APC Condemns Attack On ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Protesters, Calls Attack Orchestrated

Jonathan in cartoon

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly condemned the attack by apparently-sponsored thugs against the 'bring back our girls' protesters who have hitherto conducted themselves in a civil and peaceful manner, calling the attack deplorable and definitely orchestrated to shift the focus from 'bring back our girls' to 'release our girls'. In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the attack on the protesters in Abuja has confirmed its worst fears that the federal government was embarking on a campaign to shift the responsibility from the government to the abductors, in line with President Goodluck Jonathan's admonition to the protesters to direct their protests at the abductors rather than to his government. The party wondered why the government would be pushing its responsibility to ensure the welfare and security of Nigerians to a band of terrorists. ''When we said this federal government has abdicated its responsibility to Nigerians, the government's apologists twisted that statement of fact to mean that we are insulting the President. Well, what does one make of a government that has now rented a crowd of delinquents to attack the 'bring back our girls' protesters and counter their message? ''Nigerians voted for Goodluck Jonathan as President, and not for the terrorist called Abubakar Shekau. It is therefore right for them to demand action to return the girls safely from their President, rather than from the anarchist, Shekau,'' it said. APC said the fact that the 'release our girls Boko Haram' hooligans who invaded the Unity Fountain gathering of the 'bring back our girls' protesters came in SURE-P buses and were not restrained by the police, even when letters have been written to the security agency alerting it to such attack, has shown that they enjoy some protection from the authorities and are being sponsored to harass the decent and focused protesters who have helped call global attention to the plight of the innocent girls. ''This obnoxious campaign to shift the responsibility for the safety and security of the girls from the government to the terrorists started with the sponsored protests to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja and has continued with the depressing attacks on a women-led group by a band of paid ruffians. ''Worst still, a government that so far has proven to be clueless and incompetent in ensuring the safe return of the girls has now resorted to wasting taxpayers money to rent a crowd of scallywags to assault innocent Nigerians, who are mostly women, and distort the image of the highly-responsible 'bring back our girls' protesters. ''While every group, no matter its sponsors and objectives, is free to exercise the constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of assembly and association, no group has a right to attack the other for whatever reason,'' the party said. It urged the government to focus its energy on how to bring back the girls safely, more than one-and-a-half months into their abduction, warning that the entire people of Nigeria as well as the international community will definitely frown at the government's new and odious tactics to muddle the waters. ''President Jonathan must immediately and publicly condemn the sponsored attack on the peaceful protesters and order the police to provide round-the-clock security for them, failing which it will be safe to assume that the attackers have his blessings,'' APC said. The party hailed the 'bring back our girls' protesters for their peaceful and civil conduct even in the face of incredible provocation that they have had to endure, and urge them to continue their protests in that spirit.


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