President Muhammadu Buhari met with John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday afternoon over the crisis rocking the party.
Recall that Mr Tinubu had written a letter to Odigie-Oyegun accused the chairman of sabotaging the reconciliation assignment given to him by the president.
Odigie-Oyegun arrived the presidential villa at 3 pm and left 50 minutes later after meeting with Buhari.
He did not speak to the media, walking briskly away as soon as he saw journalists approaching him.
Dapchi: FG, PDP fight dirty
- Minister: Opposition party inhuman, unpatriotic
- PDP: No, you’ve turned schoolgirls’ abduction into deals
- Buhari: We won’t abandon Christian student in custody
The Federal Government has described the statement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the release of Dapchi schoolgirls as inhuman and unpatriotic. It noted that the opposition party is plumbing the depths of infamy for saying that the adoption and release of the schoolgirls were stage-managed.
But the opposition party hit back. It insisted that the Federal Government has turned the abduction of schoolgirls into business transactions between the agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Boko Haram insurgents.
No fewer than 110 students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on February 19. On Wednesday, March 21, 104 girls out of the 110 abducted were freed while five are said to be dead and one is still missing.
On its part, the PDP said that the abduction and release of the girls were stage-managed by both the Federal Government and the ruling party, the APC. In a statement yesterday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government said such postulation portrayed the PDP as an inhuman, insensitive, unpatriotic and unworthy party.
The statement, which was signed by the minister’s Special Assistant, Segun Adeyemi, stated that the release of the Dapchi girls were negotiated by friendly countries and reputable international organisations, adding that “it would have taken a conspiracy of global proportion to have stage-managed the adoption and release of the girls.” According to Mohammed, the reaction of the PDP amounts to an expression of sour grapes, especially because the party failed woefully, when it was in power, to quickly resolve a similar abduction of schoolgirls.
“As we have said many times since the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls, no government is exempted from its own share of tragedies. What makes the difference is the way such tragedies are managed. “Whereas it took the PDP all of 18 days to even acknowledge the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014, the APC Federal Government acted promptly and responsively when the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted on February 19, 2018, hence their quick release,” the minister said. He said it was unfortunate that the PDP that failed woefully as a ruling party has also failed as an opposition party, going by its insensitive and crude response to the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls, a development, it added, that calls for non-partisan celebration.
“In its 16 years in power, the PDP redefined governance as cluelessness, massive looting of the public treasury and crude exhibition of power,” Mohammed noted. The minister assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would intensify the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the Federal Government should rather hide its face in shame, having been busted in its numerous lies in governance. His words: “We hope Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC as well as the Federal Government are following the reactions and comments of Nigerians on this latest ruse and how their party and government are being mocked. “Your APC and government have become frustrated because you can no longer hoodwink Nigerians as you did in the past.
The PDP will, therefore, overlook your intemperate reactions as signs of these times. “However, Alhaji Lai Mohammed need not be in a hurry to defend his dishonest and dysfunctional government as he would soon have more than enough to chew.
“This administration will, at the appropriate time, provide answer to allegations that while the nation sorrow, agents of the APC are busy in financial rackets and criminal round tripping of ransoms, in foreign currencies, to service APC interests.
“The minister should be ready to explain, at the appropriate time, those behind the transactions, who got what and under what agreements, as well as the truth behind allegations of clandestine deals with insurgents.” The PDP stated that it won’t resort to lies in a bid to govern Nigeria.
The party also told the minister that it does not need any crash course on opposition politics as such “will be full of advanced syllabus on lies, falsehood, deception, and propaganda, which are patent trademarks of the APC and its controlled Federal Government.” Ologbondiyan said that the PDP will always reply the Federal Government with facts.
“Our promise to the APC, the Federal Government and of course, Lai Mohammed, is that the PDP will never condescend to lies, deception and propaganda as we do not have any need for that. “The PDP will, as always, remain on the side of the truth as Nigerians, across board, work together on our repositioned platform to rescue our nation from the misrule of this deceptive, dysfunctional and incompetent APC, come 2019,” Ologbondiyan said.
However, the Igbo social cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has described the abduction and subsequent release of Dapchi as “the height of serial, inglorious pathological deceit and hoax” the country has ever witnessed in a short period of time. National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, noted that the incident was a “good plan” marred by poor execution.
The statement reads: “The latest drama of the Dapchi schoolgirls’ release is the height of serial and inglorious pathological deceit and hoax. In their bid to make unfounded and unthinkable comparisons with the regime of Gooduck Jonathan, President Buhari and his hegemonic Fulani cabal become antithetic as they are contradictory.
“For the first time in history, instead of dropping them in an undisclosed point, the abductors brought back their captives amid cheers and jubilation from observers and even security operatives who were said to have been on their trail for three weeks now.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to rescue the remaining students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State and the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, who are still in the custody of Boko Haram insurgents after their abduction.
The Red Chamber asked the government to learn from the abduction of the girls by protecting schools in the North-East and other parts of the country in general to avoid a repeat of 2014 Chibok and 2018 Dapchi girls’ saga.
Free our daughter, parents of Christian student beg FG, Boko Haram
Parents of Leah Sharibu, one of the 110 abducted students of the Government Girls’ Technical and Science College, Dapchi, Yobe State, who was not released by her abductors for allegedly refusing to convert to Islam, have called on government to do all within its power to secure the freedom of the 15-year-old girl. They said only their daughter’s release could strengthen their belief that government was not biased in its negotiations with the abductors.
The Sharibu accused the Federal Government of letting them down. Leah’s mother, Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu and her father, Mr. Nathan Sharibu, told Premium Times, an online newspaper, that President Muhammadu Buhari had reneged on his promise to rescue all the abducted girls when he visited Dapchi, adding that the continued detention of their only daughter would be tantamount to injustice. Amidst tears Rebecca said: “But my heart was broken on Wednesday morning when I searched through the released girls and could not set my eyes on my dear daughter, Leah.”
Rebecca, who had just returned home from the hospital, had fainted after receiving the news that Leah, her first child and only daughter, was not among those released. She said: “If Leah is home, she and her little brother would attend to everything in this compound. She would not let me do anything.”
On Wednesday, 104 of the schoolgirls were released after being held by the insurgents for 32 days. Five others had died while being transported on the day of the abduction on February 19, some of the freed girls said. They explained that the only girl still in captivity, Leah, was held back by the terror group because she refused to recite Kalima Shahada (the Islamic profession of faith in one God), to confirm her conversion to Islam. Rebecca, an ethnic Kilba from Hong Local Government Area of Adamawa State, said she had lived all her life in Dapchi. She said some of the freed girls told her how Leah was stopped by Boko Haram at the last minute.
“What her schoolmates that returned told me was that my daughter (was told she) must recite the Kalima Shahada (the Islamic profession of faith in one God), and she does not know how to recite it. “So they told her that if she didn’t know how to recite it then she should come down from the vehicle. She had already boarded the vehicle alongside others that were ready to come home. So she was asked to go down and join some three other females they met where they were kept. “They said my daughter would only be brought back home the day she knows how to recite Kalima Shahada.
“She insisted that she does not know how to recite and that she was not brought up as a Muslim. That was why she was held back. She was asked to go and stay with those three women who were also captives there. “She then pleaded with her friends that if they eventually made it home successfully, they should inform we, her parents, to continue to help her pray for God to protect her and bring her home safely as well; that whether she survived or not, she still needed prayers.
“My concern and question to the government is that since we were told that the negotiation was done for all the schoolgirls, why did government accept that only my daughter be left behind when others were freed and even brought home?
“So I am begging the Federal Government of Nigeria, if the negotiation was because they love all the girls as their own, they should do everything to help release my own girl. “To the Boko Haram members, I have nothing to say other than they should have pity on my only daughter and release her. It was not her fault that she is a Christian, I know that in this world, everyone chose the path of faith he or she has chosen in worshipping God. There is no way one could be forced to do what he or she does not know. It is not possible.”
On his part, Leah’s father, Sharibu, said he was away in his home state, Adamawa, when he received the news on Wednesday morning that his little girl and her colleagues were on their way back home. He said: “Half way on my return journey home, I received a call that the girls had arrived and only my daughter was left behind because she refused to convert to Islam.
I became sad. To make matters worse, I was called again to be informed that the mother was unconscious and was in the hospital.” Sharibu said he would not be happy until his daughter was rescued and brought home just like her mates.
He added: “Nigeria must do all within its powers to go and bring back my daughter, the same way they did to others. I really thank and appreciate the people of Dapchi community especially on how they rally round us at this time of great sorrow. “I am from Hong in Adamawa State, I got married here in Dapchi and all my children were born here.”
Olusosun: We’ve no place to go – Residents
Residents living near the Olusosun dump site at Ojota area of Lagos are in a quagmire: Their dilemma stemmed from the fire which broke out at the dump last week, from where smoke still emanates, and the relocation directives issued to them by the state government.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Hakeem Dickson, issued the directives on Monday at an event to herald the launch of Vision Zero Incidence. Reacting to the directives, many of the residents said nobody had given the relocation notice. According to them, the entire neighbourhood has nothing to do with the dump.
The majority of those who spoke with our correspondent said they had nowhere to go or means to relocate. Besides, they asked government to put out the fire at the dump instead of forcing them out of the area. One of the residents on Ikorodu Road, Ojota, who identified herself simply as Ajoke, said she was yet to receive any notice of relocation. She said: “Relocate to where? Which houses did government build that will accommodate all the residents?” Ajoke explained that many property owners had been living in the locality for several years, without any health hazard despite the offensive odour oozing from the dump.
She added that residents had adapted to the living condition. Ajoke urged government to hasten actions in turning the dump to an eco-tourism centre rather than courting problem. Dickson, had last Monday, during a briefing with journalists on “Vision Zero” in Ikeja, asked residents living close to the dump at Olusosun to relocate in order to prevent health hazards associated with inhalation of smoke billowing from the dump. Attempt to speak with the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosimi-Etti, who led a team of government’s officials on an emergency visit to the dump, was not successful.
But it was discovered that government has already issued a quit notice to artisans under the auspices of the Nigerian Automobile Technical Association (NATA), Lagos branch, who have their workshops near the dump. The about 1,500 auto mechanics, who clustered in groups to discuss the quit notice, were sad over the closure of their workshops.
They were shut out as the two main entrance gates to their workshops were under locks. A notice was posted on the two entrance gates by the state Ministry of Transportation to that effect. When contacted, the NATA Vice President, Mr. Adeoti Adebayo, said government had asked them to vacate their workshops near the dump temporarily. Adebayo said there was a meeting to the effect at the office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, at Alausa on Monday.
But he expressed disappointment at the way government went about the whole exercise. He said: “We were just informed to leave here temporarily because of health hazards. We have nowhere to go. Government should not tow this line at all.
“We met with the permanent secretary last Monday; we were asked to pack our belongings by the next day, but not long after the meeting, the task force came to force us out of here.” Another resident, living in one the inner streets, who claimed anonymity, said there was no notice from government asking them to relocate. An official of the Total Filling Station, backing Olusosun dump in Ojota, said the fire did not affect their operation, adding that nobody had given them any relocation notice. He, however, said if government eventually issued them quit notice, the staff would suffer.
A landlord on Ikorodu Road, who runs catering services, said she had not seen any relocation notice. According to her, the location of her house has nothing to do with the dump. Also, an official of one of the tyre plants in the area said nothing like relocation notice had been issued to the firm.
However, some of the scavengers and food vendors living on the dump have been asked to vacate the place. Some of them were scaling the fence to avoid being arrested by a team of mobile police on duty. Also, companies, mostly banks, motor parks, located in the area were busy transacting their busi-nesses.
The chief security officer of one of the first generation banks in the area said no quit notice had been served on the facility. He said: “It is true we are working under hazardous condition but relocating from Motorways would definitely affect our business. But if the bank management had received the directives from government, who are we to still operate here? “Since the smoke emanated from the dump, patronage by our customers has reduced drastically.
This is because if you come here between noon and 1p.m. everywhere would be covered by the smoke. Government should act fast and put it under control.” The Chairman of the Cab Operators at the Motorways, Mr. Makanjuola Idowu, said it was true that the smoke was affecting their businesses, but they had not received the information about the quit notice from any government.
He said: “The smoke is becoming unbearable for us. What we are used to was the odour coming from the dump but now we are contending with the smoke, which is more dangerous than the odour. Now some of our customers don’t patronise us anymore. “We are tired of the smoke. Government should act fast and put the fire under control because the whole community has been engulfed by smoke.
We want serious action.” At the Owena Motor Park, despite the smoke from the dump, some commercial drivers were calling on intending travellers to their park without minding the hazards associated with it. One of the drivers, who gave his name simply as Adepoju, said it was not possible for them to vacate the motor park because that was where they earned money to feed their families. He said: “I personally would have loved to leave the area because of the smoke, but I have no other place to go. If I do not work, who will take care of my children?
“When I get home every night, I always take anti-bacteria drugs and to protect myself from the smoke which I inhaled while doing my job. Before fire gutted the dump, we were eating and doing everything at the dump because our motor park is located inside the dump.” Another driver, who gave his name as Daniel, said it was God, who saved an asthmatic passenger who came to board a bus going to Ibadan in the park last week.
Daniel said the lady collapsed and had difficulty in breathing after she inhaled the smoke. He said: “That fateful day, the woman was not sitting directly inside the smoke, but the little one that got into her lungs blocked it. She started calling for help, pointing to her back that we should bring her inhaler for her. “If her inhaler was not accessible on time, she would have died. That is why government needs to act fast and put the smoke under control because of those who are suffering from asthma.”
A man, who has lived on the dump for over 15 years, Yusuf, said government should assist them financially. Yusuf noted that he came to Lagos in 2003 from Sokoto State and when he got to Ojota, the dump was where he saw the opportunity of making money. He said: “I saw the dump and saw opportunity of making money from the site.
Since then, I have been making money through picking pieces of metal and selling them to buyers. Onyekachi Ike, who has lived on the dump for two years, said he was picking shoe soles. Ike added that he had made a lot of money from it. According to him, he has no place to go but believed that government’s assistance would help most of them. He said: “I came to Lagos two years ago and I searched for work for a long time. I did not get any job.
So, a friend introduced me to the business of picking shoe soles. I pray the governor will use his good offices to assist us to relocate.” Another scavenger, Oluchi, blamed government for its negligence because, according to him, the fire started last year at the entrance gate.
He said: “The fire started last year which affected the Army post and other buildings occupied by some security agencies. They didn’t do anything until a few days ago when it degenerated to this level. Even government is accusing some people of setting the place on fire, which is not true. “There is a man, Ibrahim, who claimed ownership of this place. He had boys and you cannot come to this place without his consent. We pay money to him but later he disappeared. Nobody sees him again or hears from him.
“Where will people go? Government should make provision for them. These boys are making money through those things they pick and sell. When you send them away without making alternative for them, the streets will accommodate them. And if they don’t see what to eat, they will look for things to steal and make money to eat.”
Madam Nimi, a native of Rivers State, who found abode in the area where she makes a living by selling banana, asked government to provide money for them. The banana seller said since her husband left her, she had no place to go until someone close to her assisted her to get a place at the dump. Another man, who gave his name as Mr. Segun, said that he had put calls across to his friends to assist him for the meantime before he would finally relocate to his state.
The Ondo State-born man said that the relocation order by government was a blessing in disguise for him as he would use the opportunity to go home. He said: “Since I lost my job and sent my family home. I was supposed to go home and meet them. I am tired of this state because of the high cost of things, like house rent, feeding and everything. Before now, Lagos was for the poor and the rich, but now, it is for the rich. The rich have it all.” Some children were assisting their parents to carry their belongings.
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