The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says the activities of criminals masquerading as separatists in regions other than the north, are not in any way different from the Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist organizations.
Gbajabimila in his welcome speech at Wednesday’s plenary, said miscreants in the South, East and West of Nigeria, are masquerading as separatists and have only emerged to cause pain and destroy.
“In the South of Nigeria, East and West, miscreants and criminals masquerading as separatist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the state,” he said.
“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP.
According to the Speaker, the House has thus far focused the national security concerns on “the machinations of extremist insurgents who seek to remake the world in the image of their discredited theocracy and bandits who maraud and terrorize whole regions for profit”.
He noted that “Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction.”
“We know from experience that neither appeasement nor overwhelming violence alone will work. We have been down this road before; we know what the consequences of inaction can be. We also know that we cannot afford to be reactionary in our approach,” Gbajabiamila stated.
The Speaker explained that for the lawmakers, this is the time to convene “best efforts to articulate a political, economic, military and policing strategy to address both the manifestations and root causes of this emerging threat”.
He also warned that no one should be under the impression that there is a political opportunity in exploiting the moment, adding that this is a time “for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics, to do the hard things and achieve greatness”.