The Presidency has reminded the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Rt. Rev. Fr. Stephen Mamza, who said recently that the President is sleeping on duty as the nation is suffering from insecurity, that rather than sleeping, the President has been at alert since 2015 to resolve a lot of security challenges he inherited.
The Presidency reminded the Bishop that before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari to power in 2015, he (the Bishop) had harboured over 1,500 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), mostly women and children at his St. Theresa’s Cathedral Church which administered food rations and issued bags of maize, cooking oil and seasoning, but that all such IDPs have gone back to their homes.
In a statement today, Monday, by the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the Presidency stressed that there is so much that has changed in the past three to four years in and around Yola, and the Catholic Church in particular.
It said that a true assessment would show that but for the Change Administration of President Buhari, things would have continued the way they were, or even get worse, saying: “these could not have happened if a Commander-in- Chief was asleep.”
The Presidency said that Bishop Mamza was, and is still a strong member of the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API), which is made up of religious and community leaders and that the Peace Initiative once housed and fed 400,000 displaced people from Northern Adamawa and Borno States in 2015.
“As widely reported by the local and international press, in the premises of St. Theresa’s Cathedral where Rev. Mamza ministered, there were more than 1,500 IDPs, mostly women and children on whom the church administered food rations and issued bags of maize, cooking oil and seasoning.
“Now that Boko Haram has been degraded, the more than 400,000 displaced people absorbed by the Adamawa community have all gone back to Borno State and to those council areas in northern Adamawa.
“In addition to the capital, Yola, the towns of Michika, Madagali and Mubi which had been occupied by Boko Haram during their military advances have since been retaken by the Nigerian military, whose personnel are also clearing litters of Boko Haram’s carnage and are, through the support of the administration as well as local and international partners, rebuilding roads and bridges, power lines, burnt schools, markets, destroyed churches and mosques.
“Without an iota of doubt, the Northeast is better off with President Buhari than it was under the previous administration. That should explain the massive turnout of voters in the region, in spite of threats to life and property, to vote for the return of the President for a Second Term of four years.
“Sadly, one of the realities of today’s Nigeria is that it easy to blame President Buhari for the violence all around us. Community leaders are too scared to blame the warlords and the sponsors of killings we live with because they fear for their own lives.
“What is happening in several communities racked by inter-ethnic and religious violence is arising from the refusal of community leaders to point at known criminals in their midst for the law enforcement agencies to act against them. They rather blame President Buhari for their woes.
“It is indeed an irony that in the week that Bishop Mamza was speaking, another Bishop with a known commitment to peace, and results to show for his work in neighbouring Plateau State, is being dispatched to go to Taraba, Adamawa and Benue States to work in collaboration with security agencies in mending broken inter-communal relationships.
“This senseless violence can never be condoned by the administration and we sympathize with the families of those who lost loved ones as well as those injured. The administration’s intense security efforts and peace building will not only continue, but will expand in response to such explosions of violence in the country.”