Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described as ‘irresponsible politics’, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s declaration of seven days of mourning over what it called, sad and unfortunate killings in Plateau State, over the weekend.
The Presidency also said in the 16 years of PDP rule, over 22,000 citizens were killed in ethnic and communal clashes including those killed by Boko Haram but the former ruling party never declared national mournings.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the nation was in a period of distress and sorrow which calls for deep introspection on how cheap human lives had become and not a time to dance on the graves of the dead, playing cheap and infantile politics.
The Presidential spokesman described PDP as a “comatose and prostrate party” which has also decided to fly its flag at half mast nationwide, saying its flags had been forcefully lowered by Nigerians since 2015 when it was defeated at the polls. Adesina said PDP’s flag wouild remain lowered for a long time because Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics.
The statement read, “The sad and unfortunate killings in Plateau State over the weekend have been turned to opportunity to once again play irresponsible politics, particularly by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which says it is declaring seven days of mourning.
“These are dolorous times that call for deep introspection on how cheap human lives have become, and the proffering of actionable ideas on how to get out of the bind. But the PDP would rather dance on the graves of the dead, playing cheap, infantile politics.
“The comatose and prostrate party is declaring seven days of mourning, during which flags in its offices would be flown at half mast nationwide.
“But unknown to the party, those flags had been forcefully lowered since its 2015 loss at the polls, and may remain so for a long time to come, because Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics.
“A quick checklist of some savage and brutal killings in Nigeria during PDP rule, between 1999 and 2015, for which no national mourning was declared:
– November 20, 1999. Odi, in Bayelsa State, was invaded on orders of a PDP President. About 2,500 people killed. No national mourning.
– Between February and May, 2000, about 5,000 people were killed during riots over Sharia law in different parts of the North. No national mourning.
– In 2001, hundreds of people, including the old, infirm, women and children were killed in Zaki Biam. No crocodile tears.
– Between September 7-12, 2001, Jos, Plateau State, erupted in internecine killings. Between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. Flags were not flown at half mast.
– In February, 2004, at least 975 people were killed in Yelwa-Shendam, Plateau State. No mourning by the then ruling PDP.
– Between November 28 and 29, 2008, Jos was in flames again, with 381 deaths.
– In 2010, 992 people killed in Jos. Mum was the word.
– In 2014 alone, according to Global Terrorism Index, at least 1,229 people were killed in the Middle Belt. No mourning.
– Boko Haram killings in PDP years were over 10,000. PDP flags were still fluttering proudly in the sky.
“Those who take pleasure in twisting statements from the Presidency may claim we are saying that many more people were killed under PDP than under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It would be unconscionable to do so. The intendment of this statement is to show that wanton killings had been with us for awhile; this government is working towards enduring solutions and should be given the opportunity to do so.
“Even a single soul is precious, and no man should take a life, which he cannot create. But when tragic situations as had happened in Plateau State occur, such should never be used to play crude politics. Those who are wont to do so should have change of hearts, or lose their very humanity,” the statement said.