OpinionTHE CRUX

Insecurity: PMB’s Impending white flag 

By Adebayo Abubakar
Back in 2013/2014, when we thought we’ve seen the pinnacle of government being weak to the point of non-existence, under Goodluck Jonathan and kept drumming supports for the candidature of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari {retired), on account of his military background, I never knew or thought a time like this would come, when I would have to write anything that has a semblance of the above caption.
I never thought, a sitting President could be this aloof from the reality of an “existential threat” to the sovereignty of his nation, which boasts of a military that has won accolades in international peace-keeping operations around Africa and the world at large.
Remember, men of the Nigerian Army are always outstanding, whenever they are enlisted in international peace-keeping operation by the United Nations, UNO, the African Union, AU, among others.
The same thing with the police; it is one of the most respected members of the Interpol, on account of the outstanding performances of the Nigerian contingents in their ranks.
With all these records of achievements, replete with stories of gallantry, coupled with the mythical exploit of a General Buhari against the invading Chadian rebels and Islamic extremists of Maitasine, in the 80s, we all thought, out of naivety that, the only thing standing between Nigerians and a robust national security that was under threat then, was the presidential election, scheduled to hold on the 28th of March 2015.
His image was laundered; he dressed in a borrowed garb, just for him to be accepted in places where he wouldn’t have garnered up to 2% of votes.
He was given tribal names and even chieftaincy titles, across the regions in the country.
We kept playing up his military background, as a very crucial factor that will come into play, if the territorial integrity of the nation, as was being threatened then, was to be protected.
The election did come and the “People’s General” as he was fondly referred to then, by many of us who were his admirers, won, with as many a margin, as 3 million votes, and satisfied all other constructional requirements.
He came on board on account of the electoral victory; he got sworn-in; he ordered all the service Chiefs to relocate to the North-East; a gesture many applauded and described as an indication that, “a new sheriff was in town”.
Some immediate victories were recorded, pushing the insurgents out of the territories, where they hitherto hoisted their despicable flag.
No sooner than we recorded some of the victories in form of respite, than his Ministers, Lai Mohammed especially, went to town, singing victory song; claiming that, the insurgents have been “technically defeated”, not knowing that, they merely beat a tactical retreat. But as time went on, they came back with more ferocity and determination.
Ever since then, security situation, has been going, from bad to worse. We keep losing our officers some of whom were the finest in their respective areas of specialties.
As the nation kept wondering how this hydra-headed monster of insurgency would be neutralised, or at least caged, the herders-farmers clash reared its head in Plateau, and later, Benue States.
There is no need to mention Southern Kaduna as far as herders-farmers clash is concerned, due to the age of the conflict in the area, which is partly responsible for why traveling by road, from Abuja
It is not an exaggeration, to say that President Buhari let, not only Nigeria, down, on these occasions, but also let down, his ardent supporters. Lives are being lost in hundreds on a daily basis across the country.
A lot of people insinuated that, his refusal to take a decisive action in crises, has an ethnic undertone. He hasn’t come out to say, or do anything to debunk the insinuation till date, either.
The only response from Aso Rock is an automated Press Statement, of condemnation.
Then, the problem changed name and location. It moves north-westerly, and it became “Banditry”. Manipulation of Semantics.
Kidnapping, killing, maiming and raping of innocent children and women, young and old, became a Sporting activity.
The security operative, appear non-existent. Don’t blame them. They can’t do anything, outside the directive given by the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – President Muhammadu Buhari.
You would recall, when dozens of school boys in Kankara, Katsina State, where the president came from and was holidaying, were seized and taken in to captivity by the bandits (as they told us to refer to them by Sheik Ahmad Gunmi), the President, neither cancelled his prearranged activities, nor issue any official statement to comfort the parents of the children.
From Katsina, it moved to Zamfara; a State believed by many, to be the epicentre of the banditry in the Northwest; thank to the warmth and hospitality they receive from the State Governor, Bello Matawalle.
From there to Kebbi State; and now, Niger State. Niger is a State that shares border with the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, where the president is cocooned, away from the grim reality of insecurity, and its attendant effects on the socio-economic lives of Nigerians.
Earlier last month, about 52 passengers, traveling in a Niger State Transport Authority, NSTA bus were kidnapped; and days later, 27 students, 12 staffers and 3 relatives of the staffers of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara in Rafi Local Government of the State were kidnapped by the group, whose listening hears, Sheik Gunmi has.
After subjecting the victims to the worst of psychological traumas, they were released. Unconfirmed reports had it that ransoms were paid, but the Federal and Niger State Governments, running into hundreds of millions, but the Niger State Government has come out to deny that they paid any ransom.
What one finds so worrisome are the utterances, most of which are unguarded, of Government officials, political figures and some influential figures in the country.
Sheik Gunmi for instance said, the security agents know the locations of these bandits, but dare not attack them, because they have learnt some lesson, from their “recklessness” in the past.
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State said, “not all bandits are criminals”. He said this, while making a case for amnesty for people who are yet to make it to anybody, except maybe Gunmi, why they are up in arm, against the federation.
Governor Mohammed Bala says there is need for herders, to bear AK-47, because they need to protect themselves, as the State refuse to protect them from wild animals, even though, most, if not all, of them are opposed to ranching, that would yield more productivity and less dangerous for them.
Meanwhile, the “suffering” of the herders has been identified by Gunmi, as the reason for the activities of the bandits with a view to drawing the attention of the federal government to it. I hope you can now connect some dots.
The “Pabambari” of it all is the verbal diarrhea displayed by the Minister for Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi, Retired); he said, he wonders why Nigerians keep running away from minor things like bandits bearing AK-47, with barely 3 rounds of ammunition.
He therefore, advised Nigerian to muster capacity to defend themselves against those marauders.
And the criminals are becoming more and more emboldened by a combination of inactions by the Federal government and “words of encouragement” from the likes of Bala, Gunmi, Matawalle who de-criminalising their activities; and Magashi who is advertising the lack of political will or capacity by the federal government to protect the citizens, to tackle a gang of criminals who, as an afterthought, started shopping for reason for their campaign of terror, using some of the aforementioned agents, whose positions as government officials have now become questionable.
I hope and pray that, Buhari administration is not about to accept defeat. But before he waves the “white flag” President Buhari should pause and ponder on his Electoral promises in 2014 and 2018, when on his behalf, his backers assured us of water-tight security; he should tell Garba Shehu or whoever is his aide on Social media, to get him the video clips of some of his campaign rallies, where acknowledged those promises made on his behalf.
As the “Mr. Integrity” they style him to be, he should ask himself, whether he has kept to the promises.
He should ask himself whether, pampering bandits who daily terrorise Nigerians, is the best way to pay the “97-percenters” back, for the electoral support that they overwhelmingly gave him in 2015 and 2019.
Adebayo Abubakar Writes from Ilorin
Freshinsight
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