President Muhammadu Buhari now appears to have taken the issue of insecurity personally, five years after he came to power. He is currently directly involved in tackling the menace and issuing rallying cries to his Generals on the need to stop the rot the country has gone into because of insecurity.
Last week, during a meeting with Traditional Rulers from across the country at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari was emphatic for the first time in stating that he has issued an order personally that any civilian seen with AK-47 gun should be shot by security agents.
He said that such guns were supposed to be registered and were for security agencies, not for individuals to use. He also said that he had directed his Security Chiefs to go hard on criminals of all shades, who are perpetrating violence across the country.
At a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Buhari insisted that his order on AK-47 possession still stands. Instructively, the meeting was attended by the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd); Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the Director-General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the Director- General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
Buhari said: ‘‘We closed the borders for some years, but the intelligence report I’m getting on a daily basis is that those who are conducting the abductions, the killings and so on are still not short of arms and ammunition.’’ Just few hours after that directive, governors elected on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) openly pledged to collaborate with the Federal Government in the fight against insecurity in the country.
The governors, who met physically for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic, with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party and the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, said they resolved to continue to work with the Federal Government with the sole aim of reestablishing peace in troubled areas of the country.
“We must not play politics with security and we must all work together to ensure that we bring back peace in our land. So, we have agreed to continue to work with the Federal Government in that regard,” said Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of Sokoto State and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
It is good that the position of Buhari was strengthened by a briefing by Monguno on the same day, stating that the Federal Government would not engage in any negotiation with bandits and insurgents but would deploy all necessary force to crush them.
Monguno, who lamented that the challenges facing the country in the war against bandits and insurgents were shortage of security personnel and lack of equipment, also ruled out the re-engagement of mercenaries in dealing with the insurgents, insisting that the country had enough resources to deal with the issue, but for their misapplication and under utilization.
He said: “The President’s view and directive is that we will not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with these problems. We have the personnel and resources, and the President has given a new lease of life to the Armed Forces.”
“The new direction of government is to come out with full force. Government will not allow itself to be blackmailed by any group or any individual who thinks he can hide under the surface and use proxies to deal a fatal blow on innocent people.”
We are glad that the president, his security chiefs and even the opposition PDP have taken a common stand on the state of insecurity in the country.
We also note that the insecurity situation has been taken beyond party politics, where the PDP would be blaming Buhari and his men for the failure to arrest the drift. It is also noteworthy that the Buhari government has faced the reality and not looked back at the years of the PDP to blame for the poor state of things.
We know for sure that the president and his security chiefs need all the support they can get from all corners of the country to arrest what has become a national embarrassment to all.
That is why the issue of insecurity should not be seen as mainly a Buhari or his government’s failure. Rather, it should be seen from all quarters as a national emergency; a problem that threatens the corporate existence of the country.
It is also important to note that the criminals do not attack or maim anybody based on political party affiliation, tribe or religion. They are just criminals, who are out to ruin the country.
That is why it is important that Nigerians should shed the toga of ethnicity, religion of party affiliations to build a consensus on the issue of insecurity, with a view to stopping the drift of the country into anarchy.
That is not only a business for Buhari but also for all levels of government, religious and traditional rulers, opinion leaders and the generality of Nigerians. It is a collective responsibility of all to help the government to restore peace and order in the country.
We believe very strongly that with the unambiguous position of the Buhari government on the bandits, insurgents and other similar criminals, a solution might be in sight soon for the restoration of order in the country. The president, as a retired Army General owes a duty to snuff out insecurity before he exits in 2023.