Danjuma’s call for ex-militants’ arrest in bad taste, says Clark
IJAW national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, yesterday in his country home in Kiagbodo, Delta State, faulted the call by Gen. Danjuma.
Clark said Danjuma, whom he said he respects so much, was in bad taste.
According to him, several Northern leaders, including the APC presidential candidate, “Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Keita, Ciroma and several others” had threatened to make that there would be no Nigeria if a northerner was not elected president in 2015 and that they would make the country ungovernable for Jonathan.
“These statements were made by people well known to Danjuma and since then, the problem of Boko Haram has been escalating,” he said.
Danjuma should have the courage to condemn utterances of some of his friends and former colleagues in the army.”
The Ijaw leader also used the occasion to urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “to disqualify Buhari from the presidential race for lying under oath.”
He said the recent comment by Buhari that his papers were with INEC was suspicious, asking, “When did he submit the them?”
“If he submitted them after the closing date, then there must be something going on between Buhari and INEC and particularly Prof (Attahiru) Jega.
“Why did INEC accept those certificates now? Which means they have been communicating from time to time,” Clark said.
‘Arrest ex-militants, APC leaders’
From Saxone Akhaine
(Northern Bureau Chief)
FORMER Governor of old Kaduna State and opposition leader, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has supported the call by the former Minister of Defence, retired General Theophilus Danjuma, for the arrest of former Niger Delta militants, led by Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.
Musa, who reacted to Danjuma’s comments on Wednesday, said that the list of those to be arrested “for their unpatriotic comments” should be extended to the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He noted that these party leaders had also threatened the security of the nation by saying that they would form a parallel government in Lagos should the presidential flagbearer of the APC, Gen. Buhari fail to win the election.
He said that both the Niger Delta leaders and ex-militants had committed “treasonable felony, which the government must take seriously for the survival of Nigeria.”
Alhaji Musa argued that the pronouncements of both presidential candidates in their campaigns had not help matters, as “there is need for Jonathan and Buhari to moderate their campaign comments in order not to drag the nation to the pit.”
He said: “Danjuma is right for calling for the arrest of Dokubo and other Niger Delta leaders, who are beating war drums if Jonathan does not win the 2015 election.
“They should not be the only ones that should be arrested. Also, those who have said that if Buhari does not win the election, they will form a parallel government in Lagos should be arrested.
“These are the people threatening the 2015 elections and want to bring chaos to Nigeria.
“These people’s statements are inciting and treasonable. The comments of both Jonathan and Buhari in their campaigns do not help the situation.”
Musa warned that both candidates of the PDP and APC should guard their utterances and also call their supporters to order.
“Otherwise, they should be held responsible for whatever befalls Nigeria after the general elections,” he said.
Opadokun, Babatope support call, Uranta, Nyiam kick
By Seye Olumide
HUMAN rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, in his reaction to Gen. Danjuma’s comment, said he would always be in support of the former Minster of Defense, especially when it comes to the issue of security and threat to the peace and corporate entity of the nation.
Rather, Opadokun wondered why a sitting president would keep quiet over such threat by people from his region.
“This is suggesting nothing but the fact that Mr. President is in collaboration with them,” he said.
Opadokun said it was absolutely unnecessary, dangerous and threatening to our democracy “for some set of people to boldly say that if a particular candidate lost in an election, there would be war.”
He posited that Danjuma, who is a war veteran in the country, spoke from the background of his experience and would not want anyone, or group of people to plunge the nation into another war.
“The issue, however, is that the entire eligible electorate in Nigeria would decide between Gen. Buhari and the incumbent (Jonathan), who wins the February 14 presidential election and wherever they decided to follow should be the wish of Nigerians,” he said.
The General Secretary, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDESS), Mr. Tony Uranta, faulted the call by the former Minster of Defence, saying that the retired General appeared to be partial in his call.
According to him: “Gen. Danjuma is someone I always have respect for and I would continue to do that.
“However, I did not oppose him with what he said because Nigeria cannot afford another series of insecurity now, neither can we afford to go into another war.
“But if anybody is calling for the arrest of Dokubo-Asari and Tompolo over their recent statements, it is equally right for such a person to call for the arrest and prosecution of those who have made similar statements in the past.
“For instance, Gen. Buhari boldly said the country would be made ungovernable if Jonathan won the 2011 election and that is exactly what happened.
“In that regard, one would have expected that Gen. Danjuma should made similar call for the arrest of Buhari. What is good for the North is also good for the South-South.”
Also commenting on the matter, former Minister of Transport and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said it was dangerous to wave Danjuma’s call aside because of his background and his position in the country.
“Gen. Danjuma is someone who believes in the corporate existence of the country and he has also said this many times,” he said.
“I can recall he once said Nigeria cannot survive another war. Notwithstanding, the two young men, who threatened war, were reacting to provocation and the kind of insult that the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been throwing at the person of Mr. President in the last few years.
“Gen. Danjuma should also use his position, as an elder statesman in the country, to call the APC to order.”
A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference, Col. Tony Nyiam (Rtd), felt the call by Danjuma was capable of overheating the polity.
Describing the demand as “an insult,” he said: “While I do not subscribe to the two ex-militants’ language, it is discriminative or partisan or partial for Gen. Danjuma to dictate the arrest of the Niger Delta militants but condone those who earlier on declared that they will make Nigeria ungovernable if Jonathan becomes the president or those who said they will form a parallel government t if they don’t win power by 14 February 2015.
“Where is the equity or balance expected from a respectable statesperson like the former Minister of Defence?”
‘Call for arrest
From Segun Olaniyi, Abuja
A CIVIL rights platform, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has rejected calls for the arrest and prosecution of erstwhile Niger Delta militants, Mr. Dokubo-Asari and Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo).
They allegedly threatened violence should the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, fail win in the February 14 poll.
HURIWA said the call, coming from a retired General from a section of the country where some persons threatened to make the country ungovernable should President Jonathan win in the 2011 election, “amounts to selective amnesia and sectional and therefore must be rejected.”
In a statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the body called on leaders of ethnic groups across the country to play the role of a unifying force rather than continue to beat the drums of war.
The group said whilst it has consistently cautioned against the use of intemperate and/or offensive speeches by politically exposed persons, “especially in this dangerous season of elections,” it would not support the call for the arrest and prosecution of the former militants “for exercising their constitutionally protected fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.”
HURIWA cautioned political players from all sections of the country, reminding those advocating the selective arrest and prosecution of the Niger Delta civil society leaders over alleged use of emotive and/or offensive speeches that, “many sectional political elite in Northern Nigeria have consistently made similar threatening speeches against the corporate entity of Nigeria but there was no call for their arrest from same quarter.”
Citing section 39(1) of the Constitution, which provides that, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference,” the Rights group advised political players of diverse affiliations to moderate their speeches “because of the sensitivity of the election season.”
The group also defended the recent meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, attended by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku and the state governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, where the erstwhile militant leaders warned of severe consequences should President Jonathan be rigged out of the coming elections.
HURIWA said it was wrong for some persons to peddle the insinuations that since the Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs attended the said meeting, then President Jonathan sanctioned the alleged threats made by the former Niger Delta militants.
The group argued that President Jonathan had repeatedly promised to abide by the decision of the electorate at the presidential election.
Ijaw youths slam arrest demand
From Willie Etim, Yenagoa
THE leadership of the Ijaw Youths Congress (IYC) has faulted the call by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma that ex-militant leaders, Messrs Government Ekpemupolo, Dokubo-Asari and others be arrested for threatening to go to war in the event that President Goodluck Jonathan failed to win the February 14 presidential election.
The President of the youths group, Mr. Eradiri Undangs, in a statement in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, said he was surprised that General Danjuma swiftly called for the arrest of Tompolo, Asari and other Niger-Deltans, “whereas he has neither condemned nor called for the arrest of those who have been consistently attacking the convoy of President Jonathan in the northern part of the country.”
His words: “General Danjuma’s call is not deserving of an elder statesman, who is supposed to be unbiased rather than his obvious bias against the Niger-Delta people.
“Only yesterday (Wednesday), in Gombe State, a supporter of President Jonathan, who was pasting his posters, was attacked and seriously brutalised.
“Why has General Danjuma not condemned this dastardly act if he is really an elder statesman.”
According to the IYC president, there was no time at the meeting of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, with youth leaders and ex-Niger Delta freedom fighters “where it was resolved that Niger Delta people would destabilise Nigeria if President Jonathan fails the February 14, 2015 presidential election.”
“This did not form part of the resolutions of the meeting, which were read out by Hon. Kingsley Kuku, for Governor Dickson to transmit to Mr. President,” he said.
“The meeting was called by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, to solicit support for President Jonathan from Niger-Delta youths and ex-Freedom fighters.”
Mr. Eradiri, however, owned up to the fact the meeting had frowned at and expressed its dissatisfaction with the persistent attacks on the campaign convoy of President Jonathan in some northern states, while General Buhari, his main opponent, was protected and campaigned freely in the South.
He said the purported meeting that alleged to declare war with the Nigeria nation, condemned in the strongest terms the attack on President Jonathan and resolved that nobody could intimidate the president out of the presidential race as, “all the Niger Delta freedom fighters resolved to put their grievances aside and agree to work for the re-election of President Jonathan.”
“The report on ex-militants threatening to destabilise Nigeria in the event of President Jonathan losing the 2015 election is a figment of the imagination of the writers and not part of the resolution of the meeting,” he said.
“The meeting could not have discussed that, as we are confident that President Jonathan would win the February 14, 2015 presidential election.”
The youth group used the opportunity to call on Nigerians and the security agencies to disregard the call for arrest of Tompolo, Dokubo-Asari and others, “which is based on a misleading report.”