Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nigeria: Post election violence in 2015 - 'Jonathan, Buhari must sign bond'

Former Nigeria's external affairs minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has written to President Goodluck Jonathan and General Mohammed Buhari (rtd), requesting the two presidential candidates in the forthcoming general elections to meet and sign a memorandum of undertaking that they would control their respective supporters after the elections.

In a letter addressed to the two presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) respectively, Akinyemi recounted how former national security adviser (NSA), the late General Andrew Azazi, had met him on the eve of the 2011 polls to seek his counsel on the state of the nation, but ignored it after all.

He said, "The certainty of violence after the 2015 elections is higher than it was in 2011. If President Jonathan wins, the North would erupt into violence as it did in 2011. If General Buhari wins, the Niger Delta will erupt into violence. I don't believe that we need rocket science to make this prediction.

"There are states and movements out there, African and non-African, which do not mean well for the Nigerian state, which wish Nigeria to dissolve into a theatre of bloodshed, gore and instability. They will succeed if we continue the politics of making enemies of ourselves and friends of our enemies".

He recalled that he had warned the late Azazi, who had come to his office in Lagos, of the impending massive scale post-election violence which claimed many lives and property after the said elections.

He added that the conflict-control measures he suggested to Azazi were missing in the wake of the violence because the federal government did not act on his warning.

Akinyemi said, "Shortly after his appointment as NSA, General Andrew Azazi, at his own request, met with me in my office in Lagos to discuss the state of the nation. It was on the eve of the 2011 elections.

"I told the General that I was not worried about the conduct of the elections or about the outcome which I expected President Jonathan to win. What really worried me, I told the General, was the management of the violence that would ensue after the elections.

"I was sure that there would be violence on a massive scale and I made some suggestions to him about how I thought the violence could be contained. My suggestions were not acted upon. The elections occurred, President Jonathan won and all hell broke loose. Missing were the conflict-control measures which I had discussed with General Azazi."

He warned that the country was back to the same crossroads as in 2011, adding that with "this very notorious prediction from United States semi-official sources that the world is expecting a cataclysmic meltdown of the Nigerian nation come 2015", the impending 2015 post-election violence would be more precarious and dangerous than the last time.

Akinyemi noted that even though most Nigerians had expressed resentment at the prediction, there were still some Nigerians who are indifferent to it.

He stated: "The violence of 2015 is going to be horrendous and worse than the one of 2011 for the simple reason that the illegal massive importation of weapons into the country has reached such alarming proportions that I really wonder which is better armed, the militias on one hand or the official armed forces on the other hand.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I am not imputing the illegal importation of arms to any particular zone. Some years ago, some Iranians were arrested for bringing in a shipload of weapons into Lagos harbour. They were tried and jailed and then smuggled out of the country.

"Some months ago, sophisticated weapons were discovered buried in the basement of a Kano house. All these have now fallen below the radar. These are the ones we know about. How many do we not know about?"

Requesting Jonathan and Buhari to meet and sign an undertaking, Akinyemi said, "The first step forward is for the two presidential candidates to meet and sign a memorandum of undertaking that will commit both to a civil and peaceful campaign, devoid of threats; a commitment to preach peaceful elections to their supporters; a commitment to control their supporters after the elections. Supporters of whoever loses should be entitled to peaceful protests but not to violent protests."

The former external affairs minister appealed to former Nigerian leaders, religious heads and royal fathers in the country, who he described as Council of Wisemen, to wade into the matter and save the country from chaos.

Akinyemi said these eminent Nigerians are to assist in managing the post-election conflicts by facilitating the pre-election MOU between Jinathan and Buhari.

He listed two former heads of state, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abubakar Abdulsalaam; the Sultan, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III; Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II; Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha; Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; Oba of Benin, Omo N'oba Erediauwa; Chief Emeka Anyaoku; CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

Boko Haram attacks gov's hometown in Yobe

Suspected Boko Haram militants yesterday attacked Gaidam local government area of Yobe State.

Details of the attack were sketchy by press time but gunshots persisted in the town, a resident said.

Gaidam is 185 kilometres from Damaturu, the headquarters of Yobe State, and hometown of Yobe State governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam.

A resident who escaped the attack told our correspondent on phone that the attackers stormed the town around 6:12 pm and unleashed terror the residents

"We got prior information since last week that Boko Haram would attack our town but no measure was taken by the security forces in the area. That's how I escaped into the bush with my two wives and four my sons, but as we speak, there are gunshots going on," he said

Another resident who escaped from Gaidam, MustaphaKyari, said that many people, including women and children, had fled to the nearby bushes and others to Mino village of Niger Republic, Gashua local government area and Garin Gafa, 45 kilometres away from Gaidam local government.

When contacted, the state commissioner of police, Mr. Marcus Danladi, confirmed the attack, but said he was yet to get full details.

"As I as am talking to you now, I cannot tell you the number of casualties and the palaces torched by Boko Haram. What I can tell you is that we have sent our men to join up with the military," Danladi said.

Gombe gov escapes death in Kashere

The Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo narrowly escaped death during an attempted assassination last week, when he visited Kashere town.

According to the publicity secretary of the Gombe Youth Development Forum, Hashiru who spoke to LEADERSHIP on telephone, the governor and his convoy came under attack when he visited the palace of the Kashere traditional ruler during which suspected thugs in the town started throwing dangerous objects at the governor's vehicle.

"What happened on Thursday was simply a case of assassination attempt on his Excellency, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo. The governor decided to visit the palace of the emir to pay homage, but our convoy was attacked by Kalare thugs near the roundabout right in front of the Police station.

"The vehicle I was travelling in was the one that was first attacked because we were in front of the governor's car, but they did not spare the governor's vehicle and threw all sorts of objects at it. They destroyed the side glass where he was seated," Hashiru said.

The Gombe Youth Forum accused a former governor of sending political thugs, known as "Kalare Boys" to assassinate Dankwambo when he visited Kashere town to visit the federal university there.

The group said it was reacting to a statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) spokesman, Alh Lai Mohammed, who accused Dankwambo of clamping down on APC members...


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