Sack Adamawa, Borno, Yobe Govs Now - Bamaiyi
Shekau, others have links with Gov Shettima
Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, has called on President Gooduck Jonathan to suspend the governors of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states, as a matter of urgency, for their failure to curtail the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in their domains.
While speaking at an interview with our correspondent in Zuru, in the Zuru Local Government Area of his home state, Kebbi, Bamaiyi insisted that the governors' continued stay in office would be counter-productive to military efforts aimed at dislodging the terrorists, and averred that, in view of the prevailing circumstances, the President should sack them, and allow the military to take full control of the three states.
On the constitutional implication of the emergency rule, the former Army chief explained that the moment an emergency rule is imposed in an area, the nation has already deviated from the normal constitutional rule, insisting that there is no constitutional provision that says a governor should remain in office under emergency rule.
'This is just like the case of an Army officer who fell down at the battle front, and you continue to leave him there. Therefore, whatever you want to do, try to be just and fair, the Almighty God who has given you the mandate to rule will always be there to protect you,' he reasoned.
The former Army chief, who described the state of insecurity in the country as unfortunate, also blamed politicians for the escalation of violence, while advocating that stringent measures are needed to put a stop to the carnage.
'It is very unfortunate that governors, who serve as chief security officers of their states, resolve to travel abroad and spend weeks without knowing the security situations in their home states,' he lamented.
Proffering a solution to the insecurity challenges, Bamaiyi said: 'We should go back to the grassroots, and find out those who are the actual people perpetrating this violence, because they are human beings, not spirits.'
In a related development, and in what appears like rendering an answer to Bamaiyi's question, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, at a different forum, explained that the origin of the dreaded menace was far from being religious, and insisted that majority of the insurgents were employees of the All Progressives Congress (APC)- controlled government of Borno State.
Insisting that last Friday's killing of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Timta; the abduction of young schoolgirls in the state, and attacks on markets in parts of the country by the insurgents reaffirmed his position, Maku pointed out that the problem of insurgency must be dealt with collectively, since it is not about religion.
Maku made the remarks during a phone-in programme on a national radio monitored in Abuja, yesterday, titled: 'The Jonathan Administration since 2011: How has it fared?' as part of the occasions to mark this year's Democracy Day.
The Minister said it was disheartening that the issue of insurgency, for a number of politicians, had become a slogan for 2015 to attack the Federal Government, and to continuously make statements that divide the country, engage in campaigns that distract the nation, and in campaigns that turn the people against the Armed Forces.
'And I keep saying it, which party will now proclaim innocence? Insurgency started in Borno State, insurgency started in Yobe State. Today, Nigerians are aware that most of the insurgents were employees of the APC government of Borno State. Buji Foi was a commissioner with the Government of Borno State under Ali Modu Sheriff; Shekau and co. were all connected to the Governor of Borno. So, there is an organic link, but we are not looking at that,' Maku said.
On what proof he had on the allegation, the Minister said: 'that Buji Foi was a commissioner in Borno State? Are you asking me whether I have proof? I am saying that most of those leaders - the APC leaders - were organically connected. The Buji Foi, everybody knows, was a commissioner in Borno State. So, we are saying that we must, as political parties, as politicians, stop the grandstanding and pretention that is going on. The distractions we hear today on the pages of newspapers and everywhere have nothing to do with the fight against insurgency; people are looking at this insurgency as an opportunity for 2015.
'For a long time, for almost three years, we had to fight to convince people that we even needed to send troops to Borno State. People refused, they came here, and they said it was not a matter for the Army, and that we should withdraw them. The President said if you want me to withdraw these troops, what is the alternative? Do you have any alternative of helping the matter? If you do, I will withdraw my troops now. And this insurgency continued to take root as a result of the politicking, without looking at the future of the country and our national security.
'If any portion of this country is not at peace, Nigeria is not at peace, and the President will not rest until it is done. Young girls are kidnapped at midnight in schools, and then attacks in markets. These attacks show clearly that this insurgency is not about religion. Because the Emir of Gwoza, who has just being slain, was a Muslim; he was a traditional ruler. Under Islam, he was supposed to be the leader of the faithful in his domain. So, it is not about religion. As 2015 election comes, we are seeing a lot of the passion coming into this insurgency, not because people really care, but because they want to exploit it for political advantage, so that President Jonathan should look very bad.' He said, though insurgency began before Jonathan's administration, a lot has been done to checkmate the threat.
His words: 'No leader of this country will wish himself the kind of experience the President is going through today. There is nothing the President is not doing to bring this insurgency to an end. Now, we have done so much in this area. Today, a good portion of every naira we spend on insecurity has been in those states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. We are spending trillions to make sure that we do everything possible to bring this insurgency to an end. But the difficulty of fighting insurgency is that it is not a conventional war.
'So, when people continue to attack the Army, why is this still going on? It is still going on because the only way you can defeat it is for every level of government; from the village, district, local government, state, to the federal level to be organised, to mobilise its people, to sensitise them, to report every slight movement.'
On other sectors of the economy, Maku pointed out that the administration had fared well, as more roads are being constructed, with rail project on the verge of completion, while job opportunities 'are created for the unemployed through various government programmes.
'We, Nigerians, must appreciate government's effort. This government needs encouragement, and the best way you can encourage President Jonathan is to grant us peace. Give us peace in your states, give us peace in your local government, give us peace in your constituency, and you will see the real transformation that has come on board under this President,' he said.