Jonathan, Yakasai seek action on 2014 national conference report
• PDP wants state of emergency, seeks president’s resignation
• FG will replicate northeast success on security, Buhari promises
• Ango Abdullahi, others urge Fulani herdsmen to leave south
Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday urged the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference to tackle insecurity.
He gave the advice after he paid a condolence visit to Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, whose daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakurin, was killed by suspected herdsmen last week.
Jonathan said: “In 2014, when I was a sitting president, we had a national conference where a number of things were discussed. The issues of security, state and regional police were discussed…We should not play politics with national issues.
“If we look into that report, there are recommendations. There are recommendations that border on security and if there are areas that need to be expanded, because I believe everyday new ideas come, it should be updated.
“There is nothing wrong also with holding a specific meeting to look at the issue of security. I believe in the federal and state governments having a new approach, deploying technology and having more money to protect our people.”
His suggestion came on the heels of the warning on Monday by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that the country could fall apart unless the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration curbs the wave of insecurity.
But Obasanjo’s advice, outlined in a letter, has been receiving a flurry of reactions.
Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, described the letter as selfish, unpatriotic and an invitation to chaos.
In a statement he released yesterday, the founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum, a political and cultural association of leaders in northern Nigeria, said: “My experience with the Nigerian political situation is that the top echelon of the military are always fighting one another, either in service or in retirement. It is from this angle that I always view most of the writings of General Olusegun Obasanjo to any military officer who is a head of state or president in Nigeria. Even the ones he wrote to former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua were not patriotic. They were guided by selfish interest.”
He however called on the National Assembly to initiate a bill that will be passed into law, compelling Buhari to implement the recommendations of the National Conference. According to him, “The 2014 National Conference was composed of Nigeria’s First Eleven in terms of politics, patriotism, business acumen, intellectual prowess and security expertise.”
The Senate meanwhile announced yesterday that it would again hold a national security summit. The proposal came 12 months after the first edition, which, going by the current realities on security nationwide, failed to achieve its objectives.
The move followed a motion on the murder of Mrs. Olakunri.
“Despite the assurances received from the security agencies that they are on top of the situation, the existing measures in place have not satisfactorily addressed the security challenges in many parts of the country,” Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo) told the lawmakers.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan however hoped that “the intervention, at the end of the day, will bring the desired results.”
This was as the Peoples Democratic Party called for the declaration of a state of emergency on the security crisis. It also asked Buhari to resign to pave the way for better governance.
National Chairman Uche Secondus made the disclosure during a press conference in Abuja. Flanked by members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), he also urged Buhari to “urgently address the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter.”
According to him, “There is no doubt that the only thing apparent in President Buhari and APC administration is incompetence, and this is clearly underscored in the way and manner they are handling the affairs of governance which has continued to take a huge toll on the nation.”
He added: “The level of bloodletting occasioned by the barrage of criminalities across the country can only be happening in a country without government.
The killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, is the highpoint of the murder of innocent Nigerians across the land.
“It certainly cannot be well for a nation that creates an ugly situation where a 94-year-old nationalist would be burying his 58-year-old daughter. Sad! This certainly is not the Nigeria of our dream.”
But while receiving the executive members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at State House, Abuja, yesterday, Buhari explained that persons fuelling crises in other regions of the country were taking advantage of the government’s focus on the troubled northeast.
He gave the assurance that successes recorded in degrading terrorists in the
northeast would be replicated in other parts of the country currently experiencing security challenges.
In the latest twist to the security situation yesterday, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) directed Fulani herdsmen in the southern parts of the country to return to the north where their safety could be guaranteed.
NEF chairman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi said the advice became necessary given recent actions and utterances by some southern governors.
At a press conference held jointly with NEF affiliate, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Abdullahi said: “We are worried about their wellbeing. If it is true that their safety can no longer be (established), we would rather have them back in areas where their safety is guaranteed. The bottom line is that their safety is far more important than their stay there. This is a country we all wish to keep together and not at the expense of other sections.”
The groups claimed they arrived at their decision in consultation with Simon Lalong, Plateau State Governor and Chairman of Northern Governors Forum.
CNG spokesperson, Mr Abdulaziz Sulaiman, claimed that southern governors had on July 9, 2019 jointly agreed to stop the free movement of herders and cattle in all the southern states. He accused the governors of arrogating to themselves the power to decide which category of herdsmen could live in the south and which should be tagged criminal elements.
He said: “Throwing caution to the wind, Gani Adams, Fani Kayode, Yinka Odumakin and a host of other southern regionalists shamelessly insisted on changing the narratives around the killing of the Fasoranti lady. In the process, they threatened all forms of violations and breaches against northerners including the threat of an all-out war.
“With all these statements and steps taken by the southern governors and opinion leaders, we are worried that none of the northern governors or federal officials has deemed it apt to caution them.
“The failure or neglect of the police to trace a connection between the Fasoranti murder and the seemingly pre-arranged conduct of Fani Kayode, Odumakin and Adams by their haste to shift the blame, in order to render the Fulani an object of attack, is certainly suspicious.”
He added: “Based on the above observations and the fact that the instigation of hatred against the Fulani persists, we feel obliged to advise the leadership of the Northern Elders Forum to consider calling on the Fulani to forego their right to live and flourish anywhere in the south and relocate to their various states in the north to ensure their safety.”
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