By IBRAHIM ABDULLAHI
On May 29th 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took the mantle of leadership, one of his key cardinal programmes, was tackling of insecurity in Nigeria especially the boko- haram menace that was overwhelming. As at that time, terrorists and hoodlums of all sorts had ravaged the Nation for 16 years having started since 2009.
The President promised then as a retired General from the Nigerian Army and Former Head of State, that he would do his best to wipe-away the menace of boko-haram insecurity in Nigeria. He started by directing the Security Agencies in Nigeria to sit-tight and be ready to tackle the menace. Members of boko- haram had before the advent of President Buhari as Nigerian Civillian President, killed a number of innocent people in not less than 10 States out of 19 States of Nortbern States including Abuja – the FCT. Muslims account for the large percentage of people killed as Mosques, Markets and many crowded places were attacked; even though Churches too were not spared. The States where the criminals ravaged include Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Niger States just to mention a few. Abuja the Nation’s capital was also rocked with bomb and grenades leaving many innocent people dead.
The commitment of Mr . President in fighting the battle headlong made him to combine the Military, the Police and other Security Agencies to fight the battle since 2015 till 2019; and this left the dare-devil groups in disarray with thousands of them loosing their lives; thus boko-haram was defeated to a very large extent. In fact, among the issues that gave President Muhammadu Buhari a ‘walk-over’ over other Presidential Candidates during his 2nd Term bid, was the way he dealt with boko-haram groups; including the way he secured the return of hundreds of abducted school girls in Dapchi – Yobe State; which gave high hopes in the safe return of the rest.
As at today, the criminality of boko-haram groups has subsided greatly with thousands of them killed, others surrendered and large volume of weapons recovered from them. One could not imagine how these criminals were breeding in Nigeria with deadly weapons being acquired with heavy logistics for a period of 16 years unhibited before Buhari was elected in 2015. One must therefore commend President Buhari sincerely over his fire-power on them which suffocated and got most of them elimitated even as at 2019.
Unfortunately, as the Nation was fighting the criminals of boko-haram, some dare-devil groups also emerged in various forms across the Nation. These include abductors, kidnappers, herdsmen, hoodlums with IEDs and arsonists who wrecked terrible havoc on road travellers across the Nation. They went as far as kidnapping and killing innocent railway passengers on Abuja – Kaduna rail line – with similar one that has just occurred in Igueben – Edo State few days ago. Arsonists among the criminals targetted INEC Local Governments offices in 15 States of the Federation with highest being in the South East.
These unfortunate incidents were confronted by the Police and the Military with some abducted victims regaining their freedom, while others paid ransome before being released. It must be stated here that unknowingly to many patriotic Nigerians and Leaders that criminals have been assembling themselves and warming-up in Nigeria without anybody knowing or reporting; a sign of failed intelligence. Until when President Buhari confronted the boko-haram in a proper manner before we subdued them. The extent of criminality starring Nigeria in the face was then identified and tackled. The role of prayers in the successes recorded cannot be quantified.
This is why we must commend President Buhari for fighting the battle headlong with colossal amount of money budgeted annually for Security, since he came to power again in 2015. This has helped the administration in subduing humongous criminalities starring us in the face. The Military and the Police were given funds to purchase high-powered equipment, gadgets, logistics including fighter jets. The Nigerian Armed Forces and the Police, have indeed done well to curb the nefarious activities of the criminals. Regular reports and media briefings witnessed regularly from the two Forces on how the criminals are being neutralised are heart-warming including capturing of their deadly weapons from them.
Kudos to Buhari Administration for being able to fulfil his campaign promise on boko-haram and emerging criminals; the Nation never believed such terrible criminals were lurking around in various forms.
In the face of these damning security crises, the achievement recorded by President Buhari other areas are numerous. These include road construction and rehabilitation in clouding 2nd Niger Bridge completion and opening, Airport modernisation, Health Infrastructure, Digital economic foundation and communications, promotion of entrepreneurship through loans and raising the bar in engineering and technology to mention just few…..The insecurity palaver could have prevented many achievements but for PMB’s commitment, it was possible. This is not to say that there no areas that requires improvement in his governance, no Leader can do everything at a time. Where Buhari is about to stop, let incoming g President continue from there. It i is therefore uncharitable, nonsensical and condemnable for anybody to say that Buhari achieved nothing! The Nation should be proud of his modest achievements.
2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS
Now, as we face the forthcoming 2023 General Elections, we must learn from our experience of the past on insecurity from 2015 to date. Those setting INEC facilities and structures on fire are surely ‘testing the microphone’ on what they are preparing to do not only in those States affected but elsewhere too during or after elections. This is why our security forces must be pro-active not only on intelligence but on combat-readiness too! Numerous interests abound in the political era of Nigeria today as political gladiators continue to pursue their ambitions legally and otherwise. Therefore, perfect way of building heavy security and tackling insecurity must be evolved and sustained in the forthcoming elections. It should be understood that while INEC is busy and would focus on its election process and procedure, issues of security and insecurity doesn’t directly concern INEC; it concerns the Security Agencies.
At this point, it is necessary to call on the Military, the Police and the Directorate of State Services as well as other Security Agencies to upscale their duties and responsibilities for the forth-coming elections. It must be noted that the Security Agencies lack sufficient manpower; however, with good planning and execution, success will come our way. We must remember that any laxity on security could back-fire as all States and FCT would be involved in Presidential Election on Saturday February 25th this year. There will no opportunity for the Military or Poliice to redeploy personnel from any State to the other if insecurity breaksout anywhere. Hence, the attention of Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor, that of Inspector-General of Police Mr Alkali Usman Baba, as well as that Director-General DSS Mr. Yusuf Bichi is being drawn to the need for serious planning and strategies including some flash-points that have been noted for insecurity throughout the Federation.
As the Nation looks forward to hitch-free elections, we must be spiritually committed to special prayers so that we could overcome challenges before during and after the elections. I watched the newsreport of a Security Organisation training its personnel for the forthcoming-elections. I am of the view that the number of participants I saw were too few. Even if such trainings would run across the six geo-political zones, that notwithstanding, all the Security personnels to be involved in the election duties must be trained. Inadequate knowledge, briefing, ignorance and disobedience could make any security official run foul of the laws.
Finally, several hearty cheers to the Hon. Minister of Information & Culture Alh. Lai Mohammed who has shown beyond any reasonable doubt his total commitment to his duties and responsibilities by publicising the laudable achievements of Buhari Administration through his SCORE-CARD SERIES OF PRESENTATIONS @ RADIO HOUSE Garki Abuja where Hon. Ministers have been giving account of their stewardship rolling-out Buhari’s achievements in their Ministries. The programme started several weeks ago and its still continuing.. …It is highly enlightening and commendable. His activities too in publicising the Nation’s Security Forces’ breakthrough is laudable. The role of information on security is very crucial, hence he should not relent in his effort for the overall success of this Administration.
*Ibrahim Abdullahi is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) and he is based in Ilorin – Kwara State.