Former Head of State and Presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed sadness over the bomb blast in Potiskum, Yobe State, which claimed the lives of 48 students and injured several others, asking the Federal Government to give priority to national security and not its own political survival.
In a statement on Tuesday, Buhari who said Nigeria was going through a dark chapter in her history, urged Nigerians to ensure that the unity of the country is sustained despite the threats posed by the activities of the insurgents.
He said he was deeply pained and saddened by Monday’s attack on innocent students of Government Comprehensive School, Potiskum.
“Words alone cannot convey the full solemnity of my grief. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, the people and government of Yobe State.
“There is no doubt that we are going through a dark chapter in the history of this country. But we must all take solace in the conviction that our unity will prevail over this evil in whatever name it is being committed”.
“As citizens, we can always ask the government to do more to protect the public and eradicate threats. And the government can only achieve that by prioritising national security and not its own political survival,” he said.
Senate President, David Mark, also decried the massacre of students of Government Science School, Potiskum by a suicide bomber on Monday.
Mark in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, expressed sadness over the incident and commiserated with the government and people of Yobe State especially the bereaved parents.
Mark described the bombing of the students at the Assembly ground as barbaric and inhuman, saying, “it is condemnable by any right thinking member of the society.”
He said the war on Nigerians by terrorists without boundaries where men, women, children and even the unborn are victims speaks volumes of the agenda of the terrorists.
“What is the offence of these innocent children? Even in war fare, there are boundaries. Even when enemies are known, women and children are usually spared, not to talk of school children.
“No matter the level of anger, it cannot be endless. Enough is enough. We must remember that no evil done to man by man would go unpunished, if not by man, certainly by the Almighty,” he stated.
Mark, however, implored security operatives to step up action against the terrorists saying with increased intelligence and surveillance, a lot could be achieved.
The United Progressive Party (UPP), on its part, described the massacre of the students as shocking, outrageous, barbaric and wicked.
The party’s National Secretary, Bello Umar, in a statement on Tuesday said the UPP condemned in strong terms the killing of “these innocent students at a time the nation is still mourning the slaughter of 82 people by a suicide bomber at Old Market Road in Potiskum on Monday, November 3.”
“This madness must stop because enough is enough,” it stated.
The UPP urged the Federal Government to “take its responsibility of protecting lives and property serious in tandem with Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that, security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“The security agents should sit up and flush out Boko Haram insurgents from the country. It is a task that must be done immediately. Nigerians will not tolerate any excuse for allowing the insurgents to occupy an inch of the nation’s territory.
“We commiserate with the families of those who lost their children in this dastardly act and pray to God Almighty to console and strengthen them to bear this irreparable loss. We also pray for speedy recovery of those wounded in the attack,” it stated.
Also in its reaction, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Women for Good Governance, Anambra State Chapter, strongly condemned the killing of the students.
In a statement signed by the Co-ordinator, Grace Chike, the group expressed sadness over the continued killing of children by the insurgents.
“We are deeply devastated by this cowardly attack on school children being groomed as leaders of tomorrow. We share the grief of members of their families and pray for those wounded in this man’s inhumanity to man.
“Our hearts are still bleeding over the abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, who have been in captivity for seven months. We are pained that security agents are yet to rescue our girls,” the women said.
Chike said “the killing of the Potiskum students in their school Assembly is the mother of all murders. We are heartbroken, more so, coming on the heels of the massacre of over 80 people in Potistum last week. This reign of terror must stop immediately. It is time for action.
“We urge the armed forces to demonstrate courage and flush out these rebels from the country and punish any person remotely connected with the operations of these sadists. Women and children are always the victims of this insurgency. It is the duty of the Federal Government to protect all citizens.”
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Rotimi Akeredolu, has described as insensitive the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Tuesday for a second term despite the bomb blast in Potiskum which left over 45 students’ dead.
Speaking in a chat with Daily Independent, Akeredolu, who described the blast as an unfortunate development said the nation cannot continue to pretend that all is well when the lives of her future leaders are cut short by insurgents.
He said the president should have paid a visit to Yobe state and organise a low-key ceremony instead of the elaborate ceremony witnessed by Nigerians.
Also speaking, constitutional lawyer, Itse Sagay (SAN) said as a president, he would have cancelled the declaration as a mark of honour to those who lost their lives in the blast rather than allow the sort of elaborate jamboree that was witnessed at the President’s declaration.
“Honestly, I f I were in the shoes of the president, I would have cancelled the ceremony and issue a sober statement to the effect that I intend to contest as president for a second term and I will dedicate it to obliterating these mass murderers and bringing peace back to Nigeria,” he stated.
The European Union (EU) also described as appalling, the Monday’s bomb blast at the Government Senior School in Potiskum.
The EU in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, enjoined the Federal Government to make more concerted efforts at stopping the insurgency and bring perpetrators to justice.
“The killing and abduction of innocent school children are always abhorrent. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the students killed, extend our sincere wishes to those injured for their full and speedy recovery, and call on the Nigerian Government to make a concerted effort to stop the insurgency and to bring those responsible to justice,” the statement said.
It noted that the EU was committed to supporting the fight against extremism and violence of this kind in accordance with the rule of law and respect of human rights.
“It stands ready to support the full range of policies necessary to address both the attacks and the underlying causes of this insurgency,” the body stated.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also condemned the suicide bombing of a school in Potiskum, Yobe State, saying it is an attack on the future of Nigeria.
The agency said: “UNICEF condemns the cruel attack on the Government Science Technical School Potiskum in Yobe State, Nigeria, which killed dozen of children and injured many more.
“These repeated and relentless attacks on children and schools are attacks on the future of Nigeria, a country that already has the largest number of children out of school in the world.
“We call on those with the responsibility and power to bring the perpetrators of this cruel act to justice, and to uphold their responsibilities to protect children.”
The Christian leaders in Adamawa State are, however, worried that the Christians are being systematically eliminated in the areas occupied by Boko Haram fighters in the state.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a one day meeting held at Bishop Shehaan Pastoral Centre in Yola, the state capital, on Tuesday, the leaders expressed displeasure with the recent take-over of six local government areas of Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South and parts of Hong by the Islamic extremists.
In the communiqué, which was read by the Archbishop of the LCCN, Most Rev. Dr. Nemuel Babba, the leaders alleged that from reports they had gathered from people in the occupied territories, the militants slaughtered Christian parents and brothers in the presence of their wives and children.
They equally said the violent Islamic sect had destroyed existing churches in the areas.
The communiqué read: ?We reject in strong terms insinuations from certain quarters that the insurgents are mere bunch of trigger-happy miscreants, whose intentions are to settle certain scores with the government, owing to the towering revelations of attacks mostly targeted at Christians.?