Wole Mosadomi & Abdallah el-Kurebe
MINNA — Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida yesterday described as laughable, the call by Islamic sect, Boko Haram on President Goodluck Jonathan to resign from office as condition for peace to reign in the country.
General Babangida at an interaction with newsmen at his Hill Top mansion, Minna, Niger state as part of activities to mark his 71st birthday today also declared that he had no link with Boko Haram. He challenged Nigerians to unravel those behind the Islamic sect and its origin rather than point accusing fingers at innocent citizens.
He said that there were other sensitive issues confronting the nation which were also deadly, but were being swept under the carpet.
Babangida said: “From my own observation and reading what the media write, I want to say you have not done more studies, you have not done more investigations and researches to find out the causes of this Boko Haram and even communal clashes within the Fulanis, Gwaris and other tribes in the country. Somebody should be able to tell us; somebody should be able to do a research on these and not just conclude that I and some few others are behind the Boko Haram which is not so”.
Reacting to the call by Boko Haram on President Jonathan to resign, Babangida said: “The call for President Jonathan to resign is laughable and it needs no comments from me or any sensible and patriotic Nigerian. What the present situation in the country needs now is for all Nigerians to join hands with the president to move the country forward in all spheres of life in order to take its rightful place in the comity of nations”.
The former military president also threw his weight behind the establishment of state police, pointing out that the agitation by some Nigerians for state police was in order and needs to be considered.
IBB advocates state police, says it ‘ll work
He said: “The fear is unfounded. I have advocated it in the past and I think it can work and I will continue to advocate it. We should not allow the fear of 1950s on the establishment of state police to continue to haunt us because things have changed and will continue to change. If we got it wrong in the 50s, it does not mean we will still get it wrong now.”
On the recent challenge by elder statesman and Ijaw national Leader, Chief Edwin Clark asking him and other northern leaders to publicly condemn Boko Haram if he had no link with the sect, General Babangida said “I have been commenting on the Boko Haram issue and I have never hidden my disaffection against the sect and I will continue to dissociate myself from the sect.
“Chief Clark is my friend. I have known him for the past 35 years. There is a mutual respect between me and him and so, I wouldn’t want this issue to truncate that respect and I know he will not deny me as a friend and so, that is settled,” Gen. Babangida remarked.
Gen. Babangida who clocks 71 years today said he is thankful to God for sparing his life to see today and that he is fulfilled with his current position.
“The religious book says, in whatever position you are, you should give thanks to Allah and with the position I find myself today, I give thanks to Allah and as my birthday falls into the Ramadan period, I will remain at home with my family, pray to Allah fervently without any fanfare”, Gen. Babangida said beaming with joy.
Nigeria’s insecurity challenge will soon be a thing of the past— Sultan
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has reiterated that the current security challenge posed by Boko Haram will soon be a thing of the past.
The Sultan who gave the assurance when he hosted members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ to a Ramadan dinner at his Palace, yesterday, said: “We have been working very hard to bring the challenge of insecurity to an end. We have met at NIREC level and other levels. We are doing it to ensure the return of normalcy. You see that there is a lot of violence all over the country, left, right and centre. We must end these”.
He said that “as leaders, we have said so much on the situation of things “but still, some people come out to postulate that Muslims are out to destabilize the country. Government understands our stand. Mr President has high respect for us. It is an issue I am passionate about. We are very honest and straightforward”.
On how to tackle the challenge by the Islamic sect, the Sultan said: “We have to know who are the political Boko Haram, we have to know who are the economic Boko Haram, but we must work together in order to defeat the insurgents.”
The Sultan also commended the peace moves in Plateau State saying, “I am happy about the positive comments of Governor David Jang, especially his recent meeting with ethnic communities and the comments of Solomon Lar, which were aimed at bringing permanent peace there.”
He then called on Nigerians not to allow enemies of the people to scuttle the peace moves. “We give extra support to this move because we believe that we need peace in Plateau. Those trying to scuttle the moves should be condemned,” the Sultan stressed.
He called on Journalists to consider national security in their reporting. “There are other insecurity problems that are not reported by you. Kidnapping and armed robbery are some of them. You have always concentrated on Boko Haram. I urge you to avoid sensational headlines in consideration for national security and peace and sometimes, you create the monsters. Be patriotic on national security,” the Sultan advised.