BEING TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE DELIVERED SOUTHERN SUN HOTEL, LAGOS BY THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE ACTION DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ADP, ENGR. YABAGI YUSUF SANI ON THURSDAY, 31ST MARCH, 2022
We in the Action Democratic Party, ADP, were rudely jolted as most Nigerians were, with the blood-chilling news of the bombing, killings, kidnapping and robbery by a murderous band of marauding terrorists on an Abuja-Kaduna bound train last Monday, 28th March, 2022.
According to official and eye witness accounts, about ten people lost their lives, scores inflicted with various degrees of injuries and an unspecified number of the travelers abducted and taken away into the hellish, godforsaken dungeons of the heartless, blood-sucking criminals. Large scales of valued belongings of the victims were also reportedly carted off by the wretched scums.
Firstly, the leadership and entire members of the Action Democratic Party, ADP, wish to express their heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their loved ones in the catastrophe as we pray that God Almighty will grant the souls of the deceased a Rest in Peace in the hereafter. We commiserate with, and wish those who sustained injuries, very quick recovery and also full of prayers for the safety and early reprieve for all those taken away.
To us in the ADP, the unfortunate incident has once again pungently thrown up certain pertinent and fundamental questions about the competence and attitude of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government over the security of the lives and property of citizens.
Without mincing words, the dastardly incident has eroded whatever modicum of ambiguities that was there to the conclusion that the APC government, under Buhari, is an unmitigated disaster and a woeful failure in the discharge of the universally recognized primary function of government which is, the provision of security and safety of the people.
A casual chronicle of similar happenings in the recent past, especially, in the notorious axis where terrorism hold sway in the North of the country, will graphically reveal that the latest phenomenon of calamity visited on Nigerians last Monday, is merely another portrayal of the high level of the lackluster disposition, corruption, debauchery and myopia of the officials of this government put in charge of our national assets and our security.
For instance, the bombardment and assault on the train last Monday occurred barely one week after a brazen daylight invasion of the Kaduna International airport by another horde of highly armed terrorists. Two people were officially reported killed and flight operations disrupted as a result.
Among the many puzzles arising from the attack on the Kaduna Airport include: How was it possible for the over two hundred heavily armed terrorists who rode on motor bikes, to have been able to gain access to the vicinity of the airport and to the tarmac, with ease? The invaders also amazingly, operated and disappeared into the thin air without any arrest or casualties on their part! The only plausible and logical explanation is that, the airport had been left without any level of security surveillance equipment and was also, bereft of enough, if there were any at all, security personnel on ground.
It is noteworthy that, the Kaduna Airport is a shouting distance away from the Nigerian Defence Academy and just about five kilometers away from the Federal School of Forestry Science, Afaka. The two institutions had suffered not too long ago, similar incidents of audacious invasion, killings and kidnappings by terrorists. The high level of laxity as apparent in that axis that made it so easy for another experience within a short space of time, is an apt depiction of the high level of lack of security consciousness or, lackadaisical dispositions of the APC Federal government and those officials superintending over the various sensitive aspects of our national affairs.
The terrorists attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train is a similar manifestation of the decadence and abysmal level of degeneration in the nation’s security architecture, just as it shows that, those who are supposedly keeping watch over us, are in deep slumber.
The attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train came against the background of two previous incidents, again, all happening within a period one year. It began with an incident of the throwing of boulders of heavy stones and metals which shattered some windows of a moving train. That was followed a few months later by another incident, when the miscreants used dynamites that resulted in the damage of a portion of the rail track. A more security conscious government should have interpreted those two incidents as dress rehearsals and accordingly adopted proactive measures.
Majority of Nigerians are finding it difficult to comprehend the reasons behind the poor and sham posture of the APC government at the centre on the salient issues of security? The ADP is however, neither disappointed nor amazed at the gross incompetence and resultant failure in respect of matters of security as also manifest almost in every facet of our national life under the leadership of the APC. To the extent that a leopard remains a dangerous beast of prey, even if its spots were dyed over, to that extent, it can be said that it is, in the DNA of the APC to remain a rudderless, wobbling vessel inevitably fated to experience a shipwreck.
The APC, which was the cobbling together of strange political bedfellows, was more or less, a marriage between political adventurers and fair-weather friends consummated with the sole purpose of capturing power just for the sake of self-aggrandizement and other pecuniary perquisites of power. The party did not bother to work out a coherent blueprint for the development and progress of the country or, for uplifting the well-being of the general citizenry. The ADP is therefore, not in the least surprised by the lack of focus and breathtaking mismanagement of the country by the APC in government.
The ADP has repeatedly advocated the pressing requirements for the reinvention of the nation’s security architecture by way of boosting the obvious shortage of manpower in the security agencies. We have stridently called for drastic, radical measures to redress the challenge of paucity of sophisticated modern armament and gadgets in the arsenal of the nation’s Armed Forces. We have also severally suggested honest commitment to the crucial issue of boosting the morale of members of the security agencies by enhancing their welfare and conditions of service.
But, a patently impervious APC government will not listen because, the party and the key individuals driving the levers of the government under its grip, are too inured by pride and impunity resulting from the dizzying elixir of power. The APC government in the last seven years, has been steadily piloting the ship of the nation aground because its chieftains are more disposed to the allure of egregious corruption and rapacious kleptomania.
Otherwise, how do we explain the repeated incidents of security breaches in the same pattern and same geographical space? What do we make of the seeming insult on our collective intelligence by the lamentations of Rotimi Amaechi, Buhari’s Minister of Transportation when he stated that, lives would have been saved and the entire incident averted if only, he had been allowed to procure and install rail track surveillance equipment? According to Mr. Amaechi who is aspiring for the presidency of the country, the said surveillance gadgets would have cost the government only N3 Billion Naira. The question in this regard, is, who are those that obstructed acquisition of the gadgets? Or, why the blame game?
A further illustration of the anarchy and policy somersaults in an administration that works on impulse rather than a well-charted policy direction, could be seen in the reaction of president Muhammed Buhari himself. The President, in his usual fashion, churned out a barrage of directives which we know, may not after all, translate into concrete actions. For example, the President gave an order to the security services to ensure, “immediate and unconditional rescue” of the abducted victims as well as, the tracking and arrest of the hoodlums. From our previous experiences, with such presidential grandstanding, the situation will not be altered as a result of the presidential orders.
The President also directed that henceforth, security agencies should shoot at sight, unauthorized persons in possession of AK-47 riffles. But, we would all recall that the President gave a similar order several months ago and till date, we have not heard of any arrests or, the shooting of people found with deadly weapons. President Buhari in the same vein, directed immediate acquisition of the rail track security facilities. A clear case of medicine after death, we should however not be surprised if the APC government in its usual tardy tradition, will not take several months and, perhaps, more incidents of terror attacks before the acquisition of something as simple and critical as the rail track surveillance equipment.
Finally, the Action Democratic Party is demanding that in the meantime, no stone should remain unturned in the efforts to rescue the hapless victims taken away as hostages by the satanic and monstrous agents of darkness. Contrary to the unconscionable, shocking and reckless call by Amaechi that members of the public should make donations towards the treatment of the wounded on hospital admission, the ADP is insisting that the Federal Government must be fully and comprehensively responsible for all the medical bills of the victims. The ADP is further calling on the Buhari administration to own up to its failings and ineptitude by paying full compensation to families of those who lost their lives as well as, for the valuables lost by victims to the marauders.
Very importantly, the Action Democratic Party is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to for once, demonstrate dynamic leadership, care and sensitivity to the feelings of citizens by ensuring that heads are made to roll. Those that must be held accountable include, the security Chiefs, who have manifested gross incompetence, lack of vision, diligence and dereliction of duty and the Minister of Transportation whose incapacities have severally manifested in the different departments under his purview. Of course, these people., should be made to face the music if, as it would have been the case in civilized climes, they lack on their own, the honour and nobility of mind to do the needful.
Once again, our heart-felt condolences and empathy to friends and relatives of the deceased and other victims of the painful but avoidable calamity in this their trying, difficult moment.
To the Buhari’s administration, let it be known that Nigerians are fed-up and things cannot go on this way, anymore.