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PDPs position on security challenges unwarranted, says minister

Published by The Nation on Wed, 05 May 2021

By Yusuf Alli and Onyedi Ojiabor, AbujaMinister of Information and Culture Alh. Lai Mohammed on Tuesday accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of lying and misleading Nigerians on the security challenges facing the country.He said PDP was playing cheap politics with the nations problems.According to him, contrary to PDPs claim, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not running a government of exclusion.He said the Federal Government had held 18 Town Hall meetings nationwide to seek opinions of Nigerians on how to move the nation forward.He said some of the recommendations of the Town Hall meetings, including State Police and farmers- herders crisis, are before the National Executive Council (NEC) for consideration.He listed other issues before NEC as local government autonomy, establishment of ranches, and roles for traditional rulers, among others.On the fate of abducted students, he said the Federal Government was collaborating with states to rescue them.Mohammed, who spoke at a briefing in Abuja, said the government was doing everything possible to tackle the security challenges.He said: As you are aware, the PDP addressed a press conference yesterday, ostensibly to offer suggestions to the Federal Government on some topical issues, especially national security. The main opposition party said it was dropping the toga of politics in the national interest.Read Also:Insecurity: PDP advises FG to create National Boarder Protection ForceUnfortunately, the PDP did not respect its own words, as it played cheap politics while playing the ostrich. The party went ahead to make wild accusations against the President and his government. For example, the PDP said the government had refused to engage, and that we were running a government of exclusion.The opposition party then went ahead to reel out a number of suggestions as a way out of the current challenges facing the nation. Unfortunately, the recommendations by the PDP have exposed the opposition partys gimmickry, and the fact that it was merely playing politics with serious national issues, especially security.Had it not been so, and had it done its homework properly, the PDP would have known that most of those recommendations were already contained in the outcome of the Federal Governments Town Hall Meeting on National Security, which was held in Kaduna on April 8th2021.The PDP accused this Federal Government of not engaging and of running a government of exclusion, forgetting, conveniently, that this Federal Government has consistently engaged Nigerians on topical national issues, including security, the fight against corruption, terrorism, infrastructure and farmer-herder conflict. The Town Hall Meeting series, which we launched in 2016, has so far been held 18 times across Nigeria.Its always a no-holds-barred opportunity for government to engage with critical stakeholders, briefing them ongovernment policies and programmes and getting their feedbacks, thus ensuring inclusion and deepening of democracy. The latest of such Town Hall Meetings was the one in Kaduna whichI referred to earlier.As aprelude to adopting the recommendations, the NEC has directed all state governors to organise state-wide consultation on them, and revert to the Council at its next meeting.You can now see that the PDP was more interested in playing politics with national challenges than helping to find solutions to them.They disparaged Mr. President and the Federal Government, engaged in name calling and finger-pointing, gloated about the security challenges facing the nation, lied about how they resolved security challenges under their watch and then went ahead to say, at their hysterical press conference, that they have not come toplay politics. Who is fooling who here'Mohammed listed the 10-point recommendations of stakeholders at a recent Town Hall Meeting in Kaduna as follows:That the governance of human society should be based on Law rather than the whims and caprices of human beings and must be obeyed by all as all persons are equal before the law including the law givers.That there is urgent need for political restructuring and not separation.That the Judiciary be decentralized and reformed through Constitutional Amendment to remove the unitary control of the Superior Courts.That governments at all levels should ensure free, qualitative and compulsory Primary Education for all children of school age.That the Military, Police and other Security Agencies should be expanded in number, retrained, provided with modern equipment and technology to cope with emerging security challenge.That both religious and traditional leaders should encourage and promote inter-marriages for unity as contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Article 15, 3(c) which prescribesinter-marriage among persons from different places of origin, or of different religious, ethnic or linguistic association or ties.That the establishment of State Police should be supported bythe National and State Houses of Assembly to enable State Governmentshave firm control in addressing security issues.That Traditional Rulers should be given their age-long role ofmaintaining peace and security within their domain.The Local Government Autonomy be actualized to enable them have control of their areas including the ungoverned spaces in tackling security challenges.Finally, that the farmers/Herders clashes be addressed by establishment of ranches, grazing reserves with modern amenities to check the trans-humans of the herders.He said the government has also successfully prosecuted thousands of Boko Haram members in Kainji as part of a continuing exercise.This Federal Government has successfully prosecuted thousands of Boko Haram members in Kainji, as part of a continuing exercise. We are now seeking the cooperation of the judiciary to continue with the trial of arrested terrorists.We acknowledge the challenges we face as a nation andwe are doing everything possible to tackle them. We call on all Nigerians to support the efforts of the Federal Government to tackle the challenges. We advise those bent on playing cheap politics with the challenges to have a rethink. This is no time for politics.When asked on what the government is doing to rescue the abducted students of Greenfield University in Kaduna State, the Minister said: Both the state and the Federal Government are working round the clock to ensure these students are released.We are not denying that we are facing challengesbut we are rising up to these challenges.On alleged sabotage of Buhari administration, he said: We have said it several times that some people are bent on distracting government and to make the nation ungovernable.
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