Afenifere To Buhari: Match Your Sallah Message On Security With Action…Restates Call For State Police, Restructuring
The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to match his words with action in regard to various indices of governance, particularly security.
In a Press Release signed by the organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, Afenifere said that the information and assurance that emanated from President Buhari’s message to Nigerians to mark this year’s Eid El Fitri celebration “fly against the reality on ground”.
In his message released on Sunday April 30, 2022, by the Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, to mark the end of this year’s Ramadan fast, President Buhari had disclosed that the end to terrorism acts is very much in sight and that Nigerians have reasons to mark the Ramadan festival with hope as the “battle waged against terrorists who falsely masquerade under the name of Islam is approaching its conclusion”.
But Ajayi, in the Release, stated that “rather than looking at the immediate future with hope, Nigerians are living and moving around in fear and despondence because of the insecurity they face at home, at work and even more so when travelling on highways. How then can one be hopeful in that kind of situation?”
While agreeing with the President that the fight against terrorists in the country “has been long and hard”, Afenifere spokesman however stated that the government has not succeeded in convincing most Nigerians that the ‘final victory is within sight” as claimed by the President through his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
To Ajayi, it is important to let the President know the reality on ground because the specters coming from Aso Rock often indicate a distance between those in government and the people they govern. He predicated this on another speech made by the President, through his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 while opening the 4th Plenary Assembly of the Reunion of Episcopal Conferences of West Africa in Abuja. The President had, on the occasion, admitted that West Africa, of which Nigeria is a part, is “passing through a season of considerable political, economic and social turmoil” without outlining what his own government is doing in concrete terms to put an end to the turmoil.
Reports have it that in the evening of the same Tuesday, May 3rd, terrorists under the flag of Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) attacked Kautukari, a community in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, a state whose epithet is ‘Home of Peace’.
The insurgents reportedly invaded the community around 6pm shot sporadically, set houses ablaze and killed some people. Although it was gathered that troops of 117 Battalion in Chibok town were mobilised to the area, a lot of damages in human and material terms have already been done.
On March 30, this same year, Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State disclosed that the security agencies know the locations of terrorists and bandits and went further to say that the said bandits should be bombed. As though to lend credence to this claim, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) said that it had identified three locations on Abuja-Kaduna road being used as dens by terrorists. The identified locations are Rijana, Katari and Kasarami. “These locations are abodes to kidnappers, armed bandits, drug addicts, gun runners, prostitutes and fleeing Boko Haram terrorists,” a senior intelligence source revealed.
A report by the Sun newspaper of April 1, 2022 had it that two officers and 12 soldiers were killed by over 400 insurgents who camped in a bush in Niger State not far from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. Counter attack was launched by reinforcements from 102 Guards Battalion located at Zuma Barracks on the Abuja/Kaduna highway.
Just last Monday, a Policeman, two brothers and others were killed by gunmen in Anambra State in addition to two soldiers (a Sergeant and a Lance Corporal) who were beheaded in the same South East. The soldiers were going for their traditional wedding rites in Imo State.
On Monday, May 2nd, a farmer, Mr. Musa Monsuru was killed by suspected herdsmen on his farm in Araromi village near Igboora, Ibarapa Central local government of Oyo State. Monsur’s case is not an isolated one as several of such reports are common particularly in Oke ogun, Ogbomoso, Ibarapa and Ido areas of Oyo State as well as in Yewa area of Ogun State.
Ekiti, Osun and Ondo States are not spared either. 75 year old Pa Adesoye Oguntayo said he was forced to stop going to his farm at Oke Ako Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State because of several attacks by armed herdsmen.
Reports from other parts of the country, particularly in the North are not anything cheering. Just penultimate Thursday, gunmen attacked villages in Benue and later in Plateau States leaving many dead and several properties destroyed.
Ajayi stated that with all the foregoing prevalent in the land, “it is very strange indeed that Mr. President could inform Nigerians that the “final embers (of insecurity) are now fading.”
It does look like the false sense of assurance and false sense of security being painted by the government have emboldened bandits and terrorists but making it difficult for Nigerians to know how to deal with a situation that is terminating their lives on a daily basis.
Afenifere spokesman, Jare Ajayi, reminded President Buhari that the three major areas in which he raised the hopes of Nigerians when coming to power are security, fighting corruption and boosting the economy among others.
“Unfortunately, the change we have seen in any of these areas are in the reverse. In reverse in the sense that insecurity is now at an unprecedented level, corruption is an all-time high while the economy is now so down that hardly are majority of Nigerians able to eat twice in 24 hours.”
He then challenged the President to immediately allow States to establish their own Police Forces, honour agreements his government has with various labour unions, drastically reduce the cost of governance and ensure that the cost of social services and essential commodities like petrol and electricity come down considerably.
President Buhari can start in this respect by ordering his party officers to liberalize the prohibitive cost of participation in the electoral process going by the amount of money aspirants are forced to pay just to express interest in vying for certain political offices.
“Since it is the government of President Muhammadu Buhari that took us into this asphyxiating condition, history may still be kind on him if he can use the remaining time he has in office to reverse the ugly situation. The permanent way to achieve this is to institute Restructuring without any further ado” Ajayi concluded.