There is no doubt that the security situation under President Muhammadu Buhari has reached an alarming state. From the North East to the North West, North Central to the South West, South East and South South, the country has continued to bleed as a result of this scourge.
Apart from the issue of Boko Haram, which is established in the North East, the country now faces other threats, which is manifesting in the form of kidnapping for ransom, mass murders, herdsmen’s attacks, torching of government facilities, banditry and similar issues. There is no part of the country that is at peace at present. Recently, the President stated for the umpteenth time that his government would not relent until it puts an end to the insecurity troubling the country.
His position, as usual, was conveyed by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, after a Security Council meeting convened by Buhari. According to Monguno, the president said he was confident that the security agencies would restore the country’s glory. That meeting is not the first the president convened in recent times. He has had a series of meetings with security chiefs in the past two years, always coming out with the same avowed commitment to deal criminals a deadly blow.
But it has been all sound alone without fury. After any of the meeting, the country lapses into another set of unbridled attacks that have reduced Nigeria to the third worst country to live on earth and made mockery of the president’s tough talk. According to Monguno: “At today’s meeting, the President made it abundantly clear that while the insurgents, bandits and criminals are still at it, he has no doubt that the Nigerian security agencies and all of us as a nation will certainly overcome all the current security problems and defeat the forces of evil marauding about in different parts of the country.”
We are gladdened by the sound bites coming from the meeting between the president and his security chiefs. We also appreciate the fact that the security situation in the country has become a huge problem. But we do not in any way think that it is intractable. Rather, we believe that it is the political will on the side of the government that is lacking. We think seriously that what the government is lacking is the honesty of thought to deal with the security issues appropriately. We note that a combined team of security agents went to Imo State recently and killed a Commander of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), Ikonso.
It did not take the government days to track and take him out. But we wonder why it has taken the government several years and billions of naira to track and kill commanders of Boko Haram and other insurgent kingpins across the country. On not less than five times, the Army had claimed to have killed the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, only for him to resurface days later to unleash more mayhem. We believe very strongly that the government has the capability and capacity to deal with the insecurity in the country decisively and stop the rot and Nigeria’s slide into anarchy. But like we said, it is the purity of thought, the will and the zeal to stop the ravaging criminality that is lacking in the government. If the president and his handlers are not fully aware of the situation in the country, the National Assembly, at different sittings recently, reminded the executive that the country is spiralling out of control. Not too long ago, the Senate Committee on Army summoned the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the Director- General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze and the Chief of Army Staff, to appear before it.
They explained to the Senate the details of the funds so far released to the Nigerian Army to fight insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality leading to escalated insecurity, from 2019 till date. The Chairman the Committee, Senator Ali Ndume, said this during a meeting with the officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, expressing disappointment that the minister failed to honour the invitation of his committee, in spite the importance of the issue at stake. We are aware that the Army has received not less than N190billion for the prosecution of the war. Is it not enough? Do they need more money or men to subdue the criminals? Recently, the House of Representatives called on Buhari to urgently declare state of emergency in the security sector.
The House made the call after an executive session that lasted for over two hours. Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila said: “Considering the security situation, the president should immediately declare a state of emergency on security so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.” He said the lawmakers during the meeting: “Condemned attacks on security agents and formations and sympathises with their families.”
The Senate at a different sitting also resolved to meet with President Buhari, to fashion out permanent solutions to the dire situation. The Senate took this decision following a motion moved by Senator Musa Sani (APC, Niger East), on the activities of bandits and Boko Haram terrorists in Shiroro, Munya and Rafi local government areas of Niger State. We, therefore, believe very strongly that Buhari should go beyond routine security meetings and fashion out a way to save the country from the slide to anarchy. That is what is expected of him from Nigerians. He was elected to solve the problems of the country. Security is one of such challenges. Otherwise, he may be presiding over a failed state soon.