BusinessDay

Insecurity: Why does Buhari pamper failures?

Like Nero of Rome, the Nigerian President seems to be fiddling while the country burns.

Everywhere is boiling and burning, yet, heads are not rolling. While Nigerians expect President Muhammadu Buhari to rejig the security architecture and kick out dead woods, he instead, revels in endless meetings.

Terrorists are invading unexpected places. Insecurity is erupting everywhere. Government is not only overwhelmed and tired, but it is also trying to save its head as the terrorists have turned the heat on the Commander-in-Chief.

The President was unaware that he is being hunted by the enemies created by bad governance. It took Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to break the news to the Chief occupant of the Aso Rock Villa that evil men are on his trail.

The seat of power is not safe, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja is in danger of being overrun by insurgents created by those who wanted power by all means.

Kawu Baraje, a former chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has the story of how the Fulani militias from Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal and other places invaded Nigeria in 2015 to start a war of the election had gone another way.

Now, there is fire on the mountain and everyone is on the run. Several trillions of dollars have been spent in the guise of acquiring military hardware; it is either that the right equipment are not being procured or that the money was and is being diverted.

The pattern of the terrorists’ onslaught bears the signature of high level connivance with those who are supposed to protect the people.

For terrorists to invade NDA Kaduna, killed soldiers and abduct some; shoot down military planes; boldly attack Kuje Correctional Centre, freeing dangerous criminal inmates; ambush advance security team of Mr. President, and lately killing members of the elite Presidential Brigade Guards, among several other audacious attacks are indications that Nigeria is in trouble.

Rauf Aregbesola, minister of Interior, fell short of calling some names when he visited Kuje Correctional Centre in the wake of the attack on the facility.

Aregbesola said that he was not ready to disclose in public certain occurrences pertaining to the Kuje prison attack.

He expressed disappointment at the level of defence put up by the platoon of the Nigerian Army with sophisticated weapons, elite men of the Nigeria Police Force, officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence and armed officers of the Nigerian Correctional Service on ground during the time of the attack.

“Kuje is the most fortified in the country if fortification for security is the determinant of whether it is (a) medium or maximum (security prison). We have a platoon of security officers deployed here. We have high grade military and police and other security forces deployed for protection but strangely something happened most of which I cannot say on camera.”

“My position is clear. Since April 2022, I declared that all our custodial facilities are red zones and that whoever attempts an attack must not live to tell the story. I still maintain this. Kuje is the most fortified in the country if fortification for security is the determinant of whether it is medium or maximum, it is medium by size but maximum by the security being put there. We have a platoon of soldiers deployed here. We have the high grade of military and police and other security forces deployment for protection but strangely something happened most of which I cannot say on camera,” he said.

Last year, the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, was attacked. On 19 July 2021, bandits shot down a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet. The military gleefully announced the downing of its fighter jet. Just like that; and nothing happened.

Condemning the attack on the NDA, Ikeddy Isiguzo, a public affairs analyst, said: “The surprise about the NDA attack is that Nigerians expected the laxity in protecting Nigerians to escape NDA because it is a military institution. NDA is Nigerian indeed, and indeed. Did NDA rustle the bandits’ cattle? Nobody has given that explanation for the attack. We have been lectured endlessly that bandits value their cattle so much that they can sink Nigeria over a missing cattle. The attack was on Nigeria, not NDA, not the military as some imply in minimising the mess.

“Do not expect the military to invade the forest in pursuit of the attackers. Imitable Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, informed us when bandits kidnapped over 200 students in Niger State that Nigeria would violate international environmental laws if it marched on its forests chasing bandits. The law will not be broken for NDA.”

President Buhari has held more security meetings in the last seven years than any other head of state or president in the Nigerian history, yet, there is no result.

But the most surprising and annoying thing is that he suffers fools gladly.

Sergius Ogun, a member of the Constitution Review Committee and member, Petroleum Downstream Committee of the House of Representatives, has expressed worries that the Executive arm led by President Buhari seemed to be doing nothing to end the orgy of attacks on innocent Nigerians by terrorists.

Ogun, who spoke on the Channel Television Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, also expressed sadness that despite all the resolutions in the House calling for the sack of some of the key security chiefs for obvious incompetence and lax, Buhari has not responded while insecurity festers.

He observed that the security agencies were not organised, and that they work in silos. He said that from what he could see, there would be no improvement in sight on security in the country as President Buhari delights in holding endless meetings that yield no results.

Dachung Bagos, a member representing Jos South South/Jos East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, and member, National Security and Intelligence Committee, said that despite the information that people volunteer to the security operatives and Intelligence available to them, attacks have continued unchecked in his constituency.

Bagos, who was also a guest at the Sunrise Daily programme expressed shock at the level of carnage going on across the country under the watch of the current administration.

On the night of Sunday, July 31, 2022, eight members of a family were ambushed and killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen and two others injured in Danda Chugwi of Jos Sóuth Local Government Area of Plateau State. Those killed comprise of three adults and five children.

Bagos, who represents the area in the House of Representatives, who also visited the scene of the massacre, regretted that such barbaric acts were still happening in Nigeria under a regime that pledged to protect lives and property.

Recall that last year, the House of Representatives organised a Security Summit, which was attended by important dignitaries across Nigeria. But none of the recommendations has been implemented.

Dickson Osajie, a criminologist and global security analyst, observed that the Nigerian Army appears to be getting weak.

“You don’t train a soldier so hardly and allow them to die cheaply in the hands of terrorists. It has continued to demoralise our soldiers,” Osajie said.

He wondered why it has been difficult for government to track down or name and shame those behind terrorism in the country or those who attacked the Owo Church, yet it was easy for government to track down Sunday Igboho in Benin Republic or the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya.

A few days ago, terrorists attacked some officials of the 7 Guards Battalion of the Nigerian Army Presidential Guards Brigade.

The incident took place in Bwari Area Council of Abuja; about three soldiers wounded and eight personnel reportedly killed.

Two of the slain personnel were officers, including a captain and lieutenant, while the remaining were soldiers.

In the recent times, many soldiers and other categories of security personnel have been ambushed and killed by either Boko Haram insurgents/ISWAP, bandits or other assorted terrorists.

Hundreds of innocent Nigerians are being killed on a daily basis. Fulani herdsmen are also dealing deadly blows on Nigerians across the country.

Recently, following the increasing onslaught by the terrorists, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, recalled how the party had on various occasions alerted that the APC government had ceded sovereignty over a large portion of the country to terrorists, “many of whom were imported into our country by the APC.”

“From the video, in a brazen manner, terrorists as non-state actors boldly showed their faces, boasting, admitting and confirming their participation in the Kuje Prison break, some of whom were former prison inmates who were either jailed or awaiting trial for their previous terrorism act against our country.

“Nigerians can equally recall the confession by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the APC government knows the plans and whereabouts of the terrorists but failed to act,” he said.

Ologunagba further said that about 18,000 Nigerians have been killed by terrorists between 2020 and 2022 “as the criminals continue to be emboldened by the failures and obvious complicity of the APC and to which the PDP had always drawn attention.

“This is not politics; this is about humanity and leadership, which leadership sadly and unfortunately is missing in our country at this time,” he said.

According to him, “The lame response by the apparently helpless, clueless and deflated Buhari Presidency, wherein it told an agonizing nation that President Buhari “has done all and even more than what was expected of him as Commander in Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military…

“This is a direct admission of incapacity and failure by the Buhari Presidency and the APC. At such a time, in other climes, the President directly leads the charge and takes drastic measures to rescue and protect his citizens.

“It has now become very imperative for Nigerians to take note and realise that the only solution to this unfortunate situation is to hold the APC government accountable. We must come together as a people, irrespective of our political, ethnic and religious affiliations to resist the fascist-leaning tendencies of the APC administration.”

Offering what he thought should be a way out of the quagmire, Ologunagba said: “Our nation must not fall. The resilient Nigerian spirit and ‘can-do- attitude’ must be rekindled by all to prevail on the President to immediately and without further delay, accede to the demand by the PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians to convene a special session of the National Council of State to find a lasting solution since the President has, in his own admission, come to his wit’s end.”

Only recently, the government of the United Kingdom warned that the 2023 general election may not hold in Nigeria if the current spate of violence and insecurity continues.

The Director, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office in the United Kingdom, Chris Beecroft made the submission during the launch of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative (PISI) in Abuja.

Beecroft identified active insurgency in the North East; farmers-herders conflicts which are extending across the country, resource conflicts in the Niger Delta, the tension in the South-East and banditry in the North West as some of the major challenges.

Read also: Buhari seeks PDP lawmakers’ support to tackle insecurity

The UK government official however, said a solution is definitely possible but requires all stakeholders to work together.

He noted that while the military and the police needed to be strengthened, the solution to Nigeria’s security challenge does not lie in that alone but in reconciliation, mediation, arbitration, and access to justice as well.

He said: “We are at a critical juncture in Nigeria’s journey, and now is an important moment for new thinking and action to build a more peaceful future for all Nigerians…

“Nigeria faces significant peace and security challenges. There is an active insurgency in the North East; farmer-herder conflicts are extending across the country; resource conflicts in the Delta; tension in the South-East; and banditry in the North West.”

Speaking further, he said rise in conflict risks destabilising Nigeria’s democracy in the run-up to the 2023 elections.

“Conflict destroys lives, destroys livelihoods, destroys hope and ambition for the future. Conflict represents an existential threat to Nigeria’s unity and its development.
“The police and army are in urgent need of reform-but the solution to Nigeria’s instability does not lie in simply strengthening the police and army-but rather in building an effective social contract, building federal, state, local and community level infrastructure to manage conflict; and in giving young people jobs and opportunities so they have a stake in a prosperous and peaceful Nigeria.

“Injustice and impunity, weak justice institutions, the proliferation of small arms and weapons, the weaponisation of social media, are all drivers of conflict and instability. But with the right commitment, dedication, and support, there are solutions,” he said.

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