President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday disagreed with the position of the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Rt Rev Fr Stephen Mamza, who said Buhari is “sleeping on duty as the Commander-in-Chief”.The cleric had during an Easter homily he delivered in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, criticised the Buhari administration for allegedly failing to halt insecurity in the country, especially escalating kidnappings, banditry and other violent crimes.
Speaking on the latest killings in Zamfara, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba and Southern Kaduna, Mamza said, “We are really in a dilemma. We (Nigerians) are feeling that we don’t have protection. From all indications, there is nothing being done. There have been calls from all over the country. Look at what is happening in Zamfara State; look at what is happening in Benue periodically, in Nasarawa state and now in Adamawa (Southern Adamawa). If there is a government in place, then the government should listen to the people and address the security challenges. We have mass burials from time to time and there is no sign the government cares about what is happening.”
Responding to Mamza’s homily, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated 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 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. These could not have happened if a Commander-in-Chief was asleep.
“Bishop Mamza was and is still a strong member of the Adamawa Peace Initiative, API, composed of religious and community leaders, which did the lovely work housing and feeding 400,000 displaced people from Northern Adamawa and Borno States in 2015. The API also did the extraordinary work of easing tensions between Muslims and Christians during that period and ensured that both groups did not turn on one another based on suspicion.
“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. We are truly touched and very grateful for the work that the Bishop and the others had done in that difficult period. 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.”