From Paul Orude, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, has reacted to the news story that the Ex-Chief of Staff and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, has allegedly recruited ‘1000’ Militants and political thugs ahead of Bauchi Governorship Election in 2023.
The reaction was contained in a press statement by Mukhtar Gidado, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Mohammed, made available to journalists on Tuesday.
Mohammed said the exclusive story by Sahara Reporters newspaper should be of grave concern to anybody with a keen interest in the development of Bauchi State and Nigeria.
The governor recalled that the online medium in a security signal it had assessed, quoted an unnamed colonel, while it alleged that “Sadique and the APC had recruited over 1000 foot soldiers with arms to destabilise parts of the state perceived as opponent’s stronghold”.
He explained that his concerned over the story was against the backdrop of the deteriorating security situation in the country, saying any responsible Government would be alarmed by the story.
“If true, portends a grave danger not only for Bauchi State but also the country at large,” Governor Mohammed pointed out.
“We note, with concern, that the sudden escalation in violent crimes characterized by kidnappings, banditry and other vices, in certain parts of the state, seem to fall in place with the allegations contained in the Sahara Reporters story,” he argued.
“During this period, the following places have witnessed increased security threats and actual breaches: Sabon Gari, Garin Sambo, Digare, Mansur and Shafan Duguri in Alkaleri Local Government. Boto and Tudun Wadan Malima in Tafawa Balewa Local Government. Sabon Garin Na Rabi and Gumau in Toro Local Government, Bura in Ningi Local Government”
He explained that for the past few months, Bauchi government had been stretched to the limits as it battled what, “to all intents and purposes, was a well-orchestrated chain of crime and criminality, designed to distract it from its developmental goals”
“Other wicked machinations would be to switch resources to security and antagonize the people against the Government,” he said.
“We shudder to imagine that any responsible and patriotic individual or organisation would, willy-nilly, promote violence against its people, more so when, as alleged by Sahara Reporters, the entities involved actually aspire to lead the state. It raises the question: Do they aspire to rule over the dead?
“Though we have heard allegations of violence and insecurity instigated by people in authority, we cannot imagine anyone shooting his way to power, in a democracy.
“Perhaps that is the crux of the matter: some people are yet to come to terms with the democratic ethos that are being installed in the country. In particular, such power-hungry persons cannot understand the sustained and painstaking effort at democratization And people-empowerment that have endeared the Bala Mohammed Administration to the vast majority of the Bauchi people.
“They are shocked that, despite orchestrated campaigns of calumny, Bala Mohammed’s popularity continues to soar as demonstrated by the desertions from other parties to the PDP, with the APC suffering the most biting exodus.
“Despite the eye-opening Sahara Reporters story, the Bala Mohammed Administration wishes to assure the good people of Bauchi State that it will remain focused on delivering the dividends of democracy that, for several years before 2019, had eluded the peace-loving people of the state. Let it also be known that the Administration will not surrender its constitutionally provided responsibility in the area of security, to any individual or group, no matter how privileged or powerful.
To this end, while we advise the law-abiding citizens of the state to go about their legitimate duties, we call on the security agencies and our dear President to cause a thorough investigation of the ominous allegations by Sahara Reporters against the APC and its gubernatorial candidate in Bauchi State, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique (Retd).
“It should not be overstated that, the plan to foist an extra-constitutional and quasi-military organ on the state, for the purpose of electoral advantage, can only lead to a total breakdown of law and order, with dire and unfathomable consequences for our dear country in general and Bauchi State, in particular”