By Dapo Akinrefon
THE pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, yesterday, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to put into practice what he said about justice, fairness and equity on the floor of the United Nations, when he addressed the world body, last Friday.
Buhari, while calling for the reform of the UN, had said that “without justice, the legitimacy (even efficacy) of our organization is called to question.”
He also called for dialogue between Israel and Palestine to resolve their differences, adding that the skirmishes between the duo borders on “the question of justice, fairness and equity.”
But picking holes in the president’s speech, Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said: “Ethnic nationalities and other concerned stakeholders in Nigeria have been calling for dialogue to resolve Nigeria’s issues for long. But the Federal Government, under President Buhari, has not only been ignoring them but hounding those calling for such dialogue.”
The statement reads: “It is interesting, perhaps comforting that the Nigerian authority realizes that dialogue is the way to go in resolving knotty issues. It is however hypocrisy of the highest order for this same authority to be prescribing this to foreign authorities while describing those calling for the same thing at home as ‘hate speech makers’ and separatists.
“The reform that Buhari advocated for the United Nations is the same thing those calling for dialogue at home are calling for. Why and how our president considered reform and dialogue as necessary at the global level but consider the same as anathema in Nigeria beats one’s imagination. It is called reform at the global level and restructuring at home.”
On internal security, the Afenifere spokesman noted that the reality on the ground belies the president’s claim.
He said: “We, as Afenifere, commend the heroic efforts of the Nigerian Army but it is a fact that activities of terrorists appear to be more expanding rather than receding going by the submission of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, that over 330,000 Nigerian refugees are languishing in neighbouring countries due to insurgency and armed banditry in the North East and North West as well as Kaduna State Governor El Rufai that advocated for the military to be decentralized.
“The level of insecurity in the country has gotten so bad that the authority of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, advised youth corpers to always let their people prepare ransom to be paid in case they are kidnapped in course of travelling from one point to another while in service.
“What else could underscore the unfortunate level to which insecurity in the country has fallen? It is in this respect that Afenifere calls for the NYSC to allow youth corpers to serve the nation in their respective states at least for now.”
The Yoruba group also expressed worry over what it described as the kid-glove with which the government has been handling the issue of kidnapping noting that it has emboldened the perpetrators to continue in their dastardly acts.”
He said: “We call on the government to immediately allow states to transform their respective security networks into state police with all the powers appertaining thereto.”