ABUJA – Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slated to hold in America in few days’ time, where President Muhammadu Buhari and other world leaders are expected to feature prominently, the presidency has criticised the unusual partnership between Yoruba nation agitators and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
To this end, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has cautioned the media, including fifth columnists, to focus on the core issues at the summit.
According to him, for Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform – the United Nations General Assembly – to garner attention to their causes is not unexpected.
While expressing some kind of disappointment, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, he noted that it was shocking to see “Yoruba nation” advocates yesterday unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He termed IPOB as a designated terrorist organisation, which has now publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organisation.
“It regularly murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.
“Without doubt, Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba nation by the company it keeps.
“No one can take seriously this organisation if it continues its IPOB association. When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN.
“The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria.
“Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored”.
Shehu, however, noted that the Nigerian government will continue its work at the UN- to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation.
He said if we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery.
“The government will remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror – particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel. Through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps programme, the country also shares technical expertise with countries from the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific.
“At the same time, the administration is implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroys Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.
“Only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can we secure a prosperous future for Nigeria.
“As the largest country in Africa, the government takes seriously its leadership role and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity.
“Our expectation is, therefore, for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues the president, the leader of the country, has on his programme,” the presidential media aide stated.
Separationists Leading Nation To Destruction— Gbajabiamila
Meanwhile, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, said on Wednesday that separationist activists will take the nation down the path of destruction if not tackled.
He, therefore, issued a stern warning to secessionist elements and individuals involved in acts of terrorism and banditry across the country, saying the House would prioritise legislative efforts at strengthening the nation’s security architecture.
The speaker also said that the House will soon take report from the House Committee on Health Services aimed at representing the Infectious Diseases Act Amendment Bill for debate.
In his welcome address marking the commencement of plenary after the annual recess, the speaker also commended the House for the feat it has achieved in the last two years.
He warned those who have constituted themselves into public enemies through violent extremism aimed at disintegrating the country to have a rethink as the House will always stand with Nigerian people to rout them out.
“In this parliamentary session, we will prioritise national security bills that seek to implement the recommendations of the summit. This is not to suggest that we will abdicate action on other matters of national concern. We only reaffirm our commitment to do all that we can to defeat those who have made it their cause to impose on our country an unending orgy of carnage and inflict our people with devastating grief. Let it be apparent to those who have made themselves enemies of Representatives will respond to the audacity of their evil with every tool and resource at our disposal, and we will not be deof Nigeria that this 9th House terred.
“Thus far, we have rightly focused our national security concerns on the machinations of extremist insurgents who seek to remake our world in the image of their discredited theocracy and bandits who maraud and terrorise whole regions for profit.
“We must now add to these concerns an emerging threat that presents the same clear and present danger. In the South of Nigeria, East and West, miscreants and criminals masquerading as separationist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the state.
“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP. Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction.
“We know from experience that neither appeasement nor overwhelming violence alone will work. We have been down this road before; we know what the consequences of inaction can be. We also know that we cannot afford to be reactionary in our approach. This is the time to convene our best efforts to articulate a political, economic, military and policing strategy to address both the manifestations and root causes of this emerging threat. Let nobody be under the impression that there is a political opportunity in exploiting this moment. This is a time for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics, to do the hard things and achieve greatness,” the speaker said.
He also pointed out that the 9th House under his speakership has kept its words by fulfilling the promises it made to the Nigerian people in so many areas of its legislative agenda.
“Already, in this 9th House of Representatives, we have done a lot of what we said we would do, and we have made giant strides towards keeping the promises we made to the Nigerian people in our legislative agenda. Yet, with every new accomplishment, we confront the unavoidable truth that our work is not nearly done, and the cares that concern us and animate our governing efforts have not been met.”
He noted that the House will represent the Infectious Diseases Act Amendment Bill with a renewed focus that seeks to address the concerns raised by Nigerians in the previous draft.
“The House Committee on Health Services has embarked on a broad-based effort at public and private engagement and collaboration to produce final legislation that hopefully meets our country’s present and future needs.
“The committee will shortly present its report to the House, and I sincerely hope that our debate this time will be a marked improvement from what came before,” he said.
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