The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday stated that what Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu recently interpreted as worsening cases of Boko Haram attacks under the current administration were actually the “desperate pangs of a dying monster,” and that the terrorists had been uprooted by the Buhari administration.
But in a swift reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Oliseh Metuh said the APC was free to play politics and make claims with the Boko Haram attacks and that the PDP was deeply interested in the safety of the lives of all Nigerians.
In the statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said if Ekweremadu had leveraged his high office to get the necessary information from those involved in the Boko Haram fight, especially the Nigerian military, “he would not have made the kind of partisan and incautious comments attributed to him – and which he has not denied.”
The APC claimed that the truth of the matter was that Boko Haram, having been uprooted from its hideouts and put on the run, had become very desperate, “hence it is now using its last arsenal to inflict as much damage as it can before it is annihilated, which is just a matter of time.”
Mohammed said: “Lone wolf suicide bombings and the choice of soft targets by retreating gunmen are now the order of the day, as against the terrorists' previous coordinated actions of seizing and holding territories.'
“Contrary to what Ekweremadu said, the terrorists have been weakened by the more methodical and focused approach of the present administration to the anti-terror fight, which includes the tightening of security at border locations that has made it difficult for the terrorists to maneuver. This approach is a far cry from the previous haphazard activities.”
It said the necessary structures for the effective coordination of the battle against the terrorists have been put in place both within and outside the country, “thanks to the regional rallying efforts of the Buhari administration.”
Mohammed continued: ''Now, due to the government's broad consultations, vital international input and support have become more real and are adding value to the counter-terrorism campaign.
With the Nigeria-led Multi-National Joint Task Force due to be deployed by month's end, it is a matter of time for Boko Haram to be defeated. This monster cannot and will not survive.
''Against this background of a more purposeful and coordinated approach to the Boko Haram battle, Nigerians are assured that the senseless killings and maiming that have characterised one of the most brutal terrorist campaigns ever will soon be over. Nigerians, not least those who should know better, should therefore refrain from making comments that can only serve to create panic rather than alleviate the situation.''
The PDP National Publicity Secretary described Ekweremadu’s position on the Boko Haram crisis as just and patriotic.
He said the Deputy Senate President was apparently worried about the persistent killings and had offered his help and that of the National Assembly to curb the killings.
Metuh added: PDP as a party is not interested in taking credit. We will support the President and the legislature to curb terrorism. What we want is for the lives of every Nigerian to be safe.” Ekweremadu Clarifies Comment on Insurgency…
Also yesterday, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu explained that at no time did he call Buhari names over the upsurge of terrorism in the nation as erroneously misconstrued.
Ekweremadu in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, said his comment which was only meant to rally Nigerians' support for the government in the battle against insurgency was borne out of genuine concern.
The statement added that whereas Ekweremadu would never shy away from making constructive criticisms where necessary, it was callous to twist his comment to score cheap political points.
The statement reads: "The attention of the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate has been drawn to the attempt to misrepresent and sensationalise an innocuous call Ekweremadu to Nigerians to pray for and rally round the federal government to win the war against insurgency.
"Specifically, the Deputy President of the Senate was reported by two national dailies as stating that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had worsened insurgency.
"Whereas Senator Ekweremadu expressed concerns over the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks in parts of the country, at no time did he try to blame it on the present administration. It is instead on record that he not only commended the efforts of the present administration, especially in building international support and synergy to tackle the monstrous group, but he also called for greater inter-party, intergovernmental, and international collaboration to address the problem.
“The fact that out of the 75-man Senate Press Corps, representing various media houses, which were present at the function, only one medium sensationally skewed his statement out of context, while a second medium copied the same story without a byline (name of reporter), tells the whole story of a devious intent.
"Whereas the Deputy President of the Senate, as a lawmaker, will not shy away from presenting constructive criticism where and when appropriate, to twist an otherwise harmless concern expressed by him to suit a narrow and inordinate agenda is a most callous disrespect to the thousands of souls who have perished in the hands of terrorists in the country.
“More important, certain matters, especially challenges like terrorism and insurgency, which have wasted lives and property of innocent Nigerians and many of our loved ones are beyond politics and should therefore not be trivalised on the alter of narrow political interest.”
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