The situations that unfolded in Nigeria within the week have further confirmed that those piloting the affairs of Nigeria currently are far away from reality that Nigerians are dealing with on an hourly basis.
It is therefore not surprising that steps being taken by the government do not touch the problems confronting us as a nation.
Making this declaration in a Press Statement on Thursday was the national Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi.
According to him three instances are worthy of immediate recall.
First was the drama at the National Assembly on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, where the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan went against the decision taken during the close-door meeting of the House’s officials to discuss the security situation in the country with a notice of impeachment to be served on President Muhammadu Buhari.
“By coming out to prevent Senators from discussing the issue, was Lawan working towards putting an end to the menace or assisting it to fester?” Ajayi asked.
The second point he mentioned to buttress how deceitful those around President Buhari are included the disclosures by two serving Ministers after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, described the threat by terrorists to kidnap President Buhari and Governor Rufai as laughable while his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said that Nigerian economy is doing very well, far better than under the previous administrations.
Afenifere spokesman added that what further drove home the fact that President Buhari is not always aware of the reality of the country’s situation was the disclosure by Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State that President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware that terrorists threatened to kidnap both the President and himself until he (Rufai and Governor Bello Matawalle of Nassarawa State) told him.
But deflating the claims by the Ministers, Ajayi has this to say:“As at 2015 when President Buhari took over, Nigeria’s inflation rate was a single digit of 9.01%. Inflation today is 17.71%. As of 2015, Nigeria’s debt revenue stood at N8.8 trillion. As at today, the debt figure is N41 trillion. In 2015, a litre of petrol stood at N87 while it hovers around N190 –N200 today per litre. In 2015 when President Buhari assumed office, the dollar was exchanging at about N190 per US Dollar. Today the exchange rate is a little above N700 to a Dollar. When President Buhari assumed office then, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at $486 billion. The GDP as of 2021 dropped to $440 billion while it has dropped even further now. As at 2015, a bag of rice was around N10,000. Now it is around N33,000. The minimum wage in Nigeria today is N30,000 which is not even being paid across board. But then, even where and when it is paid, it means that an average Nigerian worker cannot buy a bag of rice with his entire salary. Yet, the Minister in charge of our Finance said that the economy is doing ‘very well’. With such briefings from his officer in charge of economy, how would the President know that his government has failed woefully in that sector?”Enter the Minister of Information. He described the threat of kidnap as laughable while speaking with journalists. Yet, the reality around us proved otherwise.
Programmes such as that of the Nigerian Law School in Abuja, were shifted or adjusted. Unity schools were shut down. Nassarawa State government ordered the closure of the entire schools in the state while Catholic Church-owned Veritas University was forced to send its people home because of the threat letter from kidnappers asking it to pay ransoms for its students and officials not to be kidnapped. Not only that, officials of the Presidential Guards were reportedly attacked first on the way to Daura, President Buhari’s hometown and second in the Federal Capital Territory as confirmed by the Army authority. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, on Wednesday, July 27, said the Department of State Services, DSS, shared 44 intelligence reports before the attack on Kuje Prisons.
Wase said this on the floor of the green chamber during the plenary.
Earlier in the week, an NSCDC leaked memo indicated that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists were amassing dangerous weapons for massive attacks on Katsina, Lagos, FCT, Kaduna, and Zamfara states.
The intelligence report titled, ‘Re: Heightened plots by terrorists to stage coordinated attacks in parts of the country,’ was signed by the Deputy Commandant-General in charge of Operations, DD Mungadi.
It added that the Commandant-General had directed the state commandants to put up measures to avert the attacks.
“With all the above and several others, those in the corridors of power are dubbing those calling for effective action as wailers. Some of them, like the Senate President and Presidential spokespersons, seem to be of the view that if the matter is not talked about, it will fade away. But a thing of this type does not fade away in that manner. Rather, it would fester until it consumes virtually everybody including those who ought to act at the appropriate time but failed woefully to do so. In any case, we in Afenifere, do not take the threats by the kidnappers, bandits and terrorists lightly. What with another deadly attack that happened in Owo, Ondo State, on Wednesday, July 27th, barely seven weeks after the gruesome attack on St Francis Catholic Church in the same town. We in Afenifere, in strong terms, condemn this new attack as we did the previous time. It is seen as a provocation that can no longer be accepted.” Ajayi maintained.
Afenifere stated further that the impression had always been that the Chief Executive Officers at the national and state levels get daily briefings on the security situations in their respective areas. Had it not come from Governor El Rufai, it would have been very difficult to believe that President Buahri was not aware that he was under the radar of would-be kidnappers. Yet those around the President were very much aware of this fact. Why didn’t they bring it to his attention? Where is the position, indeed the role, of the National Security Adviser in all these?
“We are asking these questions because, among others, funding cannot be an excuse. For instance, the amount of money allocated to the three arms of the forces in 2016 and 2022 respectively are as follow:The Army in 2016 was given N148 billion. In 2022, it was N579 billion. Navy in 2016 got 86b, in 2022, it was N148b. Airforce in 2016 got N91b while in 2022, it got 180b.
In view of the lackadaisical manner government is handling security situation, in view of seeming collaboration between some within the government and the bandits and in view of the clear refusal of the President to marshall the desired political will to deal with the security situation, it is becoming difficult not to give some ears to those insinuating that all these things are geared towards making the forthcoming 2023 general election unfeasible. The alibi would be the insecurity situation in the country – insecurity that was induced.This would not be acceptable.
“We call on the president to wake up to the reality. Delegate powers. Summon the necessary political will. Stop the kid-glove treatment being given to kidnappers and bandits and allow states that are willing to establish their own police forces” Afenifere spokesman concluded.