Mark calls for uprising against Boko Haram

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…As Ekweremadu solicits regional cooperation to end terrorism

BY JOSEPH ERUNKE &  JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU

ABUJA — SENATE President, David Mark, has called on Nigerians to rise  against the terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect, saying there was an orchestrated plot by the insurgents to destabilise the country.

His call came on a day Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, Ike Ekweremadu, solicited greater sub-regional synergy to tame the menace of insurgency in West Africa.

Senator Mark, who bemoaned the gruesome murder and destruction by Boko Haram, said now the group had refused to follow that the part of dialogue in expressing its grievances; there was no other option left with the government than to deploy its might to face the problem head-on.

According to the Senate President, “if the perpetrators of these violent crimes would not come to the negotiating table to dialogue with authorities in order to address whatever grievances  they may have,  government would be left with no option than to deploy its might to deal with the situation.”

Mark, who spoke while decorating the newly promoted police officers attached to his office with their new ranks, stated that government would no longer tolerate a situation where insurgents and terrorists continued to hold it and the citizens hostage.

A picture taken from a video distributed to journalists in recent days through intermediaries and obtained by AFP on March 5, 2013 reportedly shows Abubakar Shekau (C), the suspected leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, flanked by six armed and hooded fighters in an undisclosed place.

He said:  “No matter how disgruntled or angry they may be, they cannot continue to kill our citizens and destroy property at will as way of life.

“It is a high time wise counsel prevailed among these insurgents to drop their arms and embrace peace.”

While expressing worry over the high rate of attacks by the insurgents, he said, “Nigeria is passing through very difficult times and challenges and certainly does not need these wars and destructions .

“We need to live and work together as free people. We need a country where all citizens have equal opportunities, where no one is oppressed or molested.”

The newly promoted officers that were decorated in their new ranks as Assistant Superintendents  of Police, ASP, were Odufu Boniface , Ibrahim  Omaga and Oni John, while Ndamshe Nanzing was decorated as Police Inspector.

The Senate President also in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, sympathised with Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, who was allegedly attacked by gunmen at Tse -Kenyi village while inspecting the destroyed community.

He said the situation called for vigilance on the part of every citizen and asked for support and cooperation for the security operatives to succeed in the onerous task of protecting lives and property

Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, Ike Ekweremadu, has solicited greater sub-regional synergy to tame the menace of insurgency in West Africa.

Senator Ekweremadu said terrorism was a transnational crime that could only be overcome through intensive transnational efforts and cooperation.

A statement from his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, said the Deputy Senate President spoke, yesterday, during separate working visits to the President of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca and the Prime Minister, Hon. Jose Maria Neves.

The statement added that Senator Ekweremadu, had earlier, while addressing participants at a sub-regional workshop on the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament in the island nation, insisted that for terrorism currently ravaging the African sub-region to be defeated, all countries in the region must cooperate.

“We are here to share our vision for the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament and what the sub-region stands to benefit from it with the President and the Prime Minister.

“We also looked at other critical issues concerning the sub-region such as terrorism, piracy, human trafficking and agreed on the need for the regional parliament and our respective national parliaments and governments to work harder on these concerns to achieve greater regional integration and prosperity,” he said.

Meanwhile, addressing his colleagues at the regional workshop earlier, Senator Ekweremadu reiterated the determination of the Third Legislature of the Community Parliament, under his leadership, to actualise the enhancement of the powers of the community parliament.

The speaker, who also doubles as the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, encouraged his colleagues to increase their advocacy efforts at their national levels.

He added:  “History is not given but made, for those who wait for history to make them, would never have pride of place in it.

“We must recommit ourselves to the struggle, re-strategise and chart a fresh trajectory to the Promise Land. To dither is not in our character, and to surrender is not on the card. At this juncture, success is the only vision we see and the only language we understand.”

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