• Friday, September 29, 2023
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Excesses that must end with Buhari


The outgoing administration of Muhammadu Buhari did not only foist hunger and general poverty on Nogerians, it also disrupted the Nigerian society such that peace was on holiday for eight years.

While he presided over Nigeria, impunity reigned supreme. Court orders were flouted and non-state actors became lords.

Under his watch, Fulani herdsmen made a mince meat of citizens across the country, particularly in the Middle Belt states of Benue and Plateau. There was a point in the life of the administration that herdsmen were killing citizens on a daily basis.

To cover up government’s obvious complicity, the calculated massacres were dubbed “herders-farmers’ clashes.” They were never clashes as the communities that were being attacked were defenceless whereas the marauding herdsmen armed themselves with AK-47 and other dangerous weapons. At the height of the killings, the Presidency rubbed the pain in by saying that as long as the natives refused to relinquish their lands, they would continue to be killed.

The herdsmen overrun the country. In some cases, they wiped out some families. They did not only kill in the North Central geopolitical Zone, they also killed in Enugu, Ebonyi (South East), Ondo, Oyo (South West), Edo, Delta (South-South) and many other states. They went scott free because one of their own was in power.

In some states, they defied orders of sitting governors by committing all manner of atrocities. The governors were helpless because they were beholding the face of President Buhari.

For instance, when they killed the daughter of Pa Fasoranti, a former leader of the Pan-Yoruba cultural association, Afenifere, some notable Yoruba leaders went incommunicado. They neither condemned the nefarious deed nor say anything. In Ebonyi State when the killings were going on, the governor frettingly put the blame on other group. In Abia, when the citizens began to suspect that the kidnappers terrorising parts of the state may be living inside the cattle market at Lokpanta, the political leaders in the state paid deaf ear to it.

In Lagos state the army of Okada riders became a government inside a government

They chose the law to obey and the one not to obey. On the road, woe betide a driver that gets on their way. If your vehicle mistakenly hits one of them, or their bike hits your vehicle and falls, you are in for a trouble. In a twinkle of an eye a mob would gather to take a pound of flesh. Many of those who have experienced this sad episode have gory tales. They do not care whether the driver involved is a man or woman. They fear nobody and recognise no law enforcement agency. In fact, law enforcement agencies tremble before them.

Ask the out-going Governor Udom Emmanuel what the experience was in Akwa Ibom. He once hosted a conference where he complained that security agencies were in the habit of looking the other way when the herdsmen carried out their heinous activity. He said that even when such elements were arrested, they were usually released in a jiffy.

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Emmanuel was not alone in such experience. The outgoing Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State recounted how he was nearly kidnapped as a sitting governor and those who staged the criminal act were not brought to book. In the Buhari regime, a group of people could just gather and murder someone and claimed he or she blasphemed their religion. Nigerians saw that a number of times. A case that is fresh in people’s memory was that of Deborah. Up till now, nothing has happened to those that killed her, just because one of their own is the President of Nigeria.

All manner of excesses took place across the country and were swept under the carpet because of a man whose tenure as civilian head of state has negatively impacted Nigeria.

Buhari threw the country open to all his brothers from all over Africa and Arab world to come in. They turned every part of the country to their fiefdom. It is believed that had the RUGA programme succeeded, it would have been more disastrous for. Nigeria.

So, the incoming administration must not toe that ignominious route.