…says FG, Kaduna State working together to secure Kaduna varsity students’ freedom
…Chides PDP on insecurity, says banditry, kidnapping are stated, not federal offences
As the spate of attacks and violent killings rises nationwide, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday said that the Federal Government was trailing those behind the mayhem with a view to unmasking and prosecuting the masterminds of the dastardly acts.
The minister assured that both the federal and Kaduna State governments were working together to ensure the release of the remaining students of the Greenfield University, who had been in the captivity of their abductors since last month.
The minister made the declarations while addressing a press conference at the National Press Centre in Abuja on Tuesday in response to the media briefing by the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday, during which the main opposition party chided the Buhari administration for not doing enough to curb insecurity and for running a government of exclusion.
But at the press conference, Mohammed trolled the PDP for its comments, accusing the opposition of the party of leaving the main issue to play to the gallery in order to score cheap political mileage.
Mohammed also trolled the PDP for saying that the federal government had not done enough to bring bandits, kidnappers and other criminals to justice, pointing out that banditry and kidnapping are stated, and not federal offences, for which the federal government should prosecute.
The minister said that what the opposition party did in the name of offering suggestions on how to stem rising insecurity in the country was nothing more than engaging in gimmickry and playing to the gallery in order to score cheap political mileage, given that it had really nothing new to offer to Nigerians.
Also read: Insecurity: FG’s Town Hall meeting recommends state police — Lai Mohammed
Mohammed pointed out that contrary to the PDP’s allegation, the APC government had been routinely engaging with relevant stakeholders through the institutionalisation of its now-famous “Town Hall Meeting Project” with Nigerians, a project the Buhari administration initiated in 2016.
The minister said, “As you are definitely aware, the PDP addressed a press conference yesterday, ostensibly to offer suggestions to the Federal Government on some topical issues, especially national security. The main opposition party said it was dropping the toga of politics in the national interest.
“Unfortunately, the PDP did not respect its own words, as it played cheap politics while playing the ostrich. The party went ahead to make wild accusations against the President and his government. For example, the PDP said the government has refused to engage, and that we were running a ‘government of exclusion’.
“The opposition party then went ahead to reel out a number of suggestions as a way out of the current challenges facing the nation. Unfortunately, the recommendations by the PDP have exposed the opposition party’s gimmickry and the fact that it was merely playing politics with serious national issues, especially security.
“Had it not been so, and had it done its homework properly, the PDP would have known that most of those same recommendations were already contained in the outcome of the Federal Government’s Town Hall Meeting on National Security, which was held in Kaduna on April 8th 2021.
“The PDP accused this Federal Government of not engaging and of running a government of exclusion, forgetting, conveniently, that this Federal Government has consistently engaged Nigerians on topical national issues, including security, the fight against corruption, terrorism, infrastructure and farmer-herder conflict.
“The Town Hall Meeting series, which we launched in 2016, has so far been held 18 times across Nigeria. It’s always a no-holds-barred opportunity for the government to engage with critical stakeholders, briefing them on government policies and programmes and getting their feedback, thus ensuring inclusion and deepening of democracy.
“The latest of such Town Hall Meetings was the one in Kaduna which I referred to earlier. I will go ahead and read the 10-point recommendations from that Town Hall Meeting, and you can then judge for yourself who is ahead of the other.
“Now, we have gone a step further. We have taken those resolutions to the National Economic Council, Chaired by His Excellency the Vice President, and which also includes all the state governors.
“As a prelude to adopting the recommendations, the NEC has directed all state governors to organize state-wide consultation on them, and then
revert to the Council in its next meeting.
“You can now see that the PDP was more interested in playing politics with national challenges than helping to find solutions to them. They presented as original thinking some of the same resolutions that we are already working to implement, without a single reference to those same recommendations that emanated from our Town Hall Meeting of April 8th 2021.
“They disparaged Mr President and the Federal Government, engaged in name-calling and finger-pointing, gloated about the security challenges facing the nation, lied about how they resolved security challenges under their watch and then went ahead to say, at their hysterical press conference, that they have not come to play politics. Who is fooling who here?
“The PDP alleged that kidnappers and bandits are not being brought to justice.
This is apparently aimed at the Federal Government. It is shocking that the party that ruled this nation for all of 16 years does not know that kidnapping and banditry are not federal offences.
The PDP should therefore call out the states, including those being controlled by it to ensure a rigorous prosecution of arrested kidnappers and bandits.
“Meanwhile, PDP conveniently forgot that as far as terrorism, a federal offence, is concerned, this Federal Government has successfully prosecuted thousands of Boko Haram members in Kainji, as part of a continuing exercise. We are now seeking the cooperation of the judiciary to continue with the trial of arrested terrorists,” the minister said.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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