The Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari for campaigning in different parts of the country despite the killings in the North-Central particularly in Benue State.
The spokesman for the CNM, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said in a statement on Sunday that Buhari’s visit to Bauchi State to campaign less than 24 hours after several persons were slaughtered in Benue State was the height of insensitivity.
In the statement titled, ‘Fiddling while Nigeria is burning,’ the CNM urged the President to put the security of Nigerians’ ahead of his political ambition.
The statement read in part, “Mid last week, the regime of massacres in Benue State attained another height in the invasion of a church where two Catholic priests and indeterminate number of the congregation were butchered.
“This tragedy was casually reinforced by the decision of President Buhari to proceed on a campaign tour to Bauchi in careless and insensitive disregard of the intensifying Benue calamity. This peculiar attitude has become all too familiar and characteristic of President Buhari.
“Something of the unfolding national calamity can still be salvaged in the unlikely event that the President sees fit to mend his ways going forward. Were the President to continue to prioritise his re-election bid over the security and well-being of Nigerians, he would be putting the corporate existence of the country at risk.”
The coalition also hailed the United States’ Department of State for its report last week which accused the Buhari administration of failing to effectively tackle corruption and human rights abuses.
The CNM said the failed attempt to recall Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi-West despite his ‘unjust arrest’ was evidence that Buhari was running a government similar to totalitarian former President François Duvalier of Haiti.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Intervention Movement has advised Buhari to immediately sack the service chiefs and change the entire security architecture of the country.
The NIM said this in a statement signed by its two Co-chairmen, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba and Dr. Abdujalil Tafawa-Balewa.
The movement said the next set of persons that should be appointed must reflect the heterogeneous nature of the country.
The group said the spate of killings in the Middle Belt – especially in Benue State – was disturbing and urgent steps need to be taken.
It, therefore, made 10 recommendations some of which include the implementation of the 2014 National Conference especially the area that had to do with state policing.
The statement added, “Change the leadership of Nigeria’s entire security and intelligence infrastructure as they have failed in coming up with strategies for dealing with the situation. However, in appointing the new leadership, the government should be sensitive to the heterogeneous nature and diversity of Nigeria particularly our ethnic, religious and regional peculiarities and reflect same in the new appointments to engender the lost confidence and trust of Nigerians
“Redeploy police officers from the rank of commissioners to constables to their states of origin as an interim measure to douse the suspicion of collusion with herdsmen militia.”
The NIM also advised the President to closely monitor the activities of established herdsmen groups like the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
It asked the President to meet religious leaders with a view to calming frayed nerves.