Abducted schoolgirls: Stop blaming Shettima, APC tells Jonathan

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The All Progressives Congress on Sunday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to stop blaming Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State for the abduction of over 200 girls from the  Government Secondary School, Chibok on April 14.

Speaking during a news  conference in Lagos, the Interim National Chairman of  the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, said Jonathan  must take full responsibility for the safety  of lives and property in the country, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where there is an emergency rule.

But the Peoples Democratic Party  berated APC chiefs , saying they were  still playing politics with the nation’s security problems when other  Nigerians had  displayed a great “show of solidarity” in support of efforts to   rescue  the    schoolgirls.

Akande however  said the Jonathan administration had  been found wanting in its handling of the abduction  saga and the continued killings and maiming of Nigerians by Boko Haram insurgents.

He said, “Today(Sunday), we call on President Jonathan to earn his epaulette as the Commander-in-Chief and stop passing the buck. We remind him that as the Chief Security Officer of the nation, he cannot and must not pass the buck.

“We remind him that having imposed   emergency  rule  on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, he has assumed full responsibility for the security of lives and property in those states, and that it is disingenuous of him to point accusing fingers at the governors of those states, who cannot even move around their states freely without clearance.

“Even without the Boko Haram crisis, the nation ran itself as if on auto-pilot. The Jonathan administration did little and depended on the ingenuity of the Nigerian people to fend for themselves and cover up governmental shortcomings.

“However, a crisis has come which no amount of private ingenuity can resolve. Only government can answer this call. The time has come for strategy and action. The time has come but government has been found sorely wanting.”

According to the APC Interim National  chairman, Nigeria has degenerated to the level of suffering more violence and destruction than countries that are  formally at war.

He said the nation was in dire need of a bold, coherent, sincere and focused leadership.

Akande condemned Jonathan for making his first official response to the abduction of the girls 19 days after it occurred.

He said his   administration was in denial, believing the girls were not kidnapped and that the whole abduction story was choreographed to embarrass him  and dim his chances for re-election in 2015.

Akande  also condemned  the  President’s wife, Patience for summoning and interrogating  state officials.

Describing her actions as  unconstitutional, he said it was unfortunate that the PDP  kept quiet, while the world showed concern for the abducted girls.

He also renewed APC’s  call on the National Assembly to probe  how the huge allocations for security in the recent years had  been spent, and find out whether soldiers were properly equipped.

Akande   presented the party’s suggestions on how   insurgency  in the country could be halted.

The APC, according to him, wants the  Federal Government  to  develop and publish a counter-terrorism strategy; build a new intelligence gathering infrastructure; improve  intelligence and   contingency planning; and pursue and align military with political (negotiated) solutions.

Others are   a de-radicalisation of the North; regionalising response to   insurgency; employing effective information management and strategic communication,   an economic development plan for the North; and involvement of  civilian peace-building organisations.

But the PDP, in a statement on Sunday  by its  National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, condemned   some APC members for “seeking political capital out of the pains of the missing schoolgirls.”

It said,   “ It is troubling that at a time when all people of goodwill and good sense now speak unequivocally against terrorism in our land, some in the APC still persists in seeking political capital out of the pains of the missing schoolgirls or other incidents of terrorism.

“This is not only shameful but disgusting, disgraceful and distasteful. It is this gloating that has made many doubt the sincerity of the APC in the fight against terrorism in our country.”

The PDP  added  that its  members   believed  that the interest of the nation was more paramount and that   the welfare of Nigerians remained non-negotiable.

“Nigeria is bigger than any person or group of persons. We shall therefore not relent but continue to guard our unity and ensure that our determination to live in peace as one people under God is not undermined in anyway whatsoever,” it added.

The PDP however  saluted Nigerians for what it termed their exceptional show of solidarity in support of efforts to ensure the rescue of the abducted  girls.

It said the cry of Nigerians over the past few weeks had  inspired a global response that would help to number the days of the terrorists.

According to the ruling party, Nigerians have not only demonstrated “our oneness but also our boldness and determination to surge forward as a people to rescue our land from those who aim to cow us and impose a reign of terror on our nation.”

The statement reads in part, “It is clear that once we continue to show such unity and solidarity in all our affairs, our nation will emerge stronger and ultimately take its rightful place among the comity of nations.

“We note with joy, the change of attitude on the part of some opposition leaders whose recent statements indicate that they have realised the harm their past posture and utterances caused the nation.”

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