How Buhari brought us here
Senior officials of the Buhari regime play down the weight of insecurity Nigerians now face and tamper with the intelligence of the people.
Although security is not his mandate, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, tried in a recent interview on Channels Television, to show that what Nigerians are currently experiencing has nothing to do with which happened before 2015 when Buhari took office.
They give the impression that Nigerians are suffering from amnesia and bring two things to mind. Their most popular reference is that before this administration, “a territory the size of Belgium” or “x number of local governments” were under the control of Boko Haram. They would then go on to claim that Boko Haram does not currently hold any swathes of territory and therefore Nigerians should be grateful.
The second commonality, which Fashola also touched on on Sunday, is the 2010 Independence Day (October 1) bombing in Eagle Square, Abuja. Eight lives were lost in the attack, which occurred during a national event marking the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence, attended by then-President Goodluck Jonathan and many other government officials Have attended.
But I don’t see the point. These events and a plethora of other acts of violence inflicted on Nigerians by Boko Haram insurgents during Jonathan’s presidency are seven and 12 years old respectively. They were also one of the reasons Nigerians gave Jonathan the boot in the 2015 elections and voted for Buhari, who they said had the experience to secure Nigeria. Today, at 302 days less than two terms, his government is still placing a buffet of excuses in front of a largely petrified population.
Things are worse than they have ever been in Nigeria. Assuming, without conceding, that Boko Haram occupied as much territory as Information Minister Lai Mohammed still claims (given the recoveries the previous administration claimed to have made in the four weeks before the 2015 elections), the truth is that not much has changed now. Terrorists are still rampant in many parts of today’s Nigeria, although they have not hoisted flags (they have in one or two places). There are communities where terrorists are said to have imposed levies on residents of Zamfara, Sokoto and other northern states without any oversight.
121 days ago, terrorists attacked a train bound for Kaduna, killing scores of people and abducting over a hundred people, 43 of whom are still in captivity. The government and its agencies know where these Nigerians are being held, but there is nothing they can do about it. The criminals are so in control that someone who claimed to have recently escaped from the Kuje Custodian Center could reunite with their cohort unscathed. So, is there a state that controls the forests where these innocent people are held and tortured on a daily basis? This is not the first time that terrorists have taken hostages in Kaduna State. The story of the 140 students at Bethel Baptist High School and Greenfield University 23 is still fresh.
Zamfara is said to have over 30,000 bandits divided among around 100 groups. One of their known leaders, Ado Aleiro, was recently turbaned as a community‘s Sarkin Fulani, just for ‘peace’. Although Governor Bello Matawall canceled the award, reports said his Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, MammanTsafe, and his Security Advisor, Abubakar Dauran, attended the event. Even now, Aleiro still walks the streets.
Things are even worse than that. The reality, in fact, is that Nigeria has become a huge terrorist enclave. Unlike 2015, when terrorism was largely confined to one area, the entire country is now under siege. Murders, kidnappings, armed robberies and ritual killings have become daily occurrences. People are even afraid to go out.
The terrorists are getting bolder day by day so they may consider kidnapping the President and Governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai. Of course, this threat is just a simple bluff, but it is one the government cannot take lightly given the buildup over the months.
In August 2021, terrorists attacked the country’s elite military training facility, the Nigerian Defense Academy. They killed two officers and abducted one, whose release could not be secured until a ransom was paid. Earlier this month, Buhari’s forward convoy was attacked on its way to Katsina, while just this week officials from the 7th Guards Battalion were attacked by terrorists whose target was believed to be the Nigerian Law School. from Bwari. Two lives have been lost! Even if these terrorists never reach the president, the Federal Capital Territory, which seemed isolated, is now in the grip of terrorists, with inhabitants in perpetual fear.
Yet the government had advanced knowledge of this eventuality. In April 2021, Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello warned that terrorists had raised their flags in Kaure, the state’s Shiroro local government. He added: “…This is what I hired the federal government to do, unfortunately it has now come to this level. If we are not careful, even Abuja is not safe. 15 months later, his warning is the new reality.
First, the problem is how Buhari reacts to these issues, the lethargy and his penchant for carrying on as if nothing had happened. Contrary to sage advice that one stitch in time saves nine, he drags his feet while the problem escalates, and by the time he decides to move, things would have gotten out of control. This is as true of security as it is of the economy and even of corruption and all the areas he is committed to improving. For example, consider how long the killings in Benue State went on with Governor Samuel Ortom hollering without proportionate action from the federal government.
When Buhari reacts, however, he misses the most important points. Where he does not fold his arms and watch one group relentlessly terrorize another, his default response is the deployment of the forces of the state on citizens who, presumably, only want a leader to listening. From the Shia incident at the start of his administration, to the deployment of military forces in all other parts of the country to quell separatist unrest and petty crimes, Buhari succeeded in suppressing the culture of legitimate unrest and unwittingly encouraged the emergence of a violent revolt on the part of citizens who feel a general feeling of injustice. When the government limits people’s ability to speak out, it drives them underground and spawns guerrilla tactics it cannot deal with. Ironic as it may seem, many of these terrorists will attribute their rebellion to the government’s refusal to listen.
Then you have poverty, ignorance and lack of education, youth unemployment as well as mismanagement of the nation’s diversity which also contribute to the level of insecurity in the country; like unbridled access to mind-altering substances, small arms and light weapons, and permeable borders, where anything and everything can happen for money.
With more than half of the country’s population impoverished, and between 13 and 15 million children out of school, and this administration’s nonchalance about the rate of population growth, only a miracle can make Nigeria different from its current state. Buhari, like many Nigerians, cannot wait until his administration comes to an end in May 2023, but many, one way or another, can still go wrong by then.
Meanwhile, the President and his people can wake up from denial and intentionally take a multifaceted approach that fights terrorism with real force, but also prioritizes economic development and humanitarian support before the country gets us. bursts.