The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) yesterday fingered President Goodluck Jonathan in the ongoing political fracas in Rivers State and gave him a 14-day ultimatum to resolve the crisis or risks having the body paralyze the socio-economic and political activities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It also described Mr. Jonathan’s earlier denial of involvement in the crisis as false.
According to the umbrella body for students in Nigeria’s higher institutions: “President Goodluck Jonathan must stop distancing himself from the matter because, whether he likes it or not, he is vicariously involved in it. The direct involvement of the First Lady in the matter, which she publicly admitted to when 16 Bishops from the South-South paid her a visit at the Presidential Villa last week, implies Mr. President’s tacit involvement in it. Therefore, Mr. President cannot continue to feign ignorance or indifference in this sensitive matter.”
NANS, who made this stance known in a statement in Abuja by its Acting Senate President, Comrade John Shima, mandated the President and the Federal Government to resolve the crisis.
If the FG fails to resolve the crisis, NANS said it “shall be left with no option than to convene its next Senate Meeting at Port Harcourt, where it shall take a more decisive position and action on the Rivers State crisis.
“For the benefit of foresight, the action may include taking over the city of Abuja and paralysing all economic, social and political activities in the nation’s capital.”
NANS demanded that “adequate security is provided for the Rivers State House of Assembly, so that the legislators can return to work. If that is done, then the majority will have their way and progress will be made, which is the true beauty of democracy.”
NANS called for “the immediate redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police (CP) Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, who from every indication has gone political.
“Since he has clearly shown that he cannot work harmoniously with the governor, then the CP should be redeployed immediately from the state. NANS hereby declares a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government of Nigeria and all its relevant organs to resolve the crisis in Rivers State.”
The statement added: “The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), in keeping up with its traditional obligations as the bastion of democracy and vanguard of the oppressed and downtrodden, hereby condemns in its entirety, the show of ignominy unfolding in Rivers State, which culminated in the ferocious disruption of proceedings at the State’s House of Assembly on Tuesday 9th July, 2013.
“We are, however, not oblivious of the fact that the festering crisis in the state has its roots in the acrimonious quest by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, to practically dictate to the ‘obstinate’ Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, how he should run certain affairs in Rivers State.
“Even though President Goodluck Jonathan can also not be said to be inculpable in the matter, he is also a member of the PDP and from the neighbouring Bayelsa State. So, we actually hope that the PDP would use its internal mechanisms to bring this lingering problem to end.
“We must bear in mind that the situation in Rivers State depicts a huge threat to the security of the state and, by extrapolation, the entire nation. The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, has since made public, his own feelings of insecurity. There were reports last week of the deployment of policemen to the Rivers State Government House and the Rivers State Liaison Office in Abuja respectively, without the knowledge and approval of the state governor. That action by the police authorities is highly condemnable.
“Mr. President should not forget that his cardinal responsibility to the state and its citizens is the provision of security for human lives and properties. This includes the lives of state governors and other high-profile individuals. Governor Amaechi has publicly declared that he is not comfortable with the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. We wonder why the Inspector-General of Police is reluctant to redeploy Mr. Mbu from the state. Mbu clearly gave a clue in an interview with a national television station that he works at cross-purposes with Governor Amaechi.
“The President’s thumbprint is firmly embedded in the ongoing crisis in Rivers State”, the statement insisted.