The opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday said there was no going back on their plan to impeach the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), if he failed to resolve the insecurity in the country within six weeks.
The lawmakers, consisting of the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Grand Alliance members, contended that insecurity had reached the peak under Buhari’s regime.
They spoke about the same time that the President was meeting the nation’s security chiefs under the auspices of the National Security Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This happened as bandits again raided Pinau village in the Wase Local Government of Plateau state and killed six persons.
But restating their six-week ultimatum to the President at a press briefing in Abuja, the opposition lawmakers said they were tired of the worsening insecurity in the country and could no longer keep quiet over the state of the nation.
Addressing journalists after a closed-door session, the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu said they were ready to fight the President ‘tooth and nail until the insecurity issues had been resolved.’
Elumelu said, “They (Senators) have given six to eight weeks for Mr. President to address the insecurity that is, of course, affecting this nation, and I want to also join on behalf of my colleagues, also to say that upon the expiration, we will proffer ways of ensuring that we will gather all the signatures.”
Buttressing his Senate colleagues, Elumelu said that the ultimatum was beyond the issue of the opposition party but a unanimous agreement between the lawmakers.
He said, “And let me make it clear. Those who are thinking that it is only the issue of the PDP or the minority caucus, no. Many of our colleagues under the bipartisanship are affected. Many of them are affected. So, they may not be speaking but we may be speaking for them. And when the time comes, everyone will come out.”
Elumelu also responded to the comment by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on Wednesday night where he described the impeachment threat as “performative and babyish antics”, stating that time would show the President the reality.
Elumelu said, “I heard somebody this morning saying it is a laughable attempt. Perhaps, when the action starts, the person will find out that it’s not a laughable action. It’s real and we will not stand to allow this nation to collapse. We think that it is high time the insecurity of this nation is addressed.
“The nation has been awash with what happened yesterday (Wednesday) in the Senate where our colleagues had to walk out in protest as to the state of the nation as regards to the issue of insecurity in the nation. Concurrently, even though we did not do it exactly the way they did it, we also drew the House attention as to what is happening in Nigeria, most importantly in FCT.’’
Elumelu further lamented that the problems of the country were too enormous and if they didn’t rise to the occasion, the nation was on the verge of collapsing.
He said, “ And of course, we also have the issue of oil theft which has risen, now making it difficult for us to earn income from oil revenue.
“And these and many others are the reasons we are joining our colleagues in the Senate to ask Mr. President to address the insecurity of this nation within six and eight weeks. Otherwise, we will find the constitutional means to ensure that we serve him an impeachment notice.’’
Senate Minority leader
Earlier, the Senate Minority leader, Philip Aduda also noted that they were not rescinding their decision to impeach the president if he failed to meet their demands.
He said, “Our actions yesterday (Wednesday) were spontaneous from the issues that were raised on the floor of the Senate. I am sure that members of the press must have interacted with our various colleagues to know that this issue is not just about the PDP caucus but it is a bipartisan issue.
“We all agreed that the security architecture is failing and there is a need to salvage it immediately and we also agreed that we must issue; for some who do not know, the issue is to issue an impeachment notice to the President because the primary responsibility of the government is the protection of lives of the citizens. Once that is not done, then, there is a problem.”
The senator further said that they had invited their colleagues at the house to further explain things to them and know where they stand on the issue.
Also, the Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District, Gershom Bassey, said that they were committed to ending the security issues in the country, and if the President didn’t solve the challenges, they wouldn’t have a choice but to use the constitution.
“This six-week (ultimatum) is just the last straw; we have been giving this recommendation, motions, and budgetary support since 2018. We have been talking about insecurity since 2017,’’ he noted.
Also, the lawmaker representing Osun East Senatorial district, Senator Francis Fadahunsi said that the senators including some from the ruling party, had agreed on serving the impeachment notice but some people were still trying to serve their personal interest and were resisting the decision of the Senate.
The PUNCH on Wednesday reported that Senator Smart Adeyemi of Kogi West, Senator Bulkachuwa Muhammed of Bauchi North and Senators are the APC senators who have openly declared their support for the President’s impeachment.
Confirming the latest bandit attack, residents of Pinau community said the hoodlums arrived in the area around 3:pm on Wednesday, shooting sporadically, which led to the death of the six persons while many others were injured.
Garba Kasuwa, who escaped the attack, said the bandits came in large numbers on motorcycles carrying heavy guns.
He said “Before the arrival of the bandits, hundreds of residents of the community had already fled because of the fear of being attacked and that is why the casualty figure is not much. The few ones that remained, some were killed; about six of them. The bandits on arrival asked people to lock themselves in their rooms.
“They broke our shops and stole food items and other properties. They also kidnapped some people. The situation is pathetic.”
The Spokesman for the Military Taskforce, Operation Safe Haven in charge of maintaining peace in the state, Major Ishaku Takwa, however, said that troops of the taskforce had been deployed in the community to restore calm.
Before the attack , the residents of the community had raised the alarm over their safety following the withdrawal of soldiers from the area, a development that forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes to neighbouring villages.
“I will call you later on the incident because I’m right now in a meeting with the Force PPRO”, the police public relations officer of the Plateau state command ,Alabo Alfred told The PUNCH in Jos, when contacted.
In a related development, the Defence Headquarters has urged residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, not to panic on account of the terrorist attack on the Presidential Brigade Guards on Sunday in which eight personnel were killed.
The incident led to the hasty closure of schools by the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory Administration, sparking apprehension among residents.
But speaking at the bi-weekly briefing on troops’ activities on Thursday, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. Bernard Onyeuko claimed 30 terrorists were killed during the attack on the troops.
He added, ”Troops of 7 Guards Battalion and 167 Special Force Battalion in conjunction with the air component of ‘Operation Whirl Punch’ conducted a clearance patrol around Bwari general area between 24 – 26 July 2022. Troops successfully cleared Kawu and Ido villages.
“Consequently, about 30 terrorists were neutralized and their enclave and hideout destroyed. Ground troops also recovered six motorcycles, two AK47 rifles, one fully loaded LMG magazine, amongst others, during the mop up.”
Reacting to allegations that troops were benefiting from the ransoms paid by abducted victims, the Director, Defence Information Major General Jimmy Akpor said the military high command was unaware of the development.
Meanwhile, the commander of the Vigilance Group of Nigeria in Bwari area council, Titus Awyebemye, killed during the attack on the presidential Guards Brigade has been buried on Thursday.
Also, the outgoing President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, has admonished the President to holistically address the security challenges in the country.
Ayokunle, who stated this during a valedictory church service held in his honour in Abuja on Thursday, stressed that the insecurity in the country was no longer a child’s play.
Commenting on the security situation, the presidential candidate of the PDP and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has assured the people of Zamfara State that rescue is on the way.
The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), while speaking with journalists after the National Security Council meeting, said the President and the security agents were aware of the dire security challenges facing the country.
Monguno said, “We are in a very difficult situation and the Council understands. Mr President understands people’s concerns about the growing insecurity. But I can assure you that there’s no straight cut and dried method of dealing with this thing unless all of us embrace each other.
“I know people are weary, people are tired, people are beginning to gravitate to other places for self-help. The truth is that help is rooted in everyone working for the other person.”
According to him, the Security Council has agreed on new strategies to curtail the menace, assuring Nigerians that there will be a renewed momentum against terrorism.
He explained: “Again, the members of the armed forces have made a commitment that in the coming weeks, they have already started working on a new strategy to deal with these snippets of violence.
“And they’ve given their word, their commitment to the President that there will be a change in momentum, regardless of the fact that there might be certain institutional limitations which they face. But they understood the enormity of the responsibilities.”
The NSA also revealed that Council will soon conclude its special investigation on the July 5 Kuje Correctional Center attack and would punish those who, by neglect of duty, allowed the massive escape.
“Council is in the process of winding up the Special Investigative Panel on the Kuje incident. And the idea is to come up with recommendations, hold those who are supposed to be held accountable for their deeds and to ensure that this type of thing never ever, ever happens again in this country,” Monguno stated.
Citing last Friday night’s attack on the 7 Guards Battalion of the Nigerian Army Presidential Guards Brigade, the NSA argued that no country can win an asymmetric warfare without the help of its citizens.
Monguno argued that the casualties could have been avoided if citizens were more generous with information.