From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Former military governor of Kaduna State, Col.Abubakar Umar (retd) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of giving undue attention to leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, instead of focusing on deadly activities of bandits and kidnappers who are ravaging the country, particularly North West and North East regions.
Umar in a statement in Kaduna said: “Activities of those criminals have resulted in the evacuation of over 20 per cent of villages in North West and North East. Hundreds are being murdered and maimed every week. Many more are kidnapped for ransom. Millions have been rendered internally displaced, facing disease and starvation.”
The former military governor who faulted earlier claim by the Federal Government that it had defeated Boko Haram, saying it was an empty propaganda, decried the undue publicity given to seperatists agitators.
“The recent rearrest of the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was greeted with a loud sigh of relief and celebration in some sections of the country. It also elicited congratulatory messages to the Federal government which appears overwhelmed by the intractable security challenges and in dire need of any redeeming act. This is clearly an exaggeration of the security threat Nnamdi Kanu and indeed IPOB pose to our nation’s security and unity.
“It is quite strange and disturbing that the Federal Government is according undue attention to the threats of separatist movements in contrast to the more daunting ones posed by bandits, kidnappers and insurgents in the North West, some parts of North Central and North East.
“Over one thousand school children were abducted in the past eight months with over 300 still in the hands of the bandits and kidnappers demanding humongous ransom payments. Rape of women and young girls has become a daily occurrence. Most economic activities, particularly farming, which is the mainstay of the people in these areas, are now all but impossible.
“Government’s earlier claim of having technically defeated the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East has turned out to be empty propaganda. Contrary to this claim,the enemy has morphed into a more determined and deadly force, threatening to overrun the whole of the North East.”
He said for the average Northerner living in these zones, who is barely aware of the activities of separatists, banditry, kidnappings and insurgency are of greater threat and concern to him.
“In recognizing or reasserting the right of every citizen or groups to express their desire for self determination, one does not support or condone the use of violence for such purpose. IPOB and its leader may well be responsible for some of the violence, including the murder of security personnel, arson and destruction of public and private properties for which they should be held to account. We must however be honest enough to identify the cause of the current growing restiveness in the South East. By all means government needs to deploy nonviolent means in addressing the problem. It is self-evident that justice, fairness and equity are the best means of building a united and virile nation, particularly one as diverse and fragile as Nigeria.
“It is my long held view that this country’s is more beneficial to all the federating units, if only because it provides a security umbrella to all its units.”