President Goodluck Jonathan has lashed out at the All Progressives Congress, APC, after the party accused him of not being serious about the welfare and security needs of the nation’s security agencies as evidenced by the Ombatse killings in Nasarawa State in May 2013.
Mr. Jonathan said the party demonstrated “insensitivity and crass opportunism” by making the allegation.
The APC Presidential Campaign Council had accused Mr. Jonathan of not taking serious the welfare and safety needs of members of the nation’s security personnel in a statement issued Monday by its spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
The statement said Mr. Jonathan was prepared to trade the welfare and security needs of the security personnel for political gains.
Over 100 policemen and operatives of the State Security Service, SSS, were killed on May 7, 2013.
They were on a mission to arrest the spiritual leader of Ombatse cult in Alakiyo village Nasarawa when members of the cult ambushed them.
APC said the inability of the Jonathan administration to virtually do nothing since the killings is the most glaring example of how callous and uncaring a government, which claims to be democratic, can be.
The APC also said in serious countries, government does not toy with the lives and well-being of its security men, adding that that any act of violence on security personnel is viewed and handled like an assault on the nation as a whole.
“The action of the US and French authorities when terrorists attacked their Police personnel on duty is a case in point.
“These governments did not rest until the perpetrators were eliminated and investigation is still continuing to get to the root cause of the assault to prevent future occurrence,” it said.
Mr. Jonathan’s campaign team responded in a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Femi Fani-Kayode.
The statement said the allegations by the APC campaign team shows how the desperation of its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, for power has pushed it into a frenzied search for any imaginable reason or ground to accuse Mr. Jonathan of incompetence in the handling of security matters.
It said the crisis that led to the death of the security personnel, in the first instance, was as a result of in-fighting within the political echelons of Nasarawa State, which is controlled by the APC.
“As is the case with the Boko Haram insurgency, after the APC has wilfully exacerbated a dangerous security situation through its unguarded utterances and encouragement to rogue elements within its ranks, the party now turns around and tries to profit from further politicization of the fallout of a heinous deed in which it is complicit.
“This marks a desperate low for the APC and is tantamount to a new form of political voodoo, which involves trying to raise political capital and electoral sympathy from the deaths of our brave fallen security personnel,” the statement said.
Mr. Jonathan’s team also condemned in the strongest language what it described as the “APC’s insensitivity and opportunism”.
It also said Mr. Jonathan had already established a mechanism to determine the immediate and remote causes of the unfortunate Ombatse killings.
“In addition, while nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, families of the fallen security personnel were compensated,” it said.
It added that since there is still an ongoing process to bring the perpetrators of the crime to book and forestall a recurrence, “we will not join the APC in the distasteful exploitation of the deaths of our security personnel for political gains”.