In 2014, President Muhammadu Buhari, then as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was very critical of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, particularly on security.
“The government has not made any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem,” Mr Buhari had said during an interview with Guardian UK.
While appearing at Chattam House in 2015, insecurity was the major talking point for him. The summation of the President speech was that Boko Haram would be “terminated.”
Boko Haram technically defeated
Upon his victory at the poll, Mr Buhari gave December 31st of 2015 as the deadline for the defeat of the dreaded group. At the end of the deadline, the president said the infamous words that the group had been “technically defeated.”
“So I think technically we have won the war because people are going back into their neighbourhoods. Boko Haram as an organised fighting force, I assure you, that we have dealt with them,” he said.
Six years into the administration, the terrorists in the region are now two; Boko Haram and ISWAP. While the military is facing battles at multiple fronts. The military is battling bandits in Northwest and North Central, while the Eastern Security Network (ESN) rages in the Southeast.
DAILY POST had reported how the administration has spent N12 trillion on security.
In this piece, DAILY POST will review the promises by President Muhammadu Buhari and the present state of security in Nigeria.
Mr Buhari in his inaugural address in 2015 said the “The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued.”
Nigerians believe that this promise has failed. In 2018, the former Defence Minister, Dan Ali directed the then Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai to remain in the Northeast until Boko Haram is eradicated. Yet, Boko Haram has not been eradicated.
Last week, a Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army, Dzarma Zirkushu alongside three other officers were killed by ISWAP. The officers fell prey to an ambush of the terrorists.
In the wake of these latest killings, a member of the House, Ahmed Jaha, who is also a member of the ruling APC criticised the strategy of the military. According to him, the military is always waiting for terrorists to attack.
“Whether we like it or not, you cannot sit in your comfort zone waiting for the insurgents to come and attack before you can repel them.”
Kidnapping on the increase
President Buhari also promised that Chibok Girls and other kidnapped victims will be rescued. While more than 100 have been recovered through negotiation, several other chibok girls are still in captivity.
Mass kidnapping has been on the increase under the watch of President Buhari. In the northwest and north-central, cases of kidnapping by bandits have increased.
In 2021 alone, over 800 persons have been abducted by non-state actors in the country. In September, 73 children were abducted in Kaya, Maradun local government of Zamfara State.
At the College of Agriculture and Animal Health in Bakura, Zamfara State, 15 persons were taken. While 121 were abducted at Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State.
In May, 156 children were abducted at an Islamiyya in Niger state. Similarly, 270 were abducted in Jangebe in Marafa Local Government of Zamfara.
DAILY POST observes that kidnapping has become a money-making industry.
A source at one of the major Non-Governmental organisations operating in the Northeast said NGOs have been advised to avoid staying close to government forces formation, because they are prone to attacks.
“NGOs are advised to avoid excessive proximity to Government Forces positions, including paramilitary positions (CJTF and vigilantes) since they are the preferred Organized Armed Groups target,” a recent directive shows,” the source.
The directive is also similar to what Jaha said; that terrorists are taking the battle to the Army.
Also, insiders on the fronts said Boko Haram have been attacking farmers in exchange for protection.
“This trend of attacking farmlands, if it continues, could discourage a large number of civilians from engaging in such activities given the high risk of insecurity associated with it with limited other options.”
It would be recalled that in December 2020, 43 farmers were slaughtered by terrorists, the spokesperson to Buhari, Garba Shehu said the farmers did not get permission before going to farm.
Military demanding for more money
As the war lingers, the Military continues to demand more money from the National Assembly. All the armed forces requested for increase in their appropriations during the 2022 budget defence.
Analysts believe that this gives credence to the assumption that top brass in the military would prefer the war to continue.