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Insecurity: Jonathan Slams Govs for Shifting Blame onto FG

| April 20, 2014 More

Says failure to provide elementary education responsible for insurgency

Emmanuel Bello, Chuks Okocha   and Segun Awofadeji 

President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday in Bauchi condemned some governors of states with raging security challenges for trying to make the federal government responsible for their own failure to take firm actions to reduce the incentives for insurgency among the youth in their respective states.
Jonathan spoke in Bauchi at the Peoples Democratic Party North-east unity rally held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium.

The president said he was a deputy governor and governor of Bayelsa State for a cumulative period of eight years and knew the responsibilities of a state governor with regard to the fight against insecurity. He regretted that some governors who were now blaming the federal government for the spate of insecurity in their states had been in office for about seven years and had been unable to give their youth the right conditions, like education, that would prevent them from being easy prey for criminal and terrorist organisations. The allegation was in apparent reference to Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, who had recently criticised the federal government for failing in its duty to stop insurgency in the North-east.

The president’s comments came as chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, said the North was frustrated with its place within Nigeria, but was still committed to the unity of the country. Coomassie, a former Inspector General of Police, said in an interview with THISDAY that the region was facing many unpleasant situations that seem to force it to reconsider its place in Nigeria. He alleged that the North had been abandoned with its security challenges and treated as if it was not actually welcomed in the country anymore.

But Jonathan said in Bauchi that the children that governors of the insurgency-prone states had failed to give education were the ones being used by some people to cause trouble in the North-east. He said the governors should be ashamed of talking about bad leadership.

“I spent eight years at the state level and handled security challenges in Bayelsa State. It was the state where the first commercial kidnapping took place. More than 70 per cent of the state is slums. I was deputy governor and governor in that state and we know how we handled things,” the president said.
In a rather pointed reference to the Borno State governor, Jonathan said, “A governor will come and say bad leadership, the question to ask is, bad leadership from who? If we have security issues, whether Boko Haram or kidnappers or whatever, these are people who could not have primary school education, could not have secondary education and they have no hope. And miscreants, criminals recruit them and use them. If you see what they wear, they wear rags, they don’t wear normal cloths. All they put on is not worth N10 but they carry assault rifles with bullets that are worth more than N250, 000. Somebody gives them food to eat so that they will have strength to kill.

“You ask, how do we build army of unemployed youths? The federal government does not control primary and secondary education and a governor has been on seat for almost eight years and he has people in that state that can’t go to primary or secondary school. He has so many children who do not go to school and he opens his mouth and says bad leadership.”

The president said the federal government had been playing its own role in education, saying, “I made sure that every state had a university, that is the responsibility of the federal government and I have done it…
“Governors must make sure that our students and our children go to primary schools and secondary schools. Somebody hides under the cover of politics and he cannot do his work for eight years or seven years. You still have so many children in their states not going to primary schools, not going to secondary school and you open your mouth to say bad leadership. The federal government should come and make your children in primary and nursery schools to go to school?

“Is it the federal government or Mr. President that will come and send your children to secondary schools?
“Federal Government, by our constitution, faces only tertiary education.” Despite the constitutional provision, he said the federal government had intervened at the primary education level with the provision of Almajiri education, in collaboration with the states.
He said he had ensured that each of the 12 states that did not have universities when he came on board now have at least one.

“I have done my part and we will make sure that we fund these universities and improve the quality of education in these universities, but the state governors must do their job,” the president said.
He, however, acknowledged the security challenge faced by the North-east, saying that his government is taking steps to ensure security of lives and property in the zone and the country, generally.

But Coomassie told THISDAY at the weekend that the federal government had not done enough to arrest the rising spate of insecurity in the North. He spoke in response to the veiled threat last week by the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Mustapha Barkindo, at the ongoing national conference that his kingdom in the North could consider withdrawing formally from Nigeria and joining their kith and kin in Cameroon if conditions in Nigeria became unbearable.

The former police boss said Barkido spoke out of a frustration shared by many northerners, stressing that the authorities should not dismiss his angry outburst.

“The Lamido is a ruler and he has the right to express himself. The truth is many things are currently frustrating us in the North. As a leader of this region I get worried every day. So the Lamido is only expressing a collective fear and opinion,” Coomassie said, stressing, “But I must add quickly that we are committed to the unity of Nigeria. I don’t see a break up coming and I don’t subscribe to any call for succession, having played a central role in the union of the country.”

He said, “The North is hounded by all sorts of ills. The bloodshed is becoming too much. We are becoming like a people left to themselves without any form of protection. The North is today backward and suffering. The frustration is, indeed, rising. And the sooner something is done about this, the better for the polity.”
On the agenda of the North at the national dialogue, the former IGP said, “We have an agenda but I can’t tell you that now because I’m a co-chair of the region at the confab. So when we all sit and decide I would let you know what the agenda of the North is to the conference.”

However, in Bauchi, Jonathan said more than 60 per cent of Nigerians were in PDP and advised people of the North-east to keep faith with the party and its programmes.

He attributed the recent loss of some PDP states to the All Progressives Congress to the tendency by the past national leadership of PDP to foist unpopular candidates on the states. He assured that PDP would reclaim Adamawa State and win in Borno and Yobe states in the next elections.

In his speech at the North-east rally, Vice President Namadi Sambo disclosed that the federal government had approved the counterpart funding of $1.7 billion for the Mambila Hydro Power Plant in Taraba State to provide 3,050 megawatts of electricity for the North-east.  He said, “This project alone on completion will transform the whole North-east, northern region, and, indeed, Nigeria, as a whole, because we will have an added power of 3,050 megawatts in this region.”

Sambo also announced that approval had been given for the construction of the multi-billion naira Kafin Zaki dam in Bauchi, which had been abandoned for decades. He assured that the schools that were recently closed in the North-east due to insurgency will soon be re-opened.

In his address, the national chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, described PDP as the largest and most transparent party in the country. He announced the readiness of the National Working Committee of the party under his leadership to continue to reconcile members in all the states to ensure the success of the party at the 2015 elections. “This party has chance for everyone. You don’t need godfathers, but all you need is Almighty God, the God of Adam and Eve.”

Speaking on the interventions of the Jonathan government in the North, Minister of Information Labaran Maku said out of the 13 federal universities established by the federal government in the last four years, 10 were located in the North, with the North-east having three.

Maku disclosed that the federal government had established 125 Alimajiri schools in the North, which he said were furnished and handed over to the state governments to manage.

Also speaking, the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, called on insurgents in the North-east to surrender and lay down their arms for peace to reign in the zone, in particular, and the country, in general. He also called on elders and leaders in the North to talk to their youth in order to resolve the insecurity challenge. “We are a peace-loving country; this is not our behaviour in this country because we are God-fearing people. So we must live in peace with one another, irrespective of our culture and religious differences, because we cannot enjoy Nigeria without peaceful coexistence,” Akpabio said.

On his part, Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda said the party was a peaceful and united family. He commended Jonathan for his transformation agenda in the North-east zone.
Yuguda, however, solicited the support of the federal government in the construction of the Kafin Zaki dam, which he said if constructed would create about two million jobs for the people of Bauchi and Yobe states.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Power, Hon. Mohammad Wakil, has disclosed that the rebuilding of the Borno State chapter of PDP had commenced in earnest. He said the target was to retake the state from APC.  Wakil made the assertions while addressing leaders and delegates of the state’s chapter of PDP on the sidelines of the North-east zonal rally in Bauchi.

Category: Bauchi State News

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