Deceit. This six-letter word aptly describes the biggest hindrance to the battle against insecurity, especially in Nigeria. Until the Buhari government is ready to end all the deceits surrounding enforcement of security in this country, the senseless killings and insecurity across the country will persist”. -Yemi Adebowale
To critical observers of Nigeria’s volatile political sphere, there is more than meets the eye concerning the country’s worsening security situation. For instance, the piece of recent news credited to ‘SaharaReporters’ that the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has been in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, since September after the wedding of her daughter, Hanan, paints the parlous picture of increasing insecurity at the seat of power. If that exalted place is not safe, even for the First Lady, who else can go to sleep with their two eyes closed in Nigeria? But there are more questions triggered by her absence from the country than any credible answers, available to the public.
It has become increasingly worrisome over the months, that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the number one security officer, has not been able to speak to millions of helpless and defenceless Nigerians on the efforts to reverse the scary security situation in the country. With regard to recent events, he could not do so, soon after the controversial shooting by soldiers of some #EndSARS protesters back in October. Again, he did not deem it fit to provide any form of assurance soon after some 43, or was it 78 rice farmers, were heinously killed and beheaded in Zabarmari in Borno State. Many had expected him to pay an on-the-spot visit to assess the situation but he only sent a delegation. That was weeks ago.
Similarly, when bandits, in an act of brazen bravado, dared him by the abduction of over 300 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina, his home state, while he was at Daura, his home town, for vacation, he reenacted the same scenario. As usual, he reeled out statements of warnings and condolences to the terror bandits and families of the victims respectively, without paying a visit. And to think of it that he did not deem it fit to appear before the House of Representatives, when invited, to explain his own side of the measures put in place to clip the wings of the terrorists, looks odd to many. Such acts of inadequate concern for the victims of insecurity have ignited more questions.
What is the health status of Mr President, Oby Ezekwesili, like many patriots have kept on demanding answers? Why has he continued to hold on to the Service Chiefs in the face of worsening insecurity in Nigeria, given his military background?
But come to think about it, if indeed there was an assurance of solid and stable security in the country, why would Aisha take flight to Dubai and has been there for upward of three months? Recall that ‘SaharaReporters’ had reported months ago that there was a crisis in Aso Villa. That was after security details of the President’s wife removed Buhari’s Personal Assistant, Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf, after he refused to embark on a 14-day isolation period upon returning from a trip to Lagos.
Shortly afterwards, the First Lady’s ADC, Usman Shugaba, in an attempt to apprehend Yusuf, reportedly fired gunshots but the President’s aide escaped to the residence of Mamman Daura where he spent the night. Yusuf soon ordered the arrest of Aisha’s ADC and other security details in connivance with Buhari’s chief security officer. Buhari had ordered a probe into the alleged security breach inside the Presidential Villa. That was some six months ago. Nothing has been heard of it again.
Thereafter, Nigerians have been left to guess what is really happening in the nation’s seat of power. Or, is it true, as the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, recently stated that the President has been behaving as if no one really is in charge of the affairs of Nigeria? That is unimaginable, isn’t it? The playwright, in a piece titled, “INFRADIG – A Presidential Comeuppance”, flayed the President’s response to the polite summons by the National Assembly to “rub minds urgently over a people’s security anxieties as one who still struggled to preserve the tattered remains of his ‘Born-Again’ democratic camouflage.” According to him, Buhari’s reversal of consent, after he had initially agreed to honour the invitation, raised yet again the frightening situation report of who really is in charge of the affairs of a country as complex as Nigeria.
Put together, the President’s recurring refusal to speak to the defenceless citizens on the insecurity conundrum, or visit the scenes of terrorism, as well as his refusal to sack the service chiefs who have overstayed their tenure and his wife’s continued stay in Dubai, surreptitiously on account of escalating insecurity, all give much cause for serious concern. So, the question remains: If Aisha could jet out to Dubai at the blink of an eye, what happens to the poor amongst us? Many people are wondering where the average Nigerians who are daily facing the heat of insecurity should run to? Does this fall in place with the promises made by the ruling APC back in 2015 during its campaigns to tackle insecurity head on while lampooning the then President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration for not living up to expectation with regard to the war against insurgency?
Since 2009, Boko Haram activities have resulted to about 30,000 fatalities and over 2.3 million population displaced from their homes. The insurgency’s persistence over the years shows that there has been gross failure with regard to the military tactics so far deployed, the humungous amounts spent and even information available to and acted on by those at the forefront of bringing the masterminds to their knees.
The way forward therefore, is for the President to declare a state of emergency on the worsening insecurity in the country. He should convene on a wholistic stakeholders’ meeting with the top hierarchy of all the security forces, the police, the state governors and traditional institutions across the country. He should be ready to give the needed nod to the restructuring of this entity called Nigeria, with each state coming up with its own community policing, peculiar to their immediate needs and security challenges.
We cannot continue to delude ourselves with a bloated federal structure that concerns itself with issues that should be outside its statutory functions. Bringing the war against insecurity, be it banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom or terrorism closer to the people will be more effective, impactful and less expensive. Intelligence information gathering, sharing, analysis and promptly acting on them will become more efficient.
Doing all these would fall in tandem with Section 14, Sub-section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which clearly spells out the guarantee of the citizens’ security, in addition to providing for their welfare as the primary duty of those voted into government. As the above stated opening quote amplifies, to end insecurity in Nigeria, the Buhari regime should identify and bring all forms of deceit of those involved to an end.