Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, says what the Federal Government has done to AK-47-wielding bandits is worse than designating them as terrorists.
Shehu said this in an interview with BBC News Pidgin on Saturday morning.
He was responding to a question in an interview with BBC News Pidgin on Saturday morning on why the regime of his principal, president Muhammadu Buhari, has not outlawed blood-sucking bandits just as the current government proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra and moved to do the same to Yoruba Nation secessionist group.
“What the Buhari administration has done to the arms-wielding bandits is worse than being declared as terrorists. There is a subsisting order by the President that any arms-wielding, AK-47 bandits should be shot on sight.
“Yes, IPOB has been proscribed by law of the land, there is no shoot-on-sight order,” Shehu said.
“The Nigerian Air Force is busy bombing locations, the military is there on the ground, exchanging fire for fire, taking them out in hundreds, that is certainly not treating people (bandits) lightly,” he added.
The presidential aide also said, “One thing people who say that ignore is the successes that are being recorded in many areas in the fight against insurgency in the country.”
Garba claimed there have been “enormous successes” recorded in dealing with bandits and terrorists. “For instance, Boko Haram are surrendering today in their thousands, this did not just happen,” he noted.
According to him, a lot of the bandits are being circled and taken out. “It is a matter of time, they will be substantially reduced and the Nigerian state will be safe all over again,” Shehu assured Nigerians.
In September 2017, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the then Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata; had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to give judicial backing to the Executive Order of President Buhari, outlawing IPOB and its activities in every part of Nigeria.
The then Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had granted the order proscribing IPOB.
Recently the Federal Government hint that it might proscribe the Yoruba Nation movement led by Prof Banji Akintoye and Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho.
Catholic Priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Fr Ejike Mbaka, has reacted to an allegation by the presidency that he once brought three contractors to President Muhammadu Buhari and was rebuffed.
Mbaka had on Wednesday said God is angry with Buhari over his inaction on the widespread killings across the nation.
Speaking at the Adoration Ministry in Enugu, Mbaka said it is wrong for Buhari to maintain grave silence despite the incessant killings in the country.
He accused the government of being behind several killings across the country and tagging separatists groups as terrorists rather than focus on getting them good jobs.
The cleric also frowned on the activities of herders that destroy the farmland of people without any repercussion.
He said Buhari had failed Nigeria woefully and that he should resign now. Mbaka also called for the President’s impeachment.
Reacting to the allegation by the Presidency on Sunday, Mbaka blasted Garba Shehu, saying he only recommended three people to the presidency for a project to end insecurity in the country.
In a video obtained by SaharaReporters, Mbaka, in a veiled reference to Shehu’s allegation, said, “If I talk, you talk, because the government is paying you? Do you know how many people I am paying? I am an employer.
“Someone said he gave father Mbaka a contract; I started laughing. I am not here to defend anybody’s stupid allegation but God used that man (Garba Shehu) to tell the world that the Buhari government is not giving me money. Shehu, God bless you for telling everybody you didn’t give me a contract.
“The three men he (Garba Shehu) talked about..these were the three men that I recommended to the government; they wanted to tackle insecurity; they had the gadgets. That was during the first administration.
“They had a platform to end insecurity in one month. I handed them over to the government people. I didn’t know them. They said they had all it takes to revive the oil apparatus and get the youths employed; the government rejected their offers.
“Do they know how many people I feed? They reported they denied me a contract; which contract? Do they know how many widows I am paying their house rents? If a priest who has no child can do this, the federal government should do more.
“If they are worried I am blessing Nnamdi Kanu, is he not blessed, is he not my brother spiritually, is he not my son? What’s their problem? Let them be careful with their choice of words. If anyone tells the truth, he becomes a terrorist, shame on you…. I do my charity without assistance.”
The Presidency has said those who allowed the recent #EndSARS protests to degenerate into the destruction of lives and properties in the country must account for their actions.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), made this known on Sunday while featuring on Channels Television’s programme, Sunday Politics.
The PUNCH had reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria froze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS champions while another promoter of the movement, Modupe Odele, was prevented from travelling last week and had her passport seized by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
When asked whether his principal was aware of the development, Shehu said the buck stops at the table of the President, noting that the protesters must face the law.
He said, “This country has only one president and has only one constitution. President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for his government. The buck stops on his table.
“We are a country governed by law. There is a constitution —under section 33— that clearly defines the rights of citizens to freely protest in a peaceful way but where a peaceful protest turns into riot, violence and looting, there is a law and order duty to be performed.
“Everyone witnessed the massive looting of public and private properties particularly in Lagos, Calabar, Plateau, Taraba and some other states, even the FCT.
“Now, the laws of the country must be allowed to decide, to rule on wrongdoing on the part of anybody.
“I am not particular about any celebrity or promoter but this country has been harmed enormously and people should be prepared to account for what they did.”
He added that some politicians who promoted the #EndSARS demonstrations including those of the Peoples Democratic Party should “publicly denounce” the attendant destruction caused by the protest.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has hailed Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for saving Nigeria democracy in 2015.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has hailed Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for saving Nigeria democracy in 2015..
He said Jega’s refusal to deny President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the 2015 presidential election has saved the nation’s democracy from collapsing.
Shehu, stated this while appearing on a special end of the year programme ‘2019 End Of A Decade’ on Channels Television.
Shehu maintained that there was a move by the then ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to seize power.
He said: “We thank God for Jega and the civil society activism at that time because if Jega had caved in, this democracy would have collapsed at that time.
“So, it is an interesting time that we had lived through and then, it tells a story of the resilience of our democracy and that we shouldn’t just toy with it. It didn’t come cheap, it didn’t come easy.”
The Presidential spokesman disclosed that the All Progressives Congress, APC, officials had monitored the election exercise closely.
“For us in the situation room at that time, it was an attempt to grab power or to hold on to power by regime elements or beneficiaries of the system who saw defeat staring them in the face.
“Before those results got to the INEC chairman and he announced them, you are aware that parties had representatives at the lowest of the point; the polling units and the local councils, and the states.
“They did a collation of their own and they had a sense of how or which direction things were going. So, it was obvious to those regime elements at that time that the regime was falling,” he said.
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The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says it’s difficult to say exactly if Boko Haram will ever be eradicated in Nigeria. He, however, said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration should be praised for reducing the insurgents’ attacks against the country considerably.
It may be recalled that the Federal Government had, in 2016, claimed to have defeated Boko Haram.
Shehu, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme, said this in Abuja on Monday.
The President’s spokesman made the point when he was reminded that thousands of Internally Displaced Persons had yet to return to their homes, while periodic attacks by insurgents still take place in some parts of the North-East.
In response, Shehu said, “Well, I can’t promise you that Boko Haram will or will not be eradicated. But it is an ongoing challenge, globally. “Even in more advanced countries, more ‘weaponised’ nations, it is still a challenge.
“The point we are making is that the attacks you just cited are still a far cry from the enormity of those attacks we have seen in the past.
“They have been greatly minimised and they are being pushed farther away from the national population.”
Shehu also lamented the proliferation of small arms in the country, which he said has worsened the issue of banditry in the country. He, however, said the Police, through its operation Puff Adder outfit, had been able to arrest over 160 bandits across the country.
The President’s spokesman added, “Our security services are coming to terms with the fact that this (weapons proliferation) is one area they have to tackle.
“The source of weapons – whether locally manufactured or imported – must be tackled; otherwise, it will continue, because it is oxygen to crime.” He expressed fear that even weapons that had been seized by the Police from bandits would be replaced by the criminals because weapons are easily available.
Shehu added, “So, we are looking into the source of the weapons. As I said, the government has identified the manufacturers and many people have been arrested along with weapons.”
The President’s aide said neighbouring countries were also assisting Nigeria in the area of curbing weapons’ smuggling. (Punch)
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The Presidential Media Aide, Mr. Garba Shenhu has described media reports of a fight between top government officials at the State House as fabrications that could only have been conjured by correspondents who would probably make better fiction writers than journalists.
He continued his tirade on the journalists in a meeting with them Friday by branding them are mere irresponsible writers.
The presidency also denied that there is feud between the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
Shehu insisted that it was impossible for the conversation between Kyari, and Oyo-Ita to have been heard by any journalist, as the distance between the State House correspondents and the two government officials as they addressed the Vice President at Wednesday’s FEC meeting, would have made their conversation completely inaudible to the journalists.
It insisted that it was taking the matter beyond what it is to suggest that mere debate and argument over issues, translated to a feud, a fight or a clash.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu, stated this in a short meeting with State House Correspondents at the the Media Center, to appeal to them to be responsible in their reportage of the number seat of power in the country.
“By tradition, the media organizations send their best reporters to the State House. This should reflect, at all times on the quality of reporting.
“I am a journalist myself, and in journalism, you are not supposed to report anything other than the facts of what you heard or observed directly, or what you were told by a firsthand or authoritative eyewitness,” he said.
“You cannot add two and two to make twenty-two and present it to the public as news.”
According to him, “People can debate and argue over issues, but to suggest that there was a feud, a fight or a clash was to take matters beyond what they were.”
Shehu also denied categorically any suggestion that the two government officials had been summoned to see the President over the alleged skirmish, referring to that conclusion as yet another example of conjecture.
“Top government officials of that calibre see the President on a regular basis. To suggest that they were summoned to see him as a result of a so-called feud is just a fabrication, a conclusion that is below the level of responsible journalism that we expect from our State House correspondents,” he said. (The Sun)
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Wole Balogun, Ekiti, Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitshaand Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, declared during a programme on national television, yesterday, that killer herdsmen are not terrorists.
He described them as “criminal gangs.”
There have been clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers across the country. Clashes between herdsmen and local communities, in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Ondo, Delta, Edo, Kaduna states, among others.
Ekiti, Benue, Taraba states have enacted anti-grazing laws. In these states, herdsmen have rejected the law and vowed to challenge them in court.
Regardless, Shehu reiterated on Channels, yesterday, that the federal government did not declare herdsmen as terrorists because they are “only criminal gangs” and quickly added that security agencies are dealing with them, according to the law.
“There is a difference between a criminal gang, criminal activity and a terrorist activity; and, I think from the definition we are getting, yes, Fulani herdsmen are a criminal gang and they are being dealt with according to the law of the country.
“But, IPOB, like Boko Haram, has a territory they have carved out for themselves, as a sovereign state of their own. They have shown the willingness to invade neighbouring states. They have raised concerns in neighbouring Kogi and Benue states. They have said they are interested in taking over Bayelsa and Rivers…IPOB is a small group of people running
“That is exactly what Boko Haram has done; with a flag and taxation system. This is not acceptable to the law of this country.”
Last Friday, the Defence Headquarters declared IPOB a “militant terrorist” organisation.
South East governors followed suit and proscribed the group’s activities, after a marathon meeting.
On Wednesday, a Federal High Court, in Abuja, granted government’s prayer and granted an interlocutory injunction to outlaw the group as a terrorist organisation.
Asked whether the government knows the IPOB leader’s whereabouts, Shehu replied that the enquiries should be directed, instead, at those who signed his bail in April.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s counsel,had alleged that his client is missing, after security agents allegedly stormed his home in Umuahia, on September 14, 2017.
“I am surprised someone would ask this question. Look, some people went to court and obtained his freedom, they signed his bail. I believe that a high profile group including a Senator of the Federal Republic signed in a court of law and obtained his freedom.
“So, if you are looking for him, why don’t you ask the people who bailed him? Nobody has informed me that Mr Kanu is in the hands of any institution of government. But, if I were looking for him, I would ask the guy who bailed him because that was the deal he had with the court of the land,” said Garba.
When Daily Sun contacted Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, to react to Shehu’s comments, he said the government was just being selective on who to label as terrorist.
“It is very clear that they are the one who determines who is corrupt and who is not corrupt. When Fulani herdsmen sack communities in broad daylight, like it happened in Benue and Plateau, they carry AK 47, maim and destroy people. What do we call them if not terrorists?
“If the government of the day says the herdsmen are not terrorists, we leave them to continue to be selective.
“The destruction that the herdsmen have wreaked on the soil of Nigeria is a far cry from the mere agitation and peaceful protests IPOB have carried out and yet, government proscribed IPOB.”
On his part, Chief Press Secretary to Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, Terver Akase, insisted that what the herdsmen had done in the state amounted to acts of terrorism.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun in Makurdi, yesterday, Akase, who noted that unlawfully taking the lives of innocent people was not permitted anywhere in the world, maintained that such action is nothing but terrorism. “It is difficult to describe who is a terrorist and who is not but, what we do know is that whoever carries weapons to invade a community or a town and kill innocent people, if such person is not a terrorist, what he is doing amounts to an act of terrorism, because terrorism also seeks to destroy…That person may not be a terrorist but that act is an act of terrorism which herdsmen have been carrying out in Benue state,” the CPS said.
IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Mr Emma Powerful, dismissed Shehu’s comments and insisted that the group has the right to agitate for an independent state of Biafra.
“IPOB is fighting for our right, which is permitted by the law of the United Nations and are terrorists for being peaceful and harmless
“Fulani herdsmen are recognised as the fourth, deadliest terrorist group in the whole world. We maintain our non-violent approach, towards the restoration of Biafra.”
To the leader of the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Mr Uchenna Madu, Shehu’s comments “has proved an earlier exposition that armed Fulani herdsmen, causing violent havoc in Christian-dominated regions are Hausa Fulani jihadist foot soldiers.
“We still insist that IPOB is not a terrorist organisation.” (The Sun)
Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The presidency has given an indication that the federal government may not be able to meet the huge financial obligation the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) demands.
FG said the N850 billion debt is more than the total allocation to the Ministry of Education in the 2017 Budget which is at N369 billion.
It said the union leaders were aware of the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited the agreements based on which the strike was declared.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily.
While reminding the academic union that the FG had set up a committee on the matter, Shehu regretted that they decided to uphold mark on stroke at a time they were expected to sit down and negotiate with the committee.
On the impossibility of meeting the huge financial obligation by the government, Shehu said, “Governments enter into agreements that they can pay for. Ability to pay is a key requirement in going into agreements.
“Since President Buhari assumed office, he has sent words out there in form of a warning to all government institutions that ‘please do not go into negotiations and agreements that you cannot pay for. Get the clearance.’
“I understand they are talking about debts owed their members to the tune of N850 billion. If I am correct, the entire appropriation for the Ministry of Education for this year is N369 billion. So where do they want to get the money from?
“We have inherited these agreements and we are not running away from them. The government has set up a committee led by Babalakin. They are already sitting. Why didn’t they sit down and negotiate all these things?
“This strike is totally unnecessary. The issues can be resolved especially where we have a full understanding of where we are coming from. The governments that signed those agreements did not deem it fit to implement because the capacity was not there. (The Sun)
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has pleaded with Nigerians to continue exercising patience with President Muhammadu Buhari, describing him as a long distance runner and not a sprinter. Shehu, who spoke during an interactive session with students and youths, in a meeting organised by the Citizen Support for Good Governance in Nigeria (CSGGN) in Abuja at the weekend, urged Nigerians to appreciate the humongous achievements President Buhari has recorded in the area of security.
While insisting that Buhari meant well for Nigerians, Shehu argued that the Boko Haram insurgents would have taken over the seat of power, Presidential Villa had the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under former President Goodluck Jonathan, continued in office. In his words: “Your support for Muhammadu Buhari, I assure you, will not be in vain. If you look at him, he has achieved everything one desires to achieve and he chose the military career and rose to become an Army General. Beyond that, he became a military head of state.
“So, if the ambition of one is to rule one’s country, he has achieved that already. But President Buhari fought three times and won on the fourth count with the firm belief that he has something to offer the future generations of this country. In essence, what I am saying is that he doesn’t have personal wish for fortune, for power, to acquire houses or money, no! That is not Buhari.
“He wants a future that is secure and stable for young generations that are coming that is yourselves. This why in his messages, he has stayed on three key issues; he has reported this over and over again. He says this country cannot make any progress without security.
Throwing more light on why he described President Buhari as a marathoner, he said: “It is because there are presidents, who are 100-day presidents, presidents who seek to make the impact they want to make in 100 days or in one year in order to catch headlines and create impression. President Buhari wants to put in place something that will endure. It is easier to destroy than to rebuild.”
He said Buhari was working to restructure the economy, insisting: “No country will develop when you are having to import everything, including tooth pick and tissue paper.”
As I speak to you now, Nigeria just achieved the record of the second largest producer of rice in the world. The rice revolution just started a year ago.” (The Sun)
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that decisive measures be taken to stop the recurring violence in the Southern Kaduna State.
Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris was in the state on Saturday and Sunday to assess the situation .
In addition to the conventional policemen deployed in the area, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said a squadron of mobile policemen had also been stationed there.
According to him, the army was setting up two battalions in Southern Kaduna. The military will continue to carry out air surveillance across flash points of the area.
The President, the statement said, has also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to carry out a joint assessment of the situation with the sister agency in Kaduna, SEMA, in order to determine the level of response required for urgent aid for the victims.
It reads: “These measures should soon ensure the return of normalcy to the region, while the Kaduna State government continues its peace building efforts.