From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
On Wednesday, the Federal Government responded to some senators’ threat to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari by stating that it is working around the clock to bring the country’s security situation under control.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this while responding to questions by State House Correspondents after the week’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, however lauded the senators for their patriotism and concerns, saying steps are being taken to address concerns.
Senators from opposition political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), chastised President Buhari on Wednesday for the country’s deteriorating security situation, giving him a six-week deadline to address the issue or face impeachment proceedings.
Mohammed said “resolution passed by Senators, as rightly said, it was passed when we were deliberating, but we thank them for their patriotism and their concern, but we are working round the clock, 24 hours, to ensure that the situation is brought under control.
“I want to assure you that the President is aware of all these and as a matter of fact, I think tomorrow there’s going to be another Security Council meeting. So, it’s not a matter the President is taking lightly and like I’ll always, say some of the measures we’re going to take are not measure that you can discuss openly here, but we’re as concerned as you are, we’re not going to abandon our responsibility.”
The Minister also described the reported threat by terrorists to kidnap the President as laughable and mere propaganda.
“As to those who have issued threats to Mr. President, I think it’s more of propaganda than anything. It’s laughable.”
Mohammed also said that council approved a memo by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, for a standard operation procedure on maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum seekers in Cameroon.
The Minister said: “You all know that due to the insurgency in Cameroon, Nigeria has witnessed an influx of Cameroonian asylum seekers and there’s basic standard procedures for you to be granted status as an asylum seeker.
“This is what the council considered and approved today. And basically is that anybody from Cameroon who’s seeking asylum in Nigeria must first convinced the authorities that he or she has actually renounced armed struggle, before you can even be considered as an asylum seeker.
“Also they are cases of some of them who have come even when they claim to have surrendered their arms, go back at times, to join the separatist movement in Cameroon. So, the procedure was explained and approved today that will evaluate the basic criteria to grant asylum.”
Asked why the issue of Asylum seekers should be considered at this time that the country was facing security challenges, Mohammed said: “The issue of the standard operating procedure for asylum seekers from Cameroon is not a matter that started today. The issue of the separatist movement in Cameroon is many years old and everyday, because of the proximity of Cameroon to Nigeria, we’ve witnessed an influx of refugees, seeking asylum, and under international regulations, there are certain procedures you must take for asylum seekers.
“So, all we have done today is to establish the standard procedure to ensure that those who claim to be asylum seekers are actually not insurgents themselves that have come to destabilize Nigeria or people who will come and be launching attacks against their own country from the comfort of Nigeria.”