Xenophobia: Garba Shehu Outlines ‘Key Takeaways’ From Buhari’s Visit To South Africa

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, on Saturday published an article on President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to South Africa.

Mr Shehu’s article entitled ‘Key Takeaways From President Buhari’s Visit To South Africa’ comes one day after the President returned to Nigeria on Friday after his three-day trip.

President Buhari travelled to South Africa in company with 10 governors and ministers in the face of xenophobic attacks on foreigners in that country which forced hundreds of Nigerians to return home.

READ ALSO: Nigeria, South Africa To Issue 10-Year Visa To Businessmen, Academics

In his article on Saturday, Mr Shehu believes the President’s visit has “ushered in the process of healing of wounds that had festered over time, and upgrading of good bilateral relations to special and strategic levels”.

Read the full text below:

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM PRESIDENT BUHARI’S VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA By Garba Shehu

There were several crucial outcomes from the three-day state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Republic of South Africa, October 2nd – 4th, 2019, and here are some highlights from the historic journey.

The President, who was accompanied by Governors of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Plateau State, Simon Lalong, seven cabinet ministers, head of the National Intelligence Agency and that of the Diaspora Commission was on a dual mission to undertake a State Visit and Co-Chair, with President Cyril Ramaphosa, the inaugural meeting of the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Nigeria and South Africa.

In 2016, the two countries had agreed to lead the BNC at the level of heads of state, which was the first ever by Nigeria.

In focus during President Buhari’s visit was a wide range of bilateral, regional, continental and global issues of common interest.

For the first time, in the very historic relations that binds the two countries, this visit sought to, and successfully, established an equation between the two and their leaders. The result seems positive with both leaders acknowledging how the meetings reinforced the historic and strategic relations that exist between them, and the need to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation. They both proclaimed a perfect meeting of minds.

The meetings took place against the overarching backdrop of the sporadic xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals including Nigerians, which had threatened to rupture the cordial and brotherly relationship between the two countries.

When some countries in the sub-region recalled their ambassadors and threatened to cut ties with South Africa following the xenophobic attacks, Nigeria under President Buhari, chose to act wisely by not taking rash actions. There were doubts in many quarters on the continent, if the South African state understood early enough, the magnitude of the consequences of attacks on their own nation, and Africa as a whole. So for President Buhari, the approach was one of engagement, to assist the government and people of that country to overcome their problem, which by now had become our own, and Africa’s challenge.

President Buhari set the right tone by sending a Special Envoy, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), to obtain first hand facts concerning the condition of Nigerians and to sensitize the South African leadership on the concerns of Nigeria and of the continent as well the implications of the attacks.

After receiving a brief from the envoy, the President decided to proceed with an earlier planned visit, rather than abort it as some had suggested. With the visit, he saw an opportunity to put Nigeria/South Africa relations on a fast track; that if the two largest economies can come closer and work together, they can help one another, and the continent at large to overcome the many problems confronting them. Where there is development, prosperity and jobs among Africans, the backward habits as embarrassingly witnessed in South Africa and reprisal attacks, including Nigeria, would have been avoided. President Buhari did not, therefore, see “an eye for an eye” or a tit-for-tat as a solution.

In appreciation of this approach, many in African leadership, including the African Union have sent messages to the President, thanking him for his enlightened leadership and wisdom in dealing with the matter, and in particular for speaking for Africa.

Arising from their discussions, both leaders condemned xenophobic violence and the reprisals. A solution to the typical violence, in their various pronouncements, lies in poverty eradication, jobs creation, crime prevention, observance of rule of law and lawful migration. The two Presidents directed their Foreign Affairs Ministers to give practical expression to the Early Warning Mechanism for prevention and monitoring platform.

Closely linked to this is the issue of the large number of Nigerians incarcerated in South African prisons, their number still undetermined, and lack of communication from the authorities regarding the process and the status of these arrests. The President requested relevant authorities to alert the Nigerian High Commission and the Consulate-General whenever a Nigerian is arrested, in line with Geneva Convention on Consular matters.

Nigeria and South Africa agreed to exchange a list of frequent travellers, notable business people and academics to facilitate the issuance of long term multiple entry visas for 10 years. There was also an agreement to re-establish the Nigeria/South Africa Consular Forum, with departments equivalent to our own Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Co-Chair), Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian High Commission, the Consulate, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking of Persons, Immigration Service and the Police. The forum will meet two times each year.

The two countries agreed to cooperate in geopolitical matters affecting the continent, on such matters of human rights, reform of the United Nations, migration and security issues, the fight against corruption and terrorism, nuclear disarmament and Western Sahara.

To take full advantage of the Nigerian Presidency of the UN General Assembly, currently led by Nigeria’s Permanent Representative, Professor Tijjani Mohammed Bande, and the South African Chairmanship of the Security Council for October, 2019, they agreed to push for the implementation of Resolution 2439 of the Security Council passed 2017, that called for a High Level Visit to the Lake Chad Basin.

The leaders of the two countries agreed to come closer on defence matters and counter terrorism; to intensify military training cooperation and share intelligence, and to work closely in areas of space technology and cyber security. It is also important to note that that the leaders of the first and second economies on the continent agreed to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment. The inaugural meeting of this council will hold in April in Abuja next year. The meeting reviewed and agreed on the terms of reference as well as the operating rules for the council.

President Buhari and President Ramaphosa also tackled the knotty issue of market access. While South Africa is expected to re-submit the items they wish to have removed from Nigerian import prohibition list and want identified legal and regulatory difficulties facing businesses from their country in Nigeria removed, this country equally wants to have similar obstacles faced by Nigerian companies in changed or taken out altogether. Nigeria expressed commitment to open a trade office in South Africa.

Both countries noted the non-participation of Nigerian banks in South Africa and requested such banks to define their interests for determination by the relevant regulatory authorities in South Africa.

The same thing would apply to the aviation sector where the South African Airways has free air space in Nigeria but airlines here say they have difficulties accessing the South African air space. South Africa indicated they will look into all the issues.

The two leaders also took note of the significant footprints of South African businesses in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast foods. They welcomed business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises as well as the investment of the Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.

In dealing with the unwanted tide of informal artisanal mining activities, a team from South Africa will undertake a study tour of Nigeria in January next year. Also in the coming year, there will be joint minerals investment road show as well as an in-depth research and study of coal in this country, with Nigeria gleaning from South Africa’s rich experience in the sector.

Nigeria’s proposal for knowledge sharing in the areas of policy, legal and regulatory frameworks in mining and metallurgy sector was also welcomed.

In another significant pronouncement to be welcomed by many, President Ramophosa expressed regrets again and again on the xenophobic incidents and contended that South Africa is an integral part of the African continent: “We should never forget that our fellow Africans have contributed to the development of our economy and that of the region, and that South Africans are helping to develop economies across the continent.”

In a speech that should calm many Nigerians, who daily accuse our African brothers of ingratitude, President Ramaphosa said at the State Banquet in honour of President Buhari that: “We owe our freedom to Nigeria and Africa.” He cited sacrifices made by the country and its citizens “in spearheading the call for sanctions against the apartheid regime in the 70s and 80s following the Sharpeville massacre in 1960,” adding that “without Nigeria, freedom for South Africa would have come at a greater cost and a later date.” He repeatedly gave strong assurances that xenophobic attacks will not be allowed to happen again.

On his part, President Buhari read one of his best speeches in the current times at the banquet, a speech that in no small measure, delighted Nigerians and South Africans.

When he met the Nigerians in Diaspora, the President spoke as a father and a true African leader: “Recent acts of xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa. It was an embarrassment to the continent. Let me again use this medium to condole the families of all those who lost their lives over the years in such tragic incidents. May their souls rest in peace. I also commiserate with all those who were injured. May God heal their wounds. My sympathies are also with those who have lost properties.

“During my visit here, we have discussed these attacks on foreigners and Nigerians. The authorities have expressed their apologies over the incidents and have resolved to take necessary steps to end this ugly trend in the interest of our relationship.

“We have just inaugurated the Nigeria/South Africa Bi-National Commission at the level of Heads of State with a firm determination to further bring our two countries together in a mutually beneficial partnership. Let us, therefore, give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence.”

President Buhari’s visit to South Africa has, without doubt, ushered in the process of healing of wounds that had festered over time, and upgrading of good bilateral relations to special and strategic levels.

Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity.

Shehu: If NASS Says Restructuring Is The Way To Go, The President Will Consider It

 

The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has explained how the government plans to go about restructuring the country.

While the matter has been widely discussed and advocated for by many, Mr Shehu says the government is not opposed to it but only has a different approach from those advocating for it.

“Yes (restructuring) is there in our party’s manifesto but I think the difference with those advocates is the mechanism for achieving this,” he said on Channels TV’s Independence Day edition of Politics Today.

According to him, many of advocates call for a restructuring that is independent of the National Assembly.

But the government believes that anything outside the parliament is not representative of the will of the people.

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“I guess that some of them think that this can be achieved through a process that alienates the parliaments.

“Our sense is that an elected government in a democracy must work with the elected parliament and that anything outside the parliament, not elected by the people is not representative of the popular will of the people because the parliament is the repository of the popular will of the people.

“So, if the Nigerian parliament says this is the way to go, the president will consider it,” Shehu said.

UN Rapporteur Report Of Violence In Nigeria Disappointing – Presidency

'It's Jealousy': Garba Shehu Faults PDP's Comments On Niger Governors’ Visit
A file photo of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

 

The Presidency has said that it is disappointed by a UN rapporteur report of violence In Nigeria.

While the Presidency agrees that the violence in Nigeria, or in any country, is a major concern and that there is a rippling effect, the Presidency said it is disappointed that the rapporteur was silent on intra-group violence.

Spokesman to the Presidency, Mr Garba Shehu argued on Friday that in Benue, Taraba, Cross River States and many parts of the country, most of the casualties result from intra-group, inter-group and community violence, adding that many of the displaced persons across the nation are also victims of these conflicts.

READ ALSO: Army Accuses Action Against Hunger Of Aiding, Abetting Terrorists

Mr Garba stated that there is absolutely no doubt that violence between farmers and herders, which has a long history in Nigeria spiked in recent years but the effectiveness with which the Federal and State authorities responded made a big difference.

He further stressed that calm has virtually returned to all parts affected by the peculiar violence, hence the reason the Presidency is disappointed by the UN report.

“We are saddened that the rapporteur did not address intra-ethnic conflicts and cattle rustling as key elements in herder/farmer conflicts. In Benue State for instance, the Tiv/Jukun conflict and kidnapping is a major problem. We are glad that local communities have fully realized this, and scholars with a strong motivation for peace and stability in their communities and the nation are trying to address the problem.

“Ignoring the salient issues will not help to solve the problem. If you are going to address violence and the general insecurity in Nigeria, incidents everywhere should be part of the narrative. Not addressing this might make it easier to blame the Federal Government, but national peace and security is community based and a collective responsibility.

“Arrests, prosecution and locking people up are only small parts of National Security and Safety strategy,” Mr Shehu said.

He further argued that in Benue State, the work of a US scholar of Tiv extraction, Professor Dick Adzenge deserved special mention for attempting to get aspects of violence addressed.

“Professor Adzenge and a few others like him are working with young people, traditional rulers and communities to seek peaceful resolution of conflicts and encourage peaceful co-existence.

“The sort of effort we are talking about here has so far revealed interesting facts about the problem in Benue State that cannot be ignored.

“And it is the sort of support we seek from the UN rapporteur in reporting, not the report that scratches the surface of the subject then ends up blaming the government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. The UN representative needs to be truthful and even-handed in her assignment,” he said.

The President’s media aide was of the opinion that the expectation that arresting and putting people in prison is the only credible response to violence is a mistake.

President Buhari Loses Staff Who Served Him For 30 Years

Buhari Condemns Gombe Killings, Condoles With Victims' Families
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday mourned the passing of one of his staff member, Buhari Nalado Sandamu.

“I have lost a good and honest caretaker.

“I have lost a prudent and a wonderful custodian who did so well taking care of my country home in Daura. May Allah bless his soul and give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss, Ameen,” President Buhari said.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He added that the late Sandamu served the President and his family for more than 30 years.

The President has since sent a delegation to the family of the bereaved in Sandamu Local Government Area, Katsina, comprising Senior Special Assistant, Domestic and Household Matters, Sarki Abba, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu and State Chief of Protocol, Amb. Lawal Kazaure.

The President’s Housekeeper, Saleh Yuguda, was also on the delegation that visited the family of the bereaved.

Sandamu, better known as “Commander,” died at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano on Monday.

Leah Sharibu Is Alive – Presidency

A file photo of Leah Sharibu.

 

 

The Presidency says Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl who was kidnapped by a faction of Boko Haram terrorists in February 2018, is alive.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated this while speaking to a group of journalists on Saturday in Abuja.

A year and six months after Leah was abducted from the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State, Shehu insisted that the Federal Government is making efforts to ensure her release from her captors.

He dismissed reports that the schoolgirl had been harmed by her abductors, noting that the Muhammadu Buhari administration would not give up on her safe return.

READ ALSO: Police Release 121 Jigawa Indigenes Arrested In Lagos

“Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors,” Shehu was quoted as saying in a statement.

He added, “Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.

“Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies –, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.

“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.”

According to the presidential spokesman, the government understands how difficult these times are for Leah’s family and friends, with the abduction.

He, however, stated that the government was “pursuing many options” to ensure the safe return of the girls.

Shehu said, “We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, involvement of all relevant parties, and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.

”Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”

The President’s spokesman described reports of Leah’s death as ‘fake news’, and called for patience in dealing with the challenge the case poses.

He gave assurance that the present administration was fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as such could be costly.

FBI Bust: There’ll Be New Executive Orders To Tackle International Fraud – Presidency

 

The Presidency has said that new executive orders will be given to tackle international fraud. 

This is according to Mr Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity.

His comments come few days after US authorities announced charges against 80 people, most of which are Nigerians, in a wide-ranging fraud and money laundering operation that netted millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

READ ALSO: FBI List: NIDCOM Warns Against Stereotyping All Nigerians

Reacting to the development, Mr Garba Shehu who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the present administration will work with all nations around the globe to fight criminality.

“The government will generate and ask for new laws from the National Assembly and there will be new executive orders that will block some of these loop holes that have been exploited by our fellow country men to go out there and embarrass and black paint the country”.

The President’s media aide said, “Every citizen of this country who travels out of the country, is required to obey the laws of their host countries,” adding that “the government would not stand in the way of the justice system.”

He further stressed that President Buhari is not one to excuse Nigerians from obeying laws of the country in which they reside.

Speaking about the negative impact and stigma which the recent bust by the FBI might have, Mr Shehu said, “The action of a single Nigerian is not the action of all Nigerians”.

He also stated that Nigerians are hardworking and honest people, and as such cannot all be termed fraudulent just because of the misdeeds of a very few.

 

 

Roles Of Chief Of Staff, SGF Remain The Same – Garba Shehu

'It's Jealousy': Garba Shehu Faults PDP's Comments On Niger Governors’ Visit
A file photo of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

 

The Presidency has described as false, reports that the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the President and the Secretary-General of the Federation (SGF) have changed.

In a statement, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, maintained that under the Buhari II administration the role of Chief of Staff remains the same as it was under Buhari I.

According to him, the role of Chief of staff is to be an adviser to the President on any and all matters, as well as the line manager for all staff at the Presidential Villa.

Shehu said: “It is worth stressing that the role and responsibilities of the Chief of Staff and the method of communication and arranging scheduling between Cabinet members and the President are, in Nigeria, based on the US model, where the same system operates – and has done for decades – in precisely the same way.

“That role is to act as the head of the presidential administration at Aso Rock; to be an adviser to the President on any and all matters; to be the line manager for all staff at Aso Rock; and to manage appointments and scheduling for the President.

“In the traditional presidential system, it is a primary function of a Chief of Staff, which may vary according to the needs and desires of each President, to supervise key State House Staff, control access to the office and the person of the President, manage communications and information flow and this includes that which binds the relationship with the two other arms of government.

“During the President’s first term those were the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff, and they remain the same responsibilities today. There is no change”.

Mr Shehu also debunked reports that the ministers were being denied direct access to the president.

According to him, when President Buhari explained to ministers that they would be expected to communicate with him and arrange scheduling to meet with him primarily via the Chief of Staff, he did so because many of the Buhari (II) Cabinet ministerial appointments are new appointments and are therefore not expected to know how matters of liaising with the President operate.

“This is to stress that access to the President is open to ministers. It is not true that this is denied them in the Second Term.

“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the other hand is responsible for ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes. All cabinet matters must go through him,” he said.

Buhari Re-Appoints Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu As Media Aides

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the re-appointment of Mr. Femi Adesina as Special Adviser, Media and Publicity and Garba Shehu as Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity.

The President also re-appointed Mr Laolu Akande as Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity, Office of the Vice President.

In a statement by the Deputy Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye, President Buhari as well retained Tolu Ogunlesi, Bashir Ahmad, Lauretta Onochie and Nazir Bashiru as Special Assistant, Digital/New Media, Personal Assistant, New Media, Personal Assistant, Social Media and Personal Assistant, Visual Documentation, respectively.

Following the election of Hon. Shaaban Ibrahim Sharada, the former Personal Assistant, Broadcast Media, as the lawmaker representing Kano Municipal Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, the President has appointed Buhari Sallau as his replacement.

READ ALSO: Top Photos From Ministerial Inauguration Ceremony

Mr. Oladunjoye noted that all appointments take effect from May 29, 2019, except that of the new entrant into the team, Buhari Sallau.

In the same vein, President Buhari approved the re-appointment of Mr. Ade Ipaye as Deputy Chief of Staff to the President. Mr. Ipaye who was former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State works from the Office of the Vice President.

He also approved the re-appointment of Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to President on Economic Matters; Mrs. Maryam Uwais who retains her position as Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme as well as Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.

Also, re-appointed is Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, who will now serve as the Special Adviser to the President on Ease Of Doing Business.

Equally, President Buhari has also appointed Mr. Ahmad Rufai Zakari as Special Adviser on Infrastructure, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, as Senior Special Assistant on Education Interventions, Mr. Louis Odion as Senior Technical Assistant on Print Media, and Mr. Ajuri Ngelale as Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs in the Presidency.

All appointees are to serve in the Office of the Vice President.

Except for Zakari, Bank-Olemoh, Odion and Ngelale, all the other appointments take retrospective effect from May 29, 2019.

 

Taraba Killing: Buhari Is Not Indifferent To The Death Of Policemen – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

 

The presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not indifferent to the killing of policemen by soldiers in Taraba State.

This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.

In his statement on Monday, Garba Shehu said Nigerians must be patient with Buhari, noting that the President will take action after the panel set up by Chief of Defence Chief, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has submitted its report following their investigation.

Garba Shehu who made the statement in response to press questions, confirmed that a committee was set up during the National Security Council meeting to investigate the killing of three policemen and a civilian by soldiers in Taraba State.

READ ALSO: ‘Nothing Is Collapsing’: Garba Shehu Insists Nigeria ‘Is Strong, Moving On’

The President’s aide state that the insinuation of indifference on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari is untenable.

He said, “Contrary to those mischievous insinuations, President Buhari had ordered the Chief of Defence Staff to set up an investigation committee with representatives from all the security organizations in the country, including the police force.

“The President is not indifferent to the unfortunate incident, and would take decisive action as soon as the report of the panel is submitted to him. He is following due process and procedure.

“Putting the cart before the horse is not President Buhari’s way of doing things. Nigerians should show patience while the President awaits the report of the panel from the Chief of Defence Staff.

‘Nothing Is Collapsing’: Garba Shehu Insists Nigeria ‘Is Strong, Moving On’

'It's Jealousy': Garba Shehu Faults PDP's Comments On Niger Governors’ Visit
A file photo of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, has rejected claims by a former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, that Nigeria is heading towards the threshold of collapse.

Dr Ezekwesili made the claim during an appearance on Sunday Politics, urging those in government to accept that the country is “not in a good place at all” as a step to solving the challenges bedevilling the nation.

READ ALSO: We Are Fast Heading Towards The Threshold Of A State Collapse – Ezekwesili

But Mr Shehu who spoke during the programme via phone call dismissed the claim, saying, “If the country is collapsing, it is collapsing somebody’s dream.” He urged such a person to “wake up” and rescue the dream.

“Nothing Is Collapsing,” he declared. “The country is strong, moving on”.

According to Mr Shehu, the progress of the country is further evident in the fact that democratic elections are held winners are declared.

“You win or you lose,” he said, stressing that those who lost elections were behind much of the criticism against the government.

“Having lost the elections, they are devising new ways so that they can grab power. So, let’s see how they can contest and get power,” he said.

‘We Are Not Mad People’: Odumakin Defends Criticism Of Buhari’s Administration

Asked about the unemployment rate in the country, the security challenges in the country and other challenges, the Presidential media aide argued that they were not new challenges.

According to him, armed robberies are not new, and political opponents had been killed in the past even before Buhari became President. He explained further that even the security challenges had their roots pre-the Buhari administration.

IMN: The Sect Has Declared War On The State – Garba Shehu

 

The move by the Federal Government to proscribe the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has continued to trigger more mixed reactions across the country.

Speaking about the issue during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Garba Shehu insisted that the move was in the right direction.

He likened the recent activities of the Shiite group to the declaration of war on the Nigerian State, following a series of protest which turned violent.

“Looking at the global definition of terrorism and some of the laws that prevail in many countries including the UK, … a ban of associations could be proclaimed if it is established that there is an intention to carry out terrorism.

“In this particular instance, it is not in doubt that the sect has declared war on the state,” said Shehu who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.

He added, “They (IMN members) are killing law enforcement agents, they are stopping other citizens from enjoying their own right.”

READ ALSO: FG’s Move To Proscribe IMN Is Absurd, Says Shiites Spokesman

The Sect Has Declared War On The State – Garba Shehu

According to the presidential aide, a responsible government has to do something about the security situation of the citizenry.

He stressed that the government has a responsibility to protect the right of its people, saying the Presidency was committed to doing just that.

Shehu, however, faulted the claims that the government has failed to go through due process to obtain a proscription order against the IMN.

He said, “What do you need to do other than go to court? The Attorney General of the Ministry of Justice didn’t just proclaim this thing without going to court; due process means go before a judge and ask for an order, and the order was given.”

The President’s spokesman decried that some people were misinterpreting the action taken by the government against the group.

He explained that the government only obtained an order to proscribe a sect and not stop people from practising the religion of their choice.

Shehu stressed that every Nigerian has a right to freedom of worship as enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.

On how far-reaching the order would be, he said “In Kaduna, it (proscription) worked; these troublesome people were chased out of the state and they no longer have a foothold there.

“They moved over to Abuja and that is why we have them here; so, it (court order) will be enforced.”

“What that means is that the law enforcement agencies in the country have justification to take whatever steps necessary in order to deal with their (IMN) activity if it surfaces,” the presidential aide added.

We Disagree With Assumptions Of A Security Collapse In Nigeria – Garba Shehu

 

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has said that the present government disagrees with the assumption in certain quarters that there exist a security collapse in Nigeria. 

Garba Shehu who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said, “We are in total disagreement with the assumptions of collapse of security in the country”.

The President’s special aide further argued that the Government is on top of the security situation in the country, stressing that calm has been restored to the North Central and Niger Delta.

READ ALSO: PDP Raises Alarm Over “Whereabouts” Of $1bn ECA Security Fund

He further argued that security challenges had existed before the present administration came to office, arguing  however that the Buhari-led administration has met its own challenges and are dealing with them as decisive as they can.

Mr Garba Shehu also stated that Buhari is open to new ideas. He further stated that the President doesn’t think he knows it all and as such, will be willing consider options.