This Day (Lagos)

6 May 2014

Nigeria: Tinubu - Boko Haram Out to Destroy the Nigerian Spirit

Photo: Premium Times
Boko Haram

Former governor of Lagos State and one of the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, yesterday said he was convinced that the ultimate objective of the Boko Haram sect was to destroy the spirit of the nation and set it against itself. He therefore called on all Nigerians, regardless of faith or political standing to partake in the campaign to find the abducted school girls as well as help improve the security of the country. Tinubu, in a press statement titled: "Nigeria Bleeds And It Needs All Of Us", advised the federal government to review and change strategy as well as execute such with precision. His words: "While I have no interest in partisan bickering at the moment, I also cannot allow the mere fact of my political affiliation to silence me on this transcendent issue. All Nigerians have a right and responsibility to let their voice be heard on this matter.

"Thus, I say what I believe must be said. If you think I do it for political purpose, so be it. Yet, I say it that I fulfill my civic responsibility as a citizen whose nation and way of life has been placed under siege by a hidden and sinister force. In this, I believe what I say speaks for most progressives today. "We stand united against this threat to our national existence. The twin-bombings in Nyanya are a challenge to us all. The explosion was craven attempt to demoralise the nation by striking an important transportation hub in our beloved nation's capital. The second bombing stands as an act of evil defiance of constituted authority. "The terrorists now try to frighten us by showing that our security forces are unable to stop them, even in our nation's capital. However, whatever terrible lesson they think they teach us, we refuse to learn. Our classroom is life, liberty and justice. We do not take lessons in oppression, fear, hatred and death from them or anyone else. Whatever they think they won by this bloodletting, they have lost. They have made implacable enemies of every man, woman and child in Nigeria. We shall prevail. Boko Haram shall lose"

While calling on all Nigerians to lend their voices to the matter, Tinubu insisted the President Goodluck Jonathan's government should do the needful and step up to the plate. "Ultimately, it is the people who will defeat Boko Haram. If the people were to see government as their ally and true guardian, Boko Haram will have no space to operate. Right now, it operates in the space created by widespread indifference and cynicism," Tinubu said. Consequently, he outlined five important ways through which the government by way of policy could tackle the root cause of the present security menace and make Nigerians more secured. His suggestions include: "First, government must admit its sole military approach is inadequate. Second, to address these aspects of the crisis, government needs to reach out to northern Nigeria, especially those areas most blighted by terrorism. Much of that part of the nation now suffers severe economic depression. "Third, government must refine its military operations. The military's hand has been too heavy and indiscriminate. It has committed abuses against the innocent in its clumsy attempt to pursue Boko Haram. These offences only increase the pool of disaffected people from which Boko Haram recruits.

"Fourth, government must improve its intelligence-gathering capacity. This is partly a function of the people's disposition towards government. Fifth, this challenge has a regional dimension. Elements of terrorism are now trafficked across regional borders. As the largest nation in West Africa and the nation most affected by this problem, Nigeria has the standing to convene a regional summit to discuss with our neighbours ways to end this problem before it becomes a hot and a issue for our neighbours as well." The APC national leader submitted that the nation faces a dilemma and that with each passing day, the likelihood that some of the girls might be transported across the border or suffer in their current surroundings increases. "The people rightfully demand action to free our children but whatever action government takes must be geared to saving these children not to 'doing something' just to avert the political pressure. Government must act with purpose and urgency but also with prudence and compassion for our captured, distressed children.

"This will require greater levels of coordination and planning by our security than we have heretofore witnessed. With all reasonable dispatch, we ask the government to plan strategically and execute with precision and care. "This nation needs her children back and all of us, regardless of political stripe, religion, region and origin, stand behind government as long as government does its utmost to win back the lives of our daughters." Meanwhile, women in Ogun State yesterday joined other compatriots to condemn the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, urging the federal government to map out new strategies that would ensure the immediate release of the schoolgirls abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State. In a protest led by the wives of the President Olusegun Obasanjo, Bola Obasanjo, state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, ljaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Mrs. Shodipo Clerk, as well as the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Alaba Lawson, the women trooped out to protest against the abduction of the girls by the Boko Haram sect. Speaking while delivering the letter on behalf of other mothers, Amosun said they were joining other women across the globe to identify with the abducted girls and their parents who are going through hard times, pointing out that what happened to them could happen to anybody.

"Today, we women of Ogun all join our faith to lend our voices to the call by other women in the country and across the world, we want to show our sympathy for the school girls that were kidnapped in their hostels in Chibok and identify with their parents in this trying times," she said. On are part, Mrs. Clark, who visited Abeokuta to re-validate her membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ward 2 in Ikija, said: "I think in the first place, the adoption of the children is very unfortunate and it is very tragic that children should be handled and to be abducted at all."

She said: "I also feel that it is unfortunate that we are having a war in this country, I wouldn't call it a war on terrorism, I will call it a war on innocent because a war on children is a war on innocent. It is a war on future generation and I believe that federal government is doing the best it can. This is a call for us all in the community that security is not something that we should leave for the government." While speaking on role played by the women, she said she was excited with the role women are playing, saying "women are family builders. Therefore, we should also move towards nation builders."

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