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‘Stop speaking through aides’, Ndume asks Buhari to address Nigerians

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, has expressed worry over the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the rising insecurity across…

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, has expressed worry over the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the rising insecurity across the country.

Ndume, who represents Borno South in the Senate, urged Buhari to stop speaking through his aides on vital a issue like insecurity.

He said if the United States president could be holding press briefings daily on happenings in Afghanistan, Buhari should also address Nigerians constantly on the country’s security problem.

The lawmaker spoke in an interview with journalists in Abuja while reacting to bandits’ attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

Two senior officers were shot dead while a major was abducted in the incident.

“I am just being worried that the president is not talking to Nigerians. In a situation like this, silence is not golden,” Ndume said.

“If the US president could be addressing Americans every day on the situation in Afghanistan, I also expect President Muhammadu Buhari to be addressing Nigerians either daily, weekly or fortnightly on the security situation across Nigeria.

“The usual statements from his media aides are not the solution. The president should create a situation room to brief Nigerians on the current situation and what his government is doing about it.

“Such action would allay the fears of the people. It is not enough to provide the security agencies with everything they need to prosecute the war, the president should take charge.

“He should also cultivate the habit of visiting places where incidents happen to physically assess the situation on the ground,” he added.

‘Expose moles among you’

The senator expressed confidence that the military authorities would track down the armed gang who attacked NDA.

He, however, urged military officers to expose moles among them who may be giving information to bandits.

He said, “It is the responsibility of the military personnel, at this stage, to keep watch over one another and expose the activities of the moles among them who could have sympathy for the insurgents and prevent the unpatriotic insiders from giving out information that could sabotage the good work the Nigerian military is doing to end terror, banditry and other criminal activities in the country.”

No blanket amnesty for repentant insurgents’

The lawmaker also dismissed claims that repentant Boko Haram insurgents who had surrendered to the military were being offered blanket amnesty and recruited into the Army.

He said, “It is not true that the repentant terrorists are being recruited into the military. The best the military could get from them is information.

“The Nigerian Army cannot even do that without following a laid down process of recruitment.

“It is also not true that the Department of State Service is granting amnesty to repentant Boko Haram commanders and giving them financial empowerment.

“The DSS cannot do that because it doesn’t have the mandate to carry out such a task.

“Even the president cannot grant such amnesty without the involvement of the National Assembly. The DSS cannot do such thing in secret.”

He explained further that “The military or the civil authorities are not just reviving the Boko Haram members who had surrendered and integrating them into the society.

“They are first of all being handled by the military as prisoners of war. They are now being thoroughly interrogated to ascertain their levels of involvement.

“This would enable the military and the government to determine those that would be prosecuted and those that could be reintegrated into the society.

“There is a military facility meant for the accommodation, profiling, and prosecution of repentant Boko Haram because there are judges there who have even sentenced some of the repentant terrorists to prison.”

He, however, urged the federal government to involve the locals in any arrangement meant to determine the level of the repentant insurgents’ involvement in Boko Haram activities.