One the strongest pressure group in the country known as, Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of being discriminatory in terms of response to criticism of the administration.
SOKAPU made the accusation at a World Press Briefing held in Kaduna by its President, Honourable Jonathan Asake.
“This discriminatory posture of government clearly shows that the Buhari-led administration treatsNigerian citizens differently; some as first class and others considered as second class.
“It is against this backdrop that the Christmas homily by the Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah, serves a timely wake-up call on national leadership to confront the monsters of destruction that are committed to the annihilation of our communities.
“This is not the first time patriotic citizens and statesmen have raised their voices of concern to draw the attention of our leaders to the need of confronting these security challenges that seek to destroy our nation which appears to have always fallen on deafears,” SOKAPU.said.
Speaking further, Asake recalled that a similar concern raised by a respected General and statesman, philanthropist and former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), where, having observed the incessant killings across communities in Nigeria, particularly in the Middle Belt Region, and also observing the non-neutrality of the Nigerian military, urged communities to rise up and defend themselves.
“This clarion call for self-defence by the General which is a constitutional provision and a rightfor every citizen was perceived negatively by a section of this country which has continued to behave as if they own Nigeria and that other citizens have no right to criticise the government of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“In another twist, a refined gentleman, technocrat, accomplished academic, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a one-time presidential candidate, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, had in a media interview called the attention of Nigerians to the inability of government in tackling insecurity in the country.
“He further drew the attention of the public to the sad situation where a certain Northern governor was behind the banditry in the region. Despite comments by Dr. Mailafia on those behind the insecurity ravaging our nation, the secret police were more concerned in harassing the Harvard trained economist than looking into the substance of his revelations,” the group added.
SOKAPU said that it appears to them, therefore, that comments by Nigerians attract different reactions from the government, depending on the region, ethnicity and religion of the person making such comments.
“It’s sad to note that when persons of core Northern extraction criticize government; they are taken as kind words, but when the same statements are made by people of Southern or Middle Belt extraction; they are harassed and tormented and their comments branded as treasonable by government.
“If this is not the case, how can one explain a situation where the same comments made by Dr Mailafia attracted ceaseless harassment by security personnel, and a similar comments by the Acting Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not attract the same reaction.
“Again, when the respected Bishop Kukah criticised the government in his Christmas homily, all hell broke loose from Northern elements who have consistently exhibited intolerance since the assumption of Buhari as the President,” the group pointed out.