By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
ASABA—ELDER statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has said Boko Haram sect audaciously sent a message to Dr Goodluck Jonathan when he was President to covert to Islam.
Clark, who declined pressure from admirers and interest groups to celebrate his 92nd birthday, on Saturday, said the mounting insecurity in the country, which President Muhammadu Buhari has been unable to tackle in the last four years, was seriously distressing to him.
He disclosed that there was a top-level conspiracy among top government officials and highly placed politicians in the killings and violence by Boko Haram, adding that service chiefs at the time were present at a meeting during which an abducted hostage, Abba Marama, released by the deadly sect, delivered the letter to Jonathan.
Clark in a message on the “State of the nation,” yesterday, said: “I call on President Buhari to honestly come to terms with the stark truth, that his current efforts with his security apparatus are grossly inadequate for the task.
“I call on Mr. President to urgently convene a sober ‘National Discourse on National Security’ of former Heads of State, Presidents, statesmen and leaders, women and selected youths in Nigeria to work out a consensual and amicable resolution of this long, seemingly intractable, challenge afflicting the country since the entry of Boko Haram menace in the national psyche.
Pleads with Boko Haram, herdsmen, others
“While also pleading with Boko Haramists, herdsmen, bandits, whatever name they choose to call themselves, to please stop this dastardly act, I enjoin all Nigerians to join in praying fervently for our nation for God’s mercy. We do not have any other country to call our own.
“Nigerians should unite, be courageous and sincere to fight Boko Haram to avert the disintegration of the country, now that it is clear that the government cannot do it alone.”
Why I didn’t celebrate my 92nd birthday
On plot by Boko Haram to convert Jonathan and other security issues in the country, he said Boko Haram delivered the message to former President Jonathan to covert to Islam through an abducted hostage, Abba Marama, who is now late after his release.
He said: “Fellow Nigerians, you will agree with me that the issues raised in my 87th birthday in 2014 are still plaguing us and it is even worse. I am pained; my heart bleeds for our dear country, Nigeria. Moreover, it is the reason I have decided not to celebrate, again, this time. I cannot be celebrating when people are being killed, maimed and rendered homeless.
“I cannot be celebrating when kids who could be my grandchildren and great grandchildren are abducted and held captive. There are many things wrong, ranging from the question of equality and diversity, economy, infrastructural development, unemployment, lack of power and most importantly, security.
“I have decided to dwell my 92nd birthday message again on security, because the security situation all over the country is very troubling and gravely affecting every facet of the country’s activity. The nation’s constitution is clear when it states that the primary responsibility of government is to secure lives and property.
“The issue of security has become a bane and national/international embarrassment for us as a people and a nation. Killings, kidnappings, rape, burning down of towns and villages, cattle rustling, etc, are now the order of the day perpetrated by a group, which the government has identified as ‘bandits, herdsmen.’ Yet nothing is being done to arrest them, rather it is alleged that government officials collude with the criminals.
“Now the Federal Government is putting much money into agriculture because it wants to diversify the nation’s economy. Is it aware that farmers no longer go to farm due to security reasons?
“In one occasion recently, the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumini Usman, advised President Buhari to ‘tackle insecurity before agriculture’ when the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and the Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, paid him a courtesy visit in the course of launching one of the many agricultural schemes of the Federal Government.”