THE presidency has ruled out the possibility of removing heads of the armed forces amidst worsening insecurity in the country.
The presidency made this declaration on Friday against the background of the outburst of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the murder of the chairman of the association’s branch in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Reverend Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram.
The association had addressed a world press conference on Thursday through its president, Dr Samson Ayokunle, where it observed that the country’s security system had failed and therefore asked President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul it and appoint visionary military officers to head the armed forces and other security agencies.
“As long as the government continues to live in denial and fail to face the reality, these criminals will not stop their criminalities. We are almost losing hope in government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians who have become endangered species under its watch,” CAN said.
It equally rejected President Buhari’s reaction to Andimi’s killing and then accused the Federal Government of complicity in what it called the prevailing attacks on the church.
But the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, took to his Facebook page on Friday and slammed CAN for its critical stance against the government.
“Are you saying under a different leadership of our security forces, insurgency will vanish after they wave their fingers? Why mix the wheat and chaff together?
“If the leadership of the security forces would be changed, it is a sitting president that has the prerogative. It will not happen when CAN begins to make such demand in what should be a sober condolence press statement. Don’t mix bias and sympathy. They don’t mesh,” he said.
Adesina, in his lengthy Facebook post, said CAN got it wrong on its position on the beheaded Adamawa cleric, declaring that “too many things were mixed together, which the apex Christian body in the country should have been mindful of, lest it departs from the mind and essence of Jesus Christ, our perfect example.
“CAN says kidnappings and killings are shameful to a government that boasts that it has conquered insurgency. Boasts. So that is all that matters to CAN, as if it was an opposition political party? Boasts. No. This would not augur for unity and cohesion in a country.
“We are not asking the Christian body to be in bed with government, that would not help anybody, but the organisation has been sounding too long like a political party. We daily learn to walk with Jesus. His spirit is not an unduly critical one. And He left us an example ‘that ye should follow in his steps,’” the presidential aide said.
Buhari leading a government of condolence –Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship
Reacting, on Friday, to the presidential spokesman’s statement, the Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship asked the presidency if it was not worried that the Buhari government had “become a government of condolence.”
The Christian group’s statement, signed by its national president, Professor Charles Adisa and general secretary, Mr Onyenachi Nwaegeruo, reads in part: “We have just read the reaction of the Federal Government to the press statement by the Christian Association of Nigeria on the killing of CAN Chairman, Michika Local Government, Adamawa State, Reverend Lawan Andimi, through the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“We are surprised that Mr Adesina who is supposed to be a Christian could take up the gauntlet to vilify his brothers and fathers in the Lord just to please his master on an issue that should have made him sober over the plight of his brethren.
“For Adesina, what matters is the happiness of his master, not the interest of his brethren. We can’t imagine that people like Adesina cannot play Nehemiah, but continually play Sanballat over the destiny of their brethren.
“On the argument that President Buhari sympathised and sympathises with bereaved families, should it not be a worry to the president’s image maker that theirs have become a government of condolence? Can he count how many of such condolence messages he has released in the last four years over avoidable calamities if the government is serious? CAN said that Reverend Adinmi stayed two weeks with his captors and called on the government to come to his aid. Does it not worry Adesina that rather than take steps to rescue the preacher, the government was quick to send a condolence message to the family? Which is more important, to rescue the victim or to sympathise with the family?
“We are sure that the president is waiting to see the video of the beheading of another Christian so that Adesina would be instructed to issue a condolence statement and condemn the killers. Of course, that is cheaper than paying ransom.
“Come to think of it, why can’t the image makers advise Mr President to look into the national complaints on the need to review his security management policy with a view to changing his team in order to rejig the system? Why is Mr President giving himself out as one who does not listen to public opinion? What is special about his service chiefs that he cannot disengage them if not that they are serving his selfish interest?
“It is unfortunate that the president’s spokesmen do not understand the power of public opinion, but are well schooled in the opposite, which is propaganda. Mr Adesina should know that propaganda does not sustain any system for too long.
“Finally, on the general security situation in the country, does it not occur to Adesina that he is deluded to believe that their government is winning the war against insurgency? He is not seeing that whatever seem to be the magic and gains of 2015 has been reversed in 2019. Yes, there are no incessant bomb explosions, but the number of Nigerians killed by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen between 2018 and 2019 is far higher than 2009-2014. Can Adesina check available records both within and outside the country?”
Fulanis are not terrorists, CAN should leave us alone –Fulani groups
Also on Friday, two flagship Fulani groups descended heavily on CAN for asking for the labelling of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), as a terrorist organisation and for calling the arrest of its leaders for alleged various killings around the country.
The national secretary of one of the topmost Fulani socio-cultural groups, Gam Allah Fulani Development Association, Ibrahim Abdullahi, declared that Fulanis cannot be branded as terrorists because they are not Boko Haram or killers.
He said Fulani organisations like Miyyetti Allah, Kautal Hore and Gam Allah are registered organisations whose activities are open and do not contravene the laws of the country.
Abdullahi described CAN’s demand as baseless, saying it showed that the leadership of the Christian body did not understand the problem at hand.
“I know that they are reacting to the killing of the CAN chairman in Adamawa. We condemn it, too. No sensible group will be happy over the gruesome killing of the pastor,” he said.
But he wondered where the link between Miyyetti Allah and Boko Haram is, saying apportioning blame to a particular ethnic group “in this critical situation when we all know that the security challenges do not confine themselves to a religion or tribe is also part of the problem.”
Abdullahi, who is a former national secretary of MACBAN, said: “What are the offences of the Fulani groups? Tell us why the Fulani should be branded as terrorists?
“We are not killers. The various claims by Christian bodies against us only promote hatred for our followers.
“We need a complete strategy involving all stakeholders. The country is facing serious challenges, especially security-wise. Let us fight the ugly trend,” he said.
In the same vein, a former coordinator of MACBAN in Benue State, Garus Gololo, accused CAN of “wearing the garment of disunity and creating disharmony” in the country.
According to him, the Miyetti Allah group is a peaceful association which abhors killings and crisis in any form.
He said: “Some of us are disappointed in the utterances of this religious body which ought to be preaching peace and unity of the country but has turned itself into a group fanning the ember of disunity.
“The body should know that not only Christians are being killed but so many Muslims have also been killed and their mosques destroyed.
“Is it because Miyetti Allah and other Fulani associations do not have access to the media? In Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, our people were attacked and two mosques were destroyed.
“Miyetti Alla is a registered organisation and let CAN mind its utterances and leave us alone,” Gololo said.
However, Miyyetti Allah Kautal Hore said it would not join issues with the Christian body.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune in Kaduna on Friday, the national secretary of the organisation, Saleh Alhassan, said: “We are a socio-cultural association established to entrench Fulani culture and beliefs and defend their interests. We will not join issues with CAN except if we are singled out for attack.”Read Full Story