By Edwin Uhara
I read the scurrilous remarks contained in the letter addressed to the Minister of Interior, retired Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (CFR) by one Tope Oriola with amusement.
I tried to locate the central theme of the letter but could not because apart from the fact that it was laced with many lies, unfounded claims and imaginative assumptions, the letter also betrayed logic and lacked coherence, substance and clarity of ideas and facts.
For Example, Mr. Oriola claimed in his letter of infamy that he contemplated having General Dambazau (PhD and Associate Professor) invited to the University of Alberta, Canada to give a talk on Civil-Military relations in Nigeria, but the question is, ”Who is Tope Oriola to invite General Dambazau to Canada? What does he (Oriola) do in the University?
Again, Mr. Oriola tried to raise dust about Dambazau’s Ministry and competence in handling issues when he ignorantly asked why General Dambazau have remained silent despite extra-judicial killings in Nigeria?
Now, if there is anything Mr. Oriola’s letter have done, it has just exposed his hidden ignorance not known to many Nigerians. Of a truth, it is very pathetic to observe that a writer who wants to invite General Dambazau to a University in Canada does not even have the idea of what Nigeria’s security activities and composition entails. Chai, Nigeria is finished with people like Oriola having access to the media. No wonder there is misinformation everywhere!
Anyway, let me inform Mr. Oriola as a concerned citizen that General Dambazau is one Minister who knows his onions and have demonstrated in words and in deeds that he is one man whom Nigerians can entrust their security challenges in to his hands and go to bed with two eyes closed.
Hence, contrary to Oriola’s claim, on Monday, January 8th, 2018, General Dambazau in his capacity as Minister of Interior met with the governors of Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger, Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States alongside the Director-General of the State Security Services, Inspector-General of Police, Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as six Commissioners of Police from the listed states. The purpose of the meeting was on how to tackle the crisis situation in the country from the root instead of merely addressing the symptoms.
Also, on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, General Dambazau held another crucial meetings with the heads of internal security agencies over the same security situation in the country. One of the many issues that came up in the communique issued was on the issue of small arms and drug trafficking and abuse, where the Minister was obviously quoted as saying ”Without the firearms and drugs, those who partake in violence would not have the courage to carry out the kind of violence taking place in the country.” The Minister further stated that there are approximately 500 million assorted firearms in West Africa and out of this figure, 350 million representing 70 percent of the illegal firearms are found in Nigeria.
In another security programme recently held with the Inspector-General of Police, Commissioners of Police and other senior officers at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, the Minister stated that the firearms and drugs that are the drivers of crime in Nigeria are coming from Libya, Yemen, Mali, Niger and Chad Republic.
In lieu of this, arrangements have been concluded to hold a conference of Security and Agriculture Ministers from West and Central African nations. The conference will comprehensively address all issues associated with the proliferation of firearms in the region.
The Minister have also directed the Inspector-General of Police to enforce the law on illegal possession of firearms as well as retrieving all the illegal firearms from wrong hands across the country.
In the infamous letter, Mr. Oriola also tried to wipe up the primordial, irrational and senseless sentiments by trying to give ethnic and religious colourations to the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in some parts of the country. May I at this juncture confess that one of the reasons Nigeria is facing the challenges it is facing today is because of uninformed writers like Mr. Oriola and his co-travellers who shamelessly and embarrassingly peddle ignorance on sensitive national issues.
Instead of joining hands with relevant authorities to find lasting solutions to the conflicts, Mr. Oriola derive more joy in exacerbating the crisis by spreading lies and stereotyping a particular religion and tribe. Let me remind him that in life, 10 percent is what happens but 90 percent is how we react to them. Hence, I had expected him to let Nigerians know that the farmer/herdsmen conflict has no religious or ethnic colouration in line with the Geneva Spiritual Appeal which declared that religion should not be used to justify violence.
Besides, Mr. Oriola failed to look at the cause of the problem as well as providing solutions. There is no gain denying the fact that farmers/herdsmen crisis is a regional problem over the sharing of land and water resources. This is not only a Nigerian problem as it can be seen in countries like Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.
Hence, contrary to the unfounded claims by Mr. Oriola that General Dambazau has been silent, here is what the Minister said recently: ”Today, in the front burner of issue of security is rural banditry and herders/farmers conflict. These are issues that have alot of dimensions and for us to deal with them; there is the need for us to look at it from multi-dimensional approach. The Minister further stated that ”We tend to look at the issue as a local problem, but it is not, it is rather a national and regional problem. It is not a religious problem, it is not an ethnic problem; it is a problem that has to do with resource sharing, water and land.
There is no doubt that Mr. Oriola’s goal in the letter was to paint General Dambazau black without knowing that even if he forgets the great achievements of the Minister, the internet never forgets. Hence, a simple search would have saved him the embarrassment he brought to himself as well as the noble pen profession.
On the issue of Kidnapped School girls in Dapchi, let me once again inform Mr. Oriola that General Dambazau was part of the Federal Government delegation that visited the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State on Sunday. So, his argument and claims on this matter are unfounded.
Finally, I want to offer a free piece of advise to Mr. Oriola that if he has been peddling imaginative lies on soft targets, he should not try such with General Dambazau who have distinguished himself in every national assignment given to him because every bologna lie against him will never go unanswered and suffixe it to say that he has not done well for his masters who paid him to write. He has done a very poor job. Therefore he should refund them their money and come for a lecture on how to do it better.
Comrade Edwin Uhara writes from Abuja.