The Presidency has frowned at the reports of stone-pelting incident at Hotoro area of Kano on the day of the visit to the city by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Debo Ologunagba, had in a statement alleged that the stone-pelting was sponsored by the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.
Mr Ologunagba stressed that the attack on the person of the president was treasonable and a sacrilegious assault on Nigeria’s national sovereignty, which must be condemned by all.
However, Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, in a statement on Tuesday dismissed PDP’s concern over the incident, saying condemnation of the incident by the opposition was mere crocodile tears meant to cause disaffection and division among chieftains and leadership of the APC.
Mr Shehu described the PDP comments on the incident as divisive rhetoric of an opposition in a futile attempt to malign the image of the President and the candidates of the APC in the coming elections.
According to him, this is part of the PDP desperate wedge-driving activities to cause a division between the party and the government, warning that such falsehood is not what will give the opposition party victory in February 25 presidential election.
The statement read in part: ”We have seen fake reports of stone-pelting incident that took place at Hotoro area of Kano on the day of the visit to the city by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, an incident, even if minor, that should stand condemned by all well-meaning citizens.
”Facts on ground as rendered by the law enforcement agencies speak of a clash between the local road transport authorities, the Kano Road Transport Authority (KAROTA) and thugs hired by a yet-to-be identified group that took place when the president was being treated to a banquet at the Government House, well after he had finished his projects commissioning.
”The President was in the state to work the development, safety and security of the lives of common citizens and the happy thing about it was that the good people of Kano State were appreciative of him for the progress the state and the nation at large are making under him.
”The divisive rhetoric of an opposition in a futile attempt to malign the image of the President and the candidates of the All Progressives Congress in the coming elections, and its desperate wedge-driving activities to cause a division between the party and the government is not what will give them victory.
”A so-called leading opposition party that controls 14 states, going into elections with eight or nine of the states in tow should look inwards to see why their campaign is flagging and destined to fail. Their defeat is a foretold story by many discerning individuals.
”The stone-pelters as seen from the video in the fight against the traffic police were innocent children sponsored by politicians and terrorist sympathisers. There is no place for violence in a democracy.
”The PDP should use the opportunity of the electioneering to put their point of view in a democracy. When problems can be resolved through talks, there is no place for stone-pelting, arson and unruly behaviour as we are witnessing in some of the campaigns.”
The presidential aide also called on political and religious leaders to always correctly inform the misled youngsters to shun the path of violence for the general good of the society.
”It is equally unhealthy for society and it becomes the duty of political, social and religious leaders to correctly inform the misled youngsters to shun the path of violence which is inimical to their own future.
”Lastly, is to say that the President has not lost his command and respect in Kano.
”For those who hold the border closure against him, they must come to realise that the 60-70 integrated rice mills in the city today would not have been in place if he had allowed the free-for-all smuggling to continue,” he stated.
NAN reports the APC had equally debunked speculations by the PDP that Buhari was attacked by miscreants during his Kano visit on Monday.
Bayo Onanuga, the director, Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, in a statement issued Monday night, said contrary to the speculations, Buhari was warmly received in the state.
Mr Onanuga, while describing the alleged attack on Buhari as ‘fake news’ from a political party that had lost touch with reality, said Nigerians should disregard it.
He added that the so-called attack on Buhari must have happened only in the mind of the PDP’s national publicity secretary.