Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu has said that granting amnesty to repentant Boko Haram Members will be of great benefit to the Nation as the numerous resources committed to fighting the insurgency group can be channeled into meaningful development projects in the country.
Speaking to Newsmen in Abuja, Mallam Garba said those playing politics with the farmers/herders crises are only doing so because it’s the only lacuna they have found in this administration adding that farmers herders crises predates the independence of Nigeria.
In his words, ” the problem between farmers and Herdsmen predates the independence of Nigeria, if you read history you will see that farmers and herdsmen had fought for space in this country even when British colonial rulers were here, so this is not something new, I am not saying it is welcome but I think it is over amplified now, there is a media spotlight on it because the opposition cannot engage Buhari’s administration on any other issue other than this lacuna that they have found.”
” Whoever is peddling these rumours that Boko Haram is being granted amnesty and so on I would ask them who doesn’t want to make peace with the enemy? In any case as it is proverbially said all wars end up in the Boardroom. You can defeat people technically in the field but at the end you must come to the conference room to resolve all issues. So if Boko Baram would lay down their arms and stop fighting and stop preaching that negative ideology , the country should be able to embrace them welcome all of them so that they continue to live normal lives and be useful to the nation. What that mean is that we will be saving cost, saving lives that are being lost through bombing, killing of service personnel and we will be saving money that we are using to procure weapons so that such money can go into services and infrastructure and welfare of the citizens of this country. It is a win -win situation.”
” I am not saying that it is okay that the farmers and herdsmen are fighting but we are doing a lot you can see that the recent activity especially the military operation now in the North Central Section of the country has led to the recoveries of large quantities of weapon illegally held by militias and even herdsmen so something is being done about it. I know by the time this is done with, I don’t know what else the opposition will be talking about.”
Reacting to the assertion that President Buhari is shielding herdsmen from prosecution and even begging them to accept amnesty Mallam Garba said those that allow the social media to mould their opinion always have lopsided view of issues.
” The thing is that there is a tendency to see things from a negative point of view when your point of view is shaped and colored by the social media. It’s always been heard that the default position of the social media itself is to be negative, so people have turned out to ignore grand reality and project images that are very negative. Otherwise I wonder , this is an administration that has done so so extremely well and to a president who has sworn to an oath to defend the constitution and protect every life and property, it is very unfair and uncharitable to say that he will shield anybody, ”
” In Any case, the president controls only one layer of authority, what are the governors doing, is the social media also saying that the governors are protecting the herdsmen from the law, are they saying the local government are also protecting them? You see it has to take everyone at various levels of authority to shield somebody from the law in those circumstances, and the president himself, his passion is for the country, this is a president whose passion is not even for the office, even when everyone is asking him to go for a second term he is keeping quiet because his focus remains the nation and the problem of the country.”
The Presidential aid who said this administration has done so much in areas of infrastructure development especially in road construction, power generation and human capital development urged Nigerians who are complaining of Hunger to key into the Agricultural intervention programmes of this administration.
“with all the noise the PDP is making, even during their tenure as president did they give breakfast lunch and dinner to every citizen? Is there any country in which someone does not go hungry? I am not saying it is perfectly in order but they are just politicizing these issues. This is a government that has removed this country from the shame of food importation, every state of the country now is into rice production, and we are feeding not only Nigeria but to west Africa. And the government is working on having respectable prices for food items, food inflation is coming down grossly. Everyone complaining of hunger should go and work. And you know that this is the only government that has introduced social investment schemes, we pay out now for the poorest of the poor, the least they will get is N5,000.and a lot of these job that are been created are from loans with little or no interest from the central bank, Bank of industry, Banks of Agriculture,nDevelopment Bank and the rest. So there is a lot going for people who really want to go out there to work especially in Agriculture.”
While commenting on the recent uproar about president Bubari Re-contesting the 2019 General elections against the backdrop of open letters by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibraheem Babangida Mallam Garba said the President richly deserves another term in office.
” I will advise him to run because he richly deserves a second term in office.
And for the letter writing my response to them is that if they like they can come and contest against president Buhari. He will defeat them, all of them.”
He therefore appealed to Nigerians to shun every form on negative comments that could threaten the unity of the country.