killed by the troops aside scores killed by air raids/attacks. The Nigerian President had confirmed that a total of 79 arrests were made in the region including high value targets.
In the north central geo-political region he had said that the troops, recovered 513 rounds of ammunition and 105 assorted rifles.. He was ,however, silent on the group that the ammunition and rifles were recovered from but said 125 armed bandits including militia gang leaders were arrested.
Perhaps, worried by the large quantities of illegal Small and Light arms circulating in the nooks and crannies of the country which had fallen into the wrong hands in different parts of the country may have informed why the government is investing heavily in military hardware, procurement of aircrafts. It was said to have procure 23 aircrafts that had already been delivered and inducted into service. The government was said to have also procured another 18 Unmanned aircraft and 18 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles, UCAVs, which are still being awaited between now and 2022.
The Buhari Administration was said to have also placed order for additional attack boats, Patrol vessels , armoured tanks and other military hardwares are that are being expected in the country soon to give a fight to the sea robbers and pirates operating in Nigerian maritime domain.
Although, the Nigerian Prsident based on feedback from the army may want Nigerians to believe that the Insurgents have been technically defeated but there are still be occasional attacks in the north east states, particular, Borno and Yobe bu Buhari had said that the security situation in the region could not be as bad as it was some few years ago insists that the people relocated to the north west states of Kaduna, Kano, including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. Hear him, ‘’ The government is doing its best’’, but the best ‘’ may not be good enough’’.
Many believe that if the retired army General is ruling the African most populous nation as a military Head of State with dictatorial powers, he would have rounded up all the penchant critics and clamp them into Jail. Aware that this is a democratic dispensation, he could not do it. This may have informed why the Presidency had warned the Islamic group over’’ its criticisms and veiled threat against Bishop Kukkah’’ over his 2020 Christmas message on the state of the nation.
The Islamic, group, Muslim Solidarity Forum, had asked the Catholic Bishop ‘’to tender unreserved apology to Muslims in Sokoto state or leave the state, over his controversial Christmas message. Political analysts believe that it was a wrong step to be taken by the Muslim group to see Buhari, who is the President and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, as representing the Northern Muslims interest alone as a bad signal to Nigerians.
The Leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, may have read meaning into the Islamic group threat to Kukkah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, urging the relevant security agencies, particular, Mohammed Adamu led Nigerian led Police Force, ‘’ to ensure the safety of the Cleric’’ to avoid throwing the country into chaos.
Joseph Bade Daramola, CAN, General Secretary had wondered ‘’if those that had threatened the Cleric’s life are above the Law or if they are sacred cows in the country’’ as that they can not be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law. He is not happy that the security agencies personnel, particular, the Force, are ‘’pretending as if nothing unusual is happening’’.
The CAN, officials may have come out to stand solidly behind the Catholic Cleric, pointing out that ‘’there is nothing wrong with the Bishop’s Christmas message on the state of the nation, noting that they are yet ‘’to see any incitement of Islam or non-Christians in the message to a nation that has been under siege of terrorists, herdsmen killers, bandits and kidnappers as if there was no government in place’’.
CAN, had maintained that there is nothing wrong in ‘’telling a government whose lopsided appointments are against the Christians the whole truth’’. The Association stressed that ‘’if the criticisms against Buhari, who is a Northern Muslim’’ is an incitement to violence against Islam, it then means those who were criticising the duo of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan, when they were in power were actually attacking Christianity’’.
Taking cursory a look at the Northern Muslim group and CAN, position, over Bishop Kukkah’s Christmas message to the nation may have given ammunition to Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, north central geo-political region to speak out on Thursday, January 14, 2021, that’’ Nigeria is being controlled by forces that are bent on setting the country ablaze if there interests are not guaranteed’’.
Ortom had said that the Islamic group quit notice to Kukkah to leave Sokoto, home of the Caliphate was a contradiction of the country’s Constitution which states that ‘’Nigerians have the right to live freely in any part of the country’’. The Benue governor who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’democracy is built on the rule of law and freedom of speech’’ but it must not infringe on other people’s rights.