Troops still searching for over 200 abducted school girls
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku yesterday faulted the claims by the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, describing his actions as ‘grossly irresponsible’.
Nyako had last week, among other allegations, maintained that the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan is promoting genocide in the north through its fight against insurgency and aimed at depopulating the north.
But Maku, fielding questions from State House correspondents, said that the statement was uncalled for from an elder statesman.
He said: “Each time the security people strike our target there is a lot of public uproar and propaganda which is weakening out national resolve to fight terror. This nation deserves security at this time even in the heat of it, you hear some irresponsible comment coming from highly placed people including a governor.”
“Now this nation is in need of unity but the way we are playing to the gallery, we are making irresponsible statement. We are making statement that will divide the country, statements that is setting the citizen against security services and government. And when those statements come from people we believe should be leading the course of unity, appreciating the great job the security are doing.”
Continuing, he said: “If only Nigerians understand that as we sit in this hall, our security people are out there in the bush sleeping in the bush day and night and getting killed in the cause of maintaining the security of this country.”
“But what we see is that every people who has little knowledge on how security services are rendered will just open their mouth and make statements that creates panic in the country and this is very unfortunate.”
“To hear the kind of things being said by the governor of Adamawa State at this period is very unfortunate. Nyako is the former Chief of Naval Staff, he is someone that has worn uniform before, to publicly incite the people against the security forces of this country is the height of irresponsibility.”
“And I believe that for someone like that who is old enough to appreciate the kind of crisis this country is going through, we expect that there should be greater understanding, politics aside.”
“When people reach a certain age they should watch their utterances and the kind of things they are suppose to say. Maybe young people like you and me we can say it due to lack of experience. But people that have known the difficulty this country is going through and the kind of effort that is being made by the federal government to be coming out to make those statements that divide the country even at a point that we need national unity and national healing is grossly irresponsible.” He added
“We are expecting that as we move forward, this nation will definitely defeat terror. This is a war of criminals against the entire nation and they know that this crisis originated at local levels.”
He went on: “The responsibility of maintaining vigilance was right down to the village, the government has links to every armlets, to every village to know what is happening. All those responsibilities have been abandoned. People are not organising people to fight terror. The challenge for all of us in the north is, unless all of us act together, this part of this country is going down and down, while the rest of the country is experiencing growth. And the responsibility of security must be taken seriously.”
“People grandstanding, people playing to the gallery, people making inflammatory statement that divide public opinion, that cause confusion, will appear to me as people that are anti-Nigeria. This is the time we expect all our people to speak with one voice, and speak with a voice that give out people hope that we the leaders are united in finding solution.”
“Divisive statement must be condemned at this time and I think that we all have a responsibility to this country. One thing we must not allow is to create lack of morale to the security services because we don’t have alternative today to those services. And I know that security services are one of the best services in this continent with a lot of commitment and discipline. Nigeria will surely overcome it but we can do the job better with some people shutting up their mouths,” he said.
Maku also said that the Nigerian troops are still on the heels of the abductors of over 200 secondary school girls in Borno State.
He said: “The adoption of the girls, that itself is a national tragedy that young girls of school age could be abducted in our country in 2014. It is unimaginable, nobody even in our widest imagination that a group of people under whatever guise will take hostage of young girls who are just in the school to write exams.”
“This is indeed very painful , from the President and all of us we have been going through a lot of anguish. It is almost like a story out of this world. It goes to show the level of depravity, lack of human feeling that is going on in this crime of terror in this country.”
“The security forces are still on the heels of these kidnappers and every efforts are being deployed, unfortunately we are not fighting a standing army. The work of defeating terror is for us to be united. And for us citizens who have information that can lead to fishing out these girls and other criminals in the system to give that information.”
“So a lot of working is going on and nobody is resting. Our prayer is to get them safe and that they will not be abused by those who criminally abducted them. The attention of the world, the president and governors on the search of those girls and a lot of work is going on, it is the number one priority today in terms of synergy and we will continue to call for public cooperation,” he said.
On the long queues on Nyanya-Masaka road, he said: “We feel the pains of our citizens at this time. Our hearts go out to citizens who under the presence circumstances are compelled to endure long queues because of the road blocks that have been set up following the terror attack at Nyanya last week.”
“We understand the pains our citizens are going through, we have indeed tried to find out from security services how we are going to manage this road blocks. I know a lot of man hours are lost as a result of the road blocks but we want to appeal to citizens to appreciate the challenges we are going through.”
“Nobody is doing it to punish citizens. We are in a situation where unfortunately we are called upon to make sacrifices for the overall safety of our lives. And I believe that as time goes on the queues will ease out, it will not be there constantly. When you see those road blocks it means there is a need for it, is being done for public safety and it is not to punish our citizens.”
“We are also looking at alternative ways of managing the road blocks. At the moment, the wisdom is always to err on the side of caution rather than just allow things to flow.” He added