The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday locked horns on national issues, including renewed insurgency and insecurity in the country.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said the ruling party, the APC, was responsible for what it called renewed insurgent attacks, bloodletting and worsened insecurity in some parts of the country. It also accused the APC regime of looting.
But its counterpart for the APC, Lanre Issa-Onilu, accused the PDP of falsehood. He said the opposition party was not constant in its lies.
The PDP and the APC disagreed over national issues, just as no fewer than 30 people were killed and 35 injured in an explosion on a bridge at Gamboru, Borno State, on Monday.
Residents of the town, in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, said an improvised explosive device was detonated on the bridge at 3 pm on Monday in the market town of Gamboru, close to Cameroon.
One of the eyewitnesses, said, “All I can say is that I heard a loud bang and when I rushed to the scene, I saw lifeless bodies, about 30 in all.”
However, a source at one of the United Nations agencies in Maiduguri, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that only nine persons were killed and 17 others injured in the explosion.
The source, in a text message sent to the correspondent, stated, “The explosion killed nine persons. The blast was heard around 3:30 pm yesterday (Monday) on the Gamboru bridge. After the explosion, Nigerian military closed the bridge.”
But a member of the civilian joint task force, a youth group fighting insurgency alongside the military in the North-East, said improvised explosive device detonated on the bridge killed scores of people.
Also, Reuters reported on Tuesday that eyewitnesses in the market town said more than 35 injured people were taken to the local hospital following the attack.
An eyewitness, Modu Ali, in an interview with Reuters, said, “It is an unfortunate day for us to witness this frustrating and devastating incident in our community. I just heard a loud sound of explosions, before I realised what was happening I saw many of our friends and colleagues were killed.”
In its statement on Tuesday, the PDP said the APC allegedly had been feeding fat and servicing its interests from the pains and anguish of Nigerians.
The party urged Nigerians to be wary of the alleged APC’s renewed attacks and baseless allegations against the PDP and its leaders, including former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
It said the alleged APC’s attacks were all in the bid to divert public attention from its perceived atrocities against Nigeria, including compromising its security architecture for selfish purposes.
The PDP challenged the APC to respond to allegations that its regime terminated the nation’s counter-insurgency operations to satisfy foreign interests, leading to escalated violent attacks and bloodletting in various parts of the country, particularly in the North.
The opposition party stated that the APC should explain the assertion by an international security expert, Eeben Barlow, who said on an international television, Aljazeera, that Nigeria was successfully routing out insurgents in the North-East before the APC and its regime terminated the counter-insurgency operation to satisfy an alleged American interest that assisted it to win the 2015 elections.
Ologbondiyan said, “It is instructive to note that the APC has engaged in unwarranted attacks on the PDP and Atiku Abubakar as well as sponsoring negative divisive publications in the last few days in the bid to divert public attention from this very grave issue.
“Nigerians can now see why insurgents, marauders and bandits, who had been pushed to the fringes under the PDP administration suddenly resurged in renewed ravaging of communities and killing our compatriots unabated, while the APC and its administration engage in empty condolence messages.
“Nigerians are aware of how the APC imported political mercenaries, thugs and miscreants from neighbouring countries including Niger Republic and used them to unleash violence on Nigerians during the 2019 presidential election.”
The PDP said the APC should account for or demand investigation and prosecution of its leaders responsible for the looting of over N14tn from federal coffers, including the stolen N9tn exposed by the leaked Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation memo on oil subsidy theft.
“The APC should also account for the N1.1tn worth of crude siphoned by its leaders using 18 unregistered vessels, the stealing of over N48bn meant for the rehabilitation of victims of insurgency.
“It should account for the N33bn National Emergency Management Agency saga in which a very top member of the President, Major-Gejeral Muhammadu Buhari (retd), regime was mentioned as well as the looting spree in National Health Insurance Scheme and the Federal Inland Revenue Service under its watch.”