Groups want FG to urgently address the problem of insurgency.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has expressed shock at Wednesday’s bomb attacks in Kaduna that targeted one of its leaders, Muhammadu Buhari, and a prominent cleric, Dahiru Bauchi, and left hordes of innocent civilians dead or injured.
It also sent its condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
In a statement on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the attempted assassination of Mr. Buhari had changed the narrative about the insurgent group and “knocked the bottom off the sinister, irresponsible and partisan colouration given to the insurgency by the Federal Government.”
APC said while no one had yet claimed responsibility for the attack, the mere fact that it occurred at all was a “lose-lose” situation for the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
“Whether it is Boko Haram or not, one thing remains: This government has failed woefully in its core constitutional duty of protecting the security and welfare of the citizenry. And we mean all the citizens, not just the leaders!” the party said.
The party implied that the recent attack on Mr. Buhari, if a handiwork of Boko Haram, has cast doubts on government’s claims that the APC and Mr. Buhari were core sympathisers of the group.
“Whatever happens now, the satanic and repulsive theory of the PDP-led FG that the opposition APC is using Boko Haram to truncate the administration of Jonathan is up in flames. Therefore, it is time for them to change the narrative, see Boko Haram for what it is – an enemy of Nigeria – and rally the citizenry, irrespective of their political, ethnic or religious affiliation, behind the government’s efforts to tackle it decisively,” the APC said.
APC said as a first step, Mr. Jonathan must immediately stop the wasteful contract he signed with the US-based firm Levick to help demonise the APC as the sponsor of Boko Haram, and to demonise any Nigerian perceived to be an enemy of the government.
It noted that it was this kind of “demonization”, using pseudo and out-of-job analysts that helped to set the stage for the failed assassination attempt against Mr. Buhari.
”Then the President must address Nigerians to tell them that Boko Haram is not just an enemy of his government, it is an enemy of the opposition, of Christians, of Muslims and of the different ethnic groups,” the party said. “Instead of dividing Nigerians along religious, ethnic and political lines, President Jonathan should borrow a leaf from his predecessors. Obasanjo never said the Niger Delta militancy was aimed at his government or his people, he tackled it headlong.
Yar’Adua it was who finally ended the militancy, without saying it was aimed at his government or his people.”
APC reiterated its earlier stand that only a non-partisan approach will galvanise Nigerians against Boko Haram, which is rooted more in the years of bad governance that have resulted in mass unemployment, massive corruption, economic imbalances and made the youth to become hopeless, thus creating an army of willing tools for criminal activities
It also repeated its offer to work with the Federal Government to battle Boko Haram and its call for a national stakeholders’ conference to help fashion out a comprehensive counter-insurgent blueprint for the nation.
APC said rather than just throwing money at what had now become a bottomless pit, rather than creating the avenue for some unpatriotic citizens to feed fat on the insurgency, the Federal Government should engage in new thinking.
Also reacting to the twin bombing Kaduna incident, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, urged the Federal Government to urgently take steps to halt the escalating security challenges in the country, saying it had reached an embarrassing proportion.
He said a situation where a former Head of State and key opposition figure could be targeted by terrorists or hatchet killers was a dangerous development, which should not be taken lightly by any responsible Nigerian.
According to Mr. Abubakar, the targeting of Mr. Buhari, whatever might be the motive or whoever could be behind it, had added a dangerous dimension to a bad security situation in the country.
He explained that the attack on Mr. Buhari had only deepened the anxiety of ordinary citizens that nobody was safe if a former Head of State could be so targeted and almost killed but for providence.
The former vice president noted that while it was the duty of all leaders regardless of political affiliation to support the anti-terrorism efforts in the country, it would not be wise to keep quiet when events are taking a disturbing dimension.
He observed that while public support was essential to fighting insecurity, the government also had the task of reassuring the citizens that its measures and strategies are working to justify the huge expenditures on security.
Mr. Abubakar maintained that sustainable public support for these counter-terrorism efforts depends largely on the results being achieved. He also maintained that it is beyond his comprehension why terrorists and assassins operate with maximum ease, undetected and unmolested by anybody.
He explained that his opinion had nothing to do with politics, but about the larger interest of Nigeria of which he is a player and that he was embarrassed by the frequency and brutality with which terrorists and other criminals commit atrocities without detection.
He urged security agencies to rise to the deteriorating security challenges by deploying needed software and hardware to intelligence gathering.
He restated that the security, welfare and the happiness of the citizens were basic functions of every government and therefore no leader should be happy with a situation where the citizens become captives of fear feel abandoned to their fates.
He expressed his condolences to the families of the bereaved while urging that no effort should be spared in attending to the injured in need of medical attention.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, described the twin blasts “as cruel, barbaric and heinous crime.”
According to him, the targeting of prominent persons as seen from the blasts was both regrettable and condemnable.
In a statement by his media aide, Imam Imam, Mr. Tambuwal said killing of innocent persons could not be justified under any guise and that whoever was behind the Kaduna incidents should be pursued and brought to justice.
While thanking God that the apparent targets of the attacks, Messrs. Buhari and Dahiru Bauchi escaped unhurt, the Speaker expressed sadness over the loss of innocent lives.
“Our sympathy and condolences are with the families of the victims of the blast. Their loved ones did not die in vain,” he added.
The Speaker prayed for the quick recovery of those injured or traumatised by the dastardly acts.
A former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva said the apparent assassination attempt on Mr. Buhari was “a spineless assault on the voice of conscience in Nigeria by bigoted terrorists and their political sponsors seeking evil attention.”
Mr. Sylva, in a statement by his media aide, Doifie Buokoribo, said Nigerians, by their traditions and religions, were a naturally peaceful people and that those who promote or indulge in this campaign of death and destruction would have no place to hide from the wrath and curse of God and men.
“We are embarrassed by President Jonathan’s poor handling of the security problem and a situation where the government has allowed its sense of partisanship to overshadow the needed political, economic, and social will to tackle the insurgency,” Mr. Sylva, who is also a chieftain of the APC, said.
The former governor noted that in civilised societies, opposition leaders as of right enjoy more protection from the government than even those in government, stressing, “Murder is the worst form of censorship and this government has become increasingly notorious for attempting to permanently silence voices of opposition.”
He sympathised with the families of all those that died and those that were injured in the twin bomb blasts targeted at Mr. Buhari and the prominent Islamic cleric, Dahiru Bauchi, two men who have been frankly critical of the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism in all forms.
Mr. Sylva called on the Federal Government to take “more sincere steps to protect the lives and property of citizens, which is its primary responsibility.”
In its reaction, the United Progressive Party, UPP, condemned the bomb blasts, describing them as “outrageous, barbaric and reprehensible.”
“We condemn terrorism in all its ramifications and will resist bomb blasts targeted at political leaders in the country. It is man’s inhumanity to man and a giant step backward in the quest at building a strong democratic nation,” it said in a statement by its spokesperson, Ogbuehi Dike.
The party said it was unfortunate that the terrorists carried out these dastardly acts on the holy month of Ramadan when true Moslems had been fasting and praying for the nation.
A civil society group, The Voters Assembly, VOTAS condemned “the unfortunate and unjustifiable assassination attempt on the life of Retired General Mohamed Buhari who recently warned the nation on the bad shape of politics and security in the land.”
The group said in a statement by its president, Mashood Erubami, that it joined Mr. Jonathan in thanking God for spearing Nigerians of the grieve, anguish and frustration that they would have gone through had the clearly targeted evil been successful.