Insecurity: When governors’ lamentation no longer move Aso Rock
The cries of the masses of Nigeria over the worsening security situation no longer tingle the ears of occupants of the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Not even the desperate cry of help by state governors pierces the ears of the chief occupant of the Aso Rock fortress.
It would seem that Abuja has grown weary of incessant complaints arising from murderous activities of blood-thirsty terrorists that now hold Nigeria on the jugular.
The state governors have increasingly complained that their cries to the powers that be in Abuja no longer move a needle as they have been abandoned to their fate.
Since coming into power in 2015, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has seen so much blood, tears and agonies that it would now seem that the administration’s sense of humanity is deadened.
Today, the number of Nigerians that are being abducted, killed or maimed no longer moves the government. Everything to it has become normal.
The recent lamentation of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State was a clear indication to that. Bello said that he was tired of meeting with the President over the worsening security situation in his state and that there has been no response.
Lamenting the recent invasion of some local governments by Boko Haram elements and bandits, Bello said: ‘This is what I have been engaging the Federal Government on. Unfortunately, it has now gotten to this stage that if care is not taken, not even Abuja is safe. But I have been saying this for long and it has been in vain. I hope the time has come now for the Federal Government to see reasons.”
The governor, who was visibly disturbed, said: “I am confirming that we have Boko Haram elements in Niger State, around Kaure. They have taken over the territory… They have installed their flag.”
He disclosed this during a visit to an Internally Displaced Persons camp in the state capital, Minna, that over 3000 persons have been displaced from their communities by bandits and Boko Haram elements.
Bello warned that Boko Haram’s infiltration into Kaure, a rural community in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, posed a huge security threat to Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, which Niger borders to the east.
“The Boko Haram elements are trying to use this area as their home, just as they did in Sambisa. Sambisa is hundreds of kilometers away from Abuja. But Kaure is less than two hours’ drive to Abuja. So, nobody is safe anymore… Not even Abuja is safe,” Governor Bello warned.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has also continuously visited Abuja to brief Buhari on the worsening insurgency in his state. The more trips he makes to Abuja, the more virulent the Boko Haram attacks become.
Activities of terrorist elements, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State, West African Province (ISWAP), have intensified in the Northeast region of the country recently.
Last Sunday, more than 30 soldiers were reportedly killed by the terrorists as they invaded a military base in Mainok town around 60 kilometres out of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
President Buhari recently received Governor Zulum in the State House. He briefed the President on the raging security situation of the state.
Zulum, whose visits to the Aso Rock has become very frequent, complained to the president that serious attacks were still being launched against his people.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has insistently pointed fingers at Abuja as being complicit in the series of attacks on the state.
Ortom believes that the President is not doing enough in tackling the insecurity in the country. If anything, the Aso Rock may be picking stones for the people’s enemies.
“What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.
“His body language is what is being played out,” the governor alleged while condemning the activities of herdsmen in the state.
“The body language, the action and inaction of Mr. President shows that he is only the President of Fulani people; I have known this,” he said.
According to him, “We are becoming a banana republic, if we have a president who gave the security agencies order to shoot at sight, whosoever is having AK-47 and the Minister of Defence came out to say that they cannot shoot at sight… so who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces?”
Governor Ortom insisted that the activities of herdsmen in the country must be condemned while the people should come together to hold the President to account.
He said that no fewer than 70 people have been killed in the last two weeks in three local governments of the state.
This, he noted, was in addition to the recent attacks that left six people dead, while one of the several injured victims later died in the hospital.
According to the governor, the people of Benue are being overstretched and running out of patience due to the incessant attacks on their communities.
“Mr. President must rise up, he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and over the 250 nationalities that are in this country; Mr. President is their President, we all voted him.
“He has taken oath of office to secure the country and provide security for lives and property; this is unacceptable, this cannot continue,” the visibly worried governor said.
“Mr. President must rise up to address the nation himself, not Garba Shehu or any of his assistance. Mr. President must tell us where we are going in this country, this is too much,” he demanded.
That many Nigerians in their hundreds are languishing in various kidnappers’ dens across the country; to think that young boys and girls are in terrorists’ dens in various forests across the country are nothing to worry about by the Presidency.
What a government would be sleeping and waking with citizens going through all manner of torture in the hands of terrorists, if not a government that has lost the humanity.
Let the President for a moment put himself in the shoes of any of the parents whose children were abducted in their schools, and are still being either held or killed. Can he imagine the psychological and emotional trauma that evokes?
Ortom made the allegation Tuesday in reaction to the recent killing of residents allegedly by herdsmen in parts of the state.
In December, last year, when the fury of insecurity in Kaduna State had not even gone to the level it is now, Governor Nasir El-Rufai had cried out that governors were frustrated and almost helpless.
El-Rufai had disclosed that the Nigerian governors were frustrated by the security challenges in the country, saying their roles as provided for in the Nigerian Constitution were not satisfactory.
He suggested the way to go to ensure the country surmounts its various security challenges such as insurgency, banditry, and kidnapping, among others during an interview with Channels Television.
He stressed that the #EndSARS protest of last year by youths against police brutality in parts of the country has exposed the inability of the governors despite being called the Chief Security Officers (CSOs) of their states.
“We are all frustrated. I am frustrated in my state, many governors are frustrated in their states; we are called chief security officers only in name, we have no control over cohesive instruments of the state,” the governor said.
According to him, “We are almost helpless. The #EndSARS protest clearly showed the limit to the control of governors over the police and the military.
“Some of us have more influence than others, but to a large extent, you ask the commissioner of police to do something and he has to clear with the Inspector-General of Police; this is the reality.
“We are not in control of the police, I don’t determine who gets posted to my state as CP and if I give him directives, he can decide to flout the directives. So, we are all frustrated.”
He made case for the decentralisation of the police force, saying that will go a long way in addressing the security problems bedevilling the nation.
According to him, Nigeria is the only country in the world that is a federation that has only one police force.
The governor stated that the governors had engaged in arguments that states should be allowed to have their own police, while local governments should be allowed to have community police.
He noted that most state governments were responsible for the running cost of the police such as vehicles, fuel, communication, while the Federal Government was only responsible for the payment of the salaries of policemen.
El-Rufal, therefore, stressed the need to recruit more personnel into the police force and ensure they were rightly deployed into designated areas of duty.
“The number of policemen we have in Nigeria is inadequate, it is less than half of what we need and a large percentage of them are engaged in non-police duties like carrying handbags of the wives of important people.
“We need to have a greater footprint of police in Nigeria and the only way to achieve that in a fast track manner is to amend the Constitution and put policing on the concurrent list, as recommended by the APC True Federalism Committee so that we have more policemen,” he said.