The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has reasoned that some disgruntled politicians are jittery that their evil pact with Boko Haram will be exposed should the Service Chiefs remain in office.
The group made this disclosure on Monday during a press conference in Abuja in response to a publication calling for the removal of the country’s military heads.
In a statement signed by National Coordinator, Gabriel Onoja, CATE fingered Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum and his predecessor, Kasim Shettima, now in the National Assembly to be championing this agenda.
According to the group, five billion naira was budgeted by the pair with Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) their most recent beneficiary.
The group added that these politicians in Borno state and parts of the north-east used Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorists as enforcers during election and are desperately trying to keep it hidden.
CATE believes this could be the major reason these politicians want the Service Chiefs sacked by whatsoever means possible.
The Coalition, however, warned that Nigerians will not fold their hands and allow a handful of misguided politicians throw the country into confusion simply to satisfy their greed and selfish desire.
Read full statement below:
The attention of the Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has been drawn to a widely circulated publication by a group of disgruntled elements in the National Assembly populated majorly by politicians from the north east. The sponsored publication by the group was urging President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs with lie that it is the only way to stem the rising insecurity in Nigeria.
The group, under the aegis of Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the House of Representatives, has been confirmed as being on the payroll of the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Umaru Zulum and his predecessor. The group’s approach to this matter follows a now well too known strategy that had failed in the past and will fail again. It is a strategy of deploying veiled men with some supposed level of respectability to do the dirty work of laundering the image of terrorists while criminalizing the military chiefs tasked with defeating the terrorists.
Whilst like every other Nigerian, CATE respects the rights of the errant lawmakers to freely express themselves as it pleases them especially in a plural democracy like ours, what they should not do is to hide under altruistic intervention in national issues to advance a criminal agenda. This evil agenda, though long suspected in the public space, was validated by President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to Borno state where he openly confirmed that the political class in the state was responsible for the security situation there.
It is therefore unacceptable to Nigerians that some people abuse their high offices to direct deliberate falsehood at citizens with the aim of further degrading the security situation in the country. The lies being peddled by these elements and the amount of resources being deployed to execute this campaign could have been better deployed to productively engage the youths of the north east who have become susceptible to the antics of Boko Haram recruitment agents due to idleness, lack of education and sources of livelihood.
The 5 billion naira that was budgeted for this negative venture of forcing the military chiefs out office could have been deployed into the development of the north east and these lawmakers know it. But they are bowled over by their greed for power and money to such an extent that the concept of right and wrong is now alien to them. They would rather collect their share of this huge war chest so that they can drive flashy cars in Abuja while people lose life and limb in the north east. It the lure of material gains and base the inordinate quest for power that has pushed these lawmakers to developing hatred for the service chiefs as reflected in their bellyaching.
Rather than bellyaching over Mr President’s decision to stick to military chiefs that have earned his trust due to their diligent work, members of the Young Parliamentarians Forum should rather come clean with the evil deeds they have secretly committed as part of their contribution towards the restoration of lasting peace in Borno state and environs. They should for instance provide useful details on how they diverted the funds for their constituency projects to support Boko Haram.
Not to be left out is the imperative of full disclosure as it pertains to past reports that politicians in Borno state and parts of the north-east used Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists as enforcers during elections. These terrorists were reportedly used to intimidate entire villages and towns to force the electorate into handing members of this Young Parliamentarians Forum the tainted mandate they now parade around. Perhaps, they are worried that their secret pacts with Boko Haram will become public knowledge should the service chiefs continue with the good work they are doing.
Is therefore pertinent that these the so-called young parliaments answer some questions as Nigerians have had enough of being lied to. Why are the lawmakers more interested in the growth of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists than they are in the restoration of peace in Nigeria? Why are they prioritizing the demonizing of military chiefs over the weeding out of terrorist sympathizers like Senator Eyinaya Abaribe from the National Assembly? Why are they ignoring their own roles in the worsening poverty that is fueling Boko Haram? Why have they not recused themselves from piloting the affairs of Nigeria when they had woefully failed in backing the military and law enforcement with the legislation needed to combat terrorism? At what point were they going to own up to Nigerians that they are the evil ones behind the mask, that they are the hands moving the Boko Haram puppets?
It matters not how members of the Young Parliamentarians Forum or their backers want to answer these questions. What is certain is that t Nigerians will not fold their hands allow a handful of misguided politicians throw the country into confusion simply to satisfy their greed and selfish desire to destabilize the nation.