Atiku slams Tinubu over rising insecurity, says Nigeria doesn’t need tourist-in-chief

Atiku slams Tinubu over rising insecurity, says Nigeria doesn’t need tourist-in-chief

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, slammed President Bola Tinubu for going on a private visit to France while insecurity had taken over

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Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, slammed President Bola Tinubu for going on a private visit to France while insecurity had taken over the country.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the last election,  who took to his verified X account, however, asked Tinubu to step aside, if he could not handle the affairs of the country, saying Nigeria “doesn’t need a tourist-in-chief” at this time.

But the Presidency has lambasted him for accusing President Tinubu of fiddling in the face of mounting security and economic challenges confronting the country, insisting the president was on top of domestic affairs.

This was as the Senate, yesterday, on resumption of plenary after a month New Year break, lamented the spate of insecurity in the country and noted that urgent actions were needed to avoid escalation.

To this end, the red chamber re-invoked its earlier resolution to summon the service chiefs and heads of security agencies in the country to find out efforts being made to address the situation and what had been hampering their works.

At the same time, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has urged President Tinubu to take tough decisions to curtail the rising insecurity in the country

However, lamenting the spate of kidnapping and Banditry, which he claimed had overtaken the country, while the president was in far away France, Atiku said, “Tinubu is playing fiddle while Nigeria is drowning in the ocean of insecurity.”

According to him, “To imagine that the Commander-in-Chief is on a so-called private visit while kidnappers kill a nursing mother and grandmother in Abuja for failing to pay N90m ransom and two monarchs in Ekiti, among other regular tragedies besetting Nigerians.

“If the shoes are too big for Emilokan, he should step aside. Nigeria does not need another tourist-in-chief. The country needs 24/7 leadership to confront the pervasive insecurity and collapsing economy.”

Reacting, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, in a statement, described the statement by Atiku as “reckless”.

Onanuga rebuked Atiku for releasing the statement some days after he heaped allegations against the president on the crude for loan deal for NNPC Limited.

He excoriated the PDP presidential candidate, saying his latest statement fell short of what was expected from an elder statesman.

“We like to believe that Alhaji Atiku is still not nursing hangover of his electoral defeat and now latches on any issue to attack President Tinubu.

“President Tinubu did not travel without informing Nigerians of his whereabouts. He announced a private visit to France and announced a return date,” Onanuga said.

He added that while in France, the president had been following developments in the country, including the inauguration of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum wage yesterday, which he said bore his imprimatur.

Onanuga said, “He is in constant touch with his officials and security chiefs and has directed them to stamp out every form of criminality in the country.

“He has particularly ordered them to apprehend those criminals responsible for the murder of two monarchs in Ekiti State and the kidnapping of some pupils in the state.”

In relation to the security situation in the country, Onanuga affirmed that government was already seeing positive results with the arrest of over 139 kidnappers in Abuja, Kaduna and Benue States in the last one week.

He said the police Special Intervention Squad (SIS) and DSS had also rescued 154 abducted persons in the last few days.

“Just last week, President Tinubu approved N50 billion as Special Fund to address some of the lingering security challenges in North-east where Alhaji Atiku hails from.

“To cope with the kidnapping challenges in the FCT, President Tinubu also approved funds for the acquisition of equipment to track criminals.”

He insisted that if Alhaji Atiku was really concerned about security issues and was not playing cheap politics, he should have known that Tinubu was on top of issues and working hard to restore peace to every part of the country.

He applauded the security agencies for working assiduously to bring the security situation under control, saying the president was giving them all the necessary support they required to win the battle against criminal elements and secure every inch of the country.

On its part, the Senate took the decision following a motion sponsored by the entire 109 senators and moved by the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele.

The federal lawmakers had earlier met behind closed doors for about one and a half hours to discuss the disturbing phenomenon.

The Senate in its joint motion, noted with sadness the rising spate of killings, kidnappings, banditry, and other criminal activities in the nation.

It insisted in the resolution that the recent killings in Agatu local government area of Benue State, which led to lost of lives, including security personnel and destruction of properties as well as the brutal killings of 11 residents of Logo Local Government Area of Benue State.

The Senate equally noted with concerns, the various kidnappings in the Federal Capital Territory, where victims had been killed after collecting ransom.

The upper chamber said it was also aware of several cases of kidnappings all over the country where huge ransom had been paid and several of the victims still got killed.

It lamented that the recent killings of two traditional rulers in Ekiti State and the abduction of primary school pupils in Ekiti had further aggravated the level of insecurity in the country.

Senate equally noted the unfortunate bomb explosion at the Bodija area of Ibadan Oyo State, where no less than five lives were lost and several residential houses, schools, hotels, and religious centres were destroyed.

The Senate said the service  chiefs and security heads would explain to the lawmakers, the killing of several residents of Mangu, Bokkos, and Barkin Ladi communities in Plateau State.

It, therefore, invoked its earlier resolutions to invite the security chiefs for an interactive session with the Senate with a view to resolving the insecurity that is plaguing the country.

The Senate thereafter observed a minute silence in honour of the departed.

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who presided over the plenary, said the leadership would meet with Tinubu after the engagement with the military and security chiefs.

“After the interactive session with the security chiefs, which we agreed that it should be next week, we would also fix a time to discuss the outcome with Mr. President.

“We have a responsibility to collaborate with the executive and contribute our ideas to ensure that our constituents and ourselves, including our children can sleep with their two eyes closed.

“Security is everybody’s business, and without security, we can not have progress. We are very determined to make laws and pass resolutions aimed at ensuring rapid progress of the country and the immediate improvement of the Nigerian economy.

“This will not be possible without a secured nation. We will take this up with Mr. President after interaction with security chiefs.”

He also hinted that the two chambers of the National Assembly had agreed to adjourn plenary till February 6, to enable members to participate in the campaigns leading to the Bye elections in various constituencies across the country on Saturday.

But the speaker, while addressing members of the House on resumption from their four-week recess said, “If necessary, we must not hesitate to enact changes within our security apparatus, for the cost of inaction is far too great to bear.

“Indeed, the time has come for the president to demand greater performance and accountability from our service chiefs and all security and enforcement agencies. I implore the president not to shy away from making the tough decisions.”

While commending the heroism and sacrifice of the security forces, he noted that the time has come for review of approaches and strategies, innovate and adapt.

“The enemy evolves, and so must we. I challenge you to rise to this occasion, to demonstrate the indomitable spirit for which you are known, and to do more in safeguarding the lives and properties of our people,” he said.

He, therefore, proposed convening a National Legislative Security Summit to serve as a crucible for ideas, where stakeholders from diverse sectors – security, traditional and religious institutions, academia, civil society, and more – would forge enduring solutions to the nation’s security woes.

An unspecified number of school children were reportedly abducted by unknown gunmen in Emure Local Government of Ekiti State on Monday.

Though the details were still unclear, the abducted children were said to be students of a yet- to-be disclosed School.

It was learnt that the students were being conveyed in their school bus and were at the Eporo-Ekiti boundary when the incident happened.

Also, it was reported that two traditional rulers were killed by suspected kidnappers in Ekiti state the same Monday.

The monarchs were said to be returning from a meeting in Irele-Ekiti when they were accosted and gunned down.

The traditional rulers were identified as Oba David Ogunsakin, the Elesun of Esun-Ekiti and Oba Olatunde Olusola, the Onimojo of Omojola-Ekiti.

Sunday Abutu, police public relations officer in Ekiti, confirmed the killing but said details about the incident were still sketchy.

Abutu said the tactical and intelligence teams of the command had been deployed to the area of the incident.

It was reported  that Oba Adebayo Fatoba, the Alara of Ara-Ekiti, survived the ambush.

Micheal Ogungbemi, chairman of Ajoni Local Council Development Area, was quoted as saying the gunmen attempted to abduct the three traditional rulers.

Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State, while reacting ordered security agencies to fish out the perpetrators.

The governor expressed condolences to the people of Imojo Ekiti and Esun Ekiti, adding that no stone would be left unturned in bringing the assailants to justice.

Oyebanji asked security agencies in the state to remain vigilant and resolute in the efforts to stamp out crime.