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Posts tagged ‘Buni Yadi’

President Jonathan’s Curious Silence On Wendell Simlin – Karo Orovboni.


By Karo Orovboni

If you are reading this article then you are privileged and fortunate enough to afford internet connection; I say privileged because there are millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to eat three square meals a day, not to even conceive paying for an internet service.

Regardless of whom you speak with, they would concur when you pose this statement that we need a better Nigeria. Having agreed on that, it would be difficult for some to agree to certain facts based on their sentiments to issues or loyalty to personalities and their pockets. The fact remains that Nigeria is what it is today because some people, through their actions or inactions have directly or indirectly affected Nigeria.

Another fact is that Boko Haram has hitherto been a thorn in the flesh of Nigeria; their recent attack and show of bestiality was on a boarding school in Buni Yadi, Yobe State; school children were killed. Now, please pause for a moment, think slowly about what would be going through the thoughts of the parents of those innocent children that were killed in their school. Think about how the parents would look back to the last time they saw their children, the last time the children said goodbye mum/dad. The parents would never have thought it would be the last goodbye they would say to their children, not to even conceive the children would be killed in such gruesome manner.

As this was still fresh in the minds of the parents and Nigerians at large, reports broke on how the special assistant to the president on new media, Reno Omokri, posed as “Wendell Simlin”. He sent out a write-up to media outfits, trying to link the suspended Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to the increased violent activities of Boko Haram in the north-east region of the country. But Reno Omokri was exposed, as the document was linked back to him, with various examples of seemingly concrete evidence.

Now imagine what would have happened had Reno Omokri (Wendell Simlin) succeeded in his smear job, he would have successfully sent Nigerians on a wild goose chase while Boko Haram continue to maim and kill innocent children. The media has been thronged with calls for Reno Omokri to be investigated, but this has been met with robust silence by the presidency, possibly in the hope that there will be calm or there will be another issue to cover this up and people will gradually forget that this ever happened. Well, we may forget, oh yes we may, but not until the parents of those innocent children that were killed forget about the pain of the death of their children.

Some have said Reno was just doing his job; I would advise that if a job description desires a candidate who must be able to: lie to his conscience, morals, and integrity – it’s not worth applying. A job that would be insensitive to the killings of innocent children is no job; but an insult to mankind; which further raises questions surrounding the integrity of your paymaster. Many will rather the status quo continues, for corruption, and injustice to remain, as long as they continue to make their money, but what about the downtrodden and the poor? What about those who have no voice and cannot be heard? You have a voice but what are you using it for? It is written that those that shut their ears to the cry of the poor will one day cry and will not be heard.

So I will like to join my voice with others and implore the president to break the silence on Wendell Simlin as the robust silence from the presidency is deafening. The president had promised to spare no sacred cow in bringing to justice all those involved in the evil perpetration and early termination of innocent souls, this is just the perfect time and avenue to do so. The fact that the story emanated from the presidency should itself prompt the president into swift action and make sure he gets to the bottom of the issue. Reno Omokri’s action is a grievous national security issue and should be treated as such.

There are some very important questions that are begging to be answered. Why did Reno Omokri write such a document? Was the purpose of his piece to disseminate false information just for political gain; are the lives of the children that cheap for people to play politics with – if this is true? Did he act alone or was he under orders? Does Reno know something about the incessant killings by Boko Haram that he may want to avail the security agents with? He may just know something that will help Nigeria nip Boko Haram in the bud once and for all.

We all owe Nigeria a duty to make sure issues like this are not swept underneath the carpet irrespective of what your bias is. If we choose to be silent, our silence on issues such as this may well turn out to be sinful silence. The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke. Whatever we do, posterity will judge us all by the role we played in whatever this nation becomes.

You can engage Karo on Twitter @Karo_Orovboni

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Boko Haram killed over 1,000 in one week –Borno Senator.


Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, Ahmed Zannah Khalifa, has alleged that over 1,000 people have been killed by the Boko Haram insurgents in the last one week in the North East region of the country.
Khalifa, who is representing Borno Central in the Senate, spoke on Sunday in an interview with the Daily Independent in Abuja.
He lamented that the casualties in various killings were high due to the inability of the armed forces operating in the area to contain the insurgency.
Khalifa, also a member of the Senate Committee on Industries, accused the Federal Government of not equipping the soldiers enough to be able to surmount the insurgents that have been terrorising the region in the last three years.
He insisted that the terrorist sect was still in full grip of Borno and Yobe states, pointing out that over 20 villages in the areas were under the control of the insurgents.
“Since there are no schools, no markets functioning in those villages, it shows that the Boko Haram are still in total control of the area,” Khalifa said.
Reacting to insinuations that most of the bombings were carried out by the security operatives, Khalifa, a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said: “We are still investigating whether the security personnel were responsible for the bombings. We are not sure yet. But after our investigation, we will be able to say whether there are complexities in the military operations or not”.
He, however, regretted that he had not been able to have access to President Goodluck Jonathan to narrate his ordeals to him in the midst of the crisis, adding that he has been under serious threat because of his position on the crisis in his area.
“I have no access to the President to tell him my ordeals. I have made effort several times to see him, but I could not. He is supposed to look for me as a sitting Senator, not me looking for him,” Khalifa lamented.
On the threat by the Northern elders to take former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, a retired General, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his alleged role in the crisis in the North East, the Senator said: “We are still gathering evidences against him. We have enough, but we are still gathering more. At the right time, we will come up with our position”.
Khalifa implored Jonathan to be more serious in the efforts towards eliminating the insurgents.
He reminded the President that he (President) was elected by the people of Nigeria without a drop of blood, urging him to do everything within his powers to stop the on-going bloodbath in the country.
Meanwhile, residents of Borno State are primed for a three-day fast beginning today and ending on Thursday to seek divine intervention in the resurgence of killings by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect.
According to Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai, who issued the directive on Monday in Maiduguri, the fast is to ask for Allah’s help in restoring peace to the state.
“I am appealing to all residents of the state to observe a three-day fasting to seek Allah’s mercy towards ending the crisis facing us”, he said.
“I believe we should continue to seek for Allah’s help toward restoring peace in the state.”
Ibn-Garbai bemoaned the human and material devastation caused by the renewed killings by the terrorists, saying there can be no other time to seek God’s intervention.
Although he said special prayers would be held in mosques and churches during the period, he further implored residents to remain relentless in their prayers afterwards.
Ibn-Garbal’s prayer-and-fasting directive came on the same day the Borno State Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) pleaded for the material and financial support of the Federal Government to bolster the contribution of its members to maintenance of peace in the state.
Spokesman of the group, Iliasu Saidu, said while vehicles would aid the movement of the 2,500-plus youths, an allowance would serve as a steady source of livelihood while also motivating them for the challenge.
“Borno is Nigeria and the people fomenting violence and the killings are Nigerians”, said Saidu, who revealed plans of the state government to recruit another 1,500 youths to the civilian group.
“If we can have assistance from the Federal Government, it will help us to achieve peace. Borno is a beautiful state that must not be taken over by hoodlums.”
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) again on Monday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to “take time off his premature electioneering campaign” to visit Yobe State to commiserate with the bereaved families of the school children who were brutally murdered by terrorists last month.
Fifty-nine students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, were massacre by the Boko Haram insurgents on March 25.
In a statement in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, APC said it is inconceivable that about two weeks after the “heart-wrenching killings of more than 29 schoolchildren, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has not deemed it fit to visit the state”.
It said far from being a mere formality, such a visit will provide great succour to the families of the victims, reassure them and other residents of the state that their government has not abandoned them to their fate, and also serve as a morale booster for the troops who are battling the terrorists, against all odds.
‘’There is no other democracy in the world in which that number of schoolchildren will be killed and the head of government will carry on with business as usual.
“Since the killings, President Jonathan has made a national broadcast in which he mentioned the killings only as a footnote, instead of making it the central point of the broadcast.
‘’Since the killings, the President has presided over a wasteful national celebration, in which the drums were rolled out to mark the country’s centenary even as devastated families were still mourning and those injured were reeling from their pains.
‘’Since the killings, President Jonathan has been gallivanting across the country, surreptitiously kick-starting his electioneering campaign for 2015 under the guise of receiving some inconsequential political jobbers now wearing the tag of defectors.
“This junketing has taken the President everywhere, including Sokoto, Minna, Ilorin and Onitsha. But he has pointedly avoided Yobe.
“To put it mildly, the father of the nation has been practically dancing on the graves of those innocent souls. This is not the stuff of leadership and the President must make amends by visiting Yobe today,’’ APC said.
The party said Jonathan should take a cue to what obtains in other lands, especially in the U.S after which Nigeria has modelled its democracy.
‘’In January 2014, U.S President Barack Obama flew to Tennessee, where he spoke at a high school where students were still reeling from the shooting death of just one of their classmates; In 2012, President Obama paid a similar visit to Newtown in Connecticut, where he met relatives of the 20 schoolchildren and eight adults who were shot. These are examples worthy of emulation by President Jonathan,’’ APC said.
It challenged the President to tell Nigerians why he has not or why he would not visit the scene of the gruesome murders.
‘’Whatever his reasons are, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces must not give the impression that there is any part of the country he cannot visit for any reason whatsoever, otherwise he would only have succeeded in handing some sort of victory to the terrorists who have continued to kill and plunder in the North-east,’’ the party added.
In a related development, the United Nations Education and Children Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concerns on the killing of children by the Boko Haram sect.
The Fund said it will, in collaboration with other stakeholders, carry out a verification exercise of the North East region of Nigeria to access the situation on ground.
This is coming jus as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also expressed concern on the human rights and humanitarian condition of women and children especially in the North East following the instability in the region.
To this end, the commission said it was committed to lead the UNICEF and other stakeholders in the campaign against child rights violations in Nigeria, particularly in the North East where insecurity has greatly affected the vulnerable group.
According to a statement by Chief Press Officer in the NHCR, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, “the Executive Secretary of the Commission Prof. Ben Angwe, gave the assurance when he received a delegation from the UNICEF led by its Country Representative, Jane Gough, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja”.
Earlier, Gough had expressed worries over the difficult challenges being faced by children in the North Eastern part of the country, saying most of them are afraid to go to school for fear of being killed or bombed by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Also on Monday, an angry Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology queried the Federal Ministry of Environment for paying N21 million to a contractor who claimed that his firm was currently executing a construction project in the troubled Bama community of Borno State.
The committee has, therefore, directed senior officials of the ministry to institute a probe into the issue and forward their findings to it before their 2014 budget could be approved.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Taiye Haruna, had listed the Bama road construction, which also include drainage work and erosion control, as one of the 20 other constituency/intervention projects at different stages of execution and on which N1.4 billion had been paid.
He stated this when he stood in for the Minister, Lawrencia Labaran-Mallam, when the Senate committee led by the Chairman, Bukola Saraki, visited the ministry headquarters in Abuja on oversight functions.
Haruna had drawn the anger of members of the committee when he claimed that his ministry had effectively implemented all the 20 constituency/intervention projects under its supervision and reeled out the details.
Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, a member of the committee, immediately drew the attention of the Perm Sec to the fact that there was no way any contractor could execute any project in Bama between July 2013 and now when the area had been fully occupied by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Kunlere, also a member of the Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence, believes that the claims of the contractors were fraudulent because it was difficult for even his team led by heavily armed military personnel, to gain access to the area when they went there on oversight functions within the same period.
The Perm Sec, however, referred the issue to a director in charge of the project who justified the N21 million paid to the contractors when he said convincing evidences, including documents and pictures, were presented to him.
He told the committee that the N1.4 billion appropriated to the ministry for constituency projects had been fully disbursed to the various contractors that handled them.

(From Biafra Galaxy)

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