…accuses ASUU of insensitivity, hints on borders reopening
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged governors, especially those from the oil-rich South-South of the country, to stop rogue elements from sabotaging oil installations. The President gave this charge at a meeting he held with the 36 state governors of the federation at the Presidential Villa, yesterday. Buhari pledged to reopen the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries soon as they would have internalized the message being passed to them by the closures.
He also accused the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of being insensitive to the challenges facing the country by refusing to concede on their demands in their negotiations with the government. On the need to secure oil facilities in the Niger Delta, the President said: “Every day I get situation reports about illegal refineries and the blowing up of pipelines. You must stop local rogues from sabotaging oil installations.”
Commenting on the prevailing security situation in the country, the President explained that the closure of the nation’s land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling in of weapons and drugs.
“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible,” he said. Speaking broadly on how to curb the security challenges across the country, Buhari charged the governors to work closely with traditional rulers and community leaders to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid security agencies.
Responding to the presentations made by governors from the nation’s six geo-political zones of the country stating their specific challenges, the President recalled that in the old order, communities identified new comers and passed information to constituted authority. “The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals.
“Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering,” the President told the governors. On banditry and kidnapping, Buhari gave the assurance that his government was thinking hard, pledging to make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them. He gave the assurance that the country’s military will continue to get the support they needed to fight criminals.
“I am not going to the public to speak about the vehicles and equipment we have ordered. What I can say is that the military received armoured cars and other equipment and they are training the trainers. More of such equipment, including military aircraft will come in,” he said. On the eight-month long strike by ASUU, the President said lecturers had not taken into consideration the larger challenges facing the country. “Government conceded something.
The problem is that they refused to look at the problem of the whole country. The Minister of Labour is working hard at it. It is amazing how ASUU will stay out of classrooms for so long. There’s a need for our elites to understand the challenges facing the country,” he said. Speaking on the #End- SARS protests, the President said his government was not averse to peaceful demonstrations, but would not allow such to be hijacked by hoodlums and mayhem in order to destroy public and private properties.
“We do not stop anyone from demonstrating, but you don’t set up roadblocks and smash windscreens. Which government will allow that?” he asked. The President also condemned foreign reportage of the October #EndSARS protests where soldiers allegedly shot at harmless protesters at Lekki, Lagos. He particularly accused the CNN and BBC of omitting the number of policemen killed, police stations razed, and the prisons that were thrown open for inmates to escape. “I was disgusted by the coverage, which did not give attention to the policemen that were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were opened.
They said we are all at fault. We don’t have the sympathy of anyone. We are on our own,” Buhari said. He pledged to never again allow violent protests in the country, stressing that “democracy does not mean confusion or lack of accountability.”