John Alechenu, Stephen Angbulu, Godwin Isenyo, Peter Dada, Armstrong Bakam, Bauchi and Dennis Naku
14 May 2021
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Ordering weapons, training troops in usage take time, says Buhari
Nigerians tired of your endless stream of excuses, PDP tells President
Understand plights of kidnapped victims paying heavy ransom – ACF
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday commented on the insecurity in the country and urged Nigerians to show more understanding.
Buhari, who stated this in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled, ‘President Buhari pledges action against bandits’ threat to national food security,’ said importing weapons and training troops in their usage involved a long process.
According to the statement, the President made the appeal while speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after observing the Eid prayer, marking the end of the Ramadan fast.
But in their reactions, the northern sociopolitical organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum told The PUNCH that the President should stop giving excuses.
They said the President was ignorant of plight of Nigerians who were at the mercy of kidnappers and bandits.
The President, in the statement by Shehu was quoted as saying that “I expect Nigerians to be more understanding on the issues involved, looking at time and available resources.
“For example, when we came in, in the North-East, ask people in Adamawa and Borno states and the South-South in terms of security.
“Without security, you can’t do anything. Our big surprise and disappointment is what is happening in the North-West and we are dealing with it.”
The President also appealed to the nation’s elite to show a better appreciation of the problems facing the country.
“The elite should make the attempt to understand the military. If we order for weapons and armoured vehicles, it takes time for the manufacturer (to deliver them).
“It takes time to ship them and when brought here eventually, they are taken to training institutions, train the trainers before sending them to the field. This is a very long process.”
Buhari promised that his regime would use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits so that they would no more hinder access to farms.
He said the menace of bandits and kidnappers would be addressed to ensure that the nation’s food security is not threatened.
The President, who hoped for a good rainy season this year, said “the law enforcement agencies are working hard to regain confidence against bandits, so that we can go back to the land. This is very important. This is what the agencies are busy doing right now. We want people to go back to the land so that we can get enough food for the country and even export.”
Explaining ongoing efforts to tackle the security situation in the country, Buhari drew attention to the series of long meetings held in recent weeks, chaired by him, saying that a part of resolutions had been made public by the National Security Adviser and the others kept secret.
“With the resources and manpower available to us, we are working very hard. We are hoping Nigerians will understand the problem. Nigerians know at what stage we came in 2015, what state we are today both on security and the economy and we are doing our best,” he said.
He also commended the National Assembly for its support, saying , “the National Assembly is cooperating very well. Within the resources available, they are certainly giving us priority on our (military) requests.”
The President and members of his family were joined for the Eid at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa by the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, cabinet members and the heads of security and intelligence agencies.
Understand plights of kidnapped victims, who pay heavy ransom, ACF advises Buhari
The ACF in its reaction to Buhari’s appeal, said what Nigerians expected from the President was for him to secure the country.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, Nigerians demonstrated a lot of understanding by re-electing the President in 2019.
The ACF spokesman, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Thursday, said, “Nigerians demonstrated a lot of understanding when they elected the President into office in 2015 and more understanding when they re-elected him in 2019.
“What we expect from the President is for him to understand the plight of the ordinary Nigerian who feels unprotected.
“He should understand that the ordinary Nigerian and maybe his community can be mowed down as it were, kidnapped en mass and heavy ransom placed on them.
“We expect the President to understand that things are bad in terms of security in Nigeria and ordinary farmers are expected to pay bandits before they are granted access to their farms. Nigerians have never really had it this bad.”
It’s unacceptable for Buhari passing the buck to Nigerians – PANDEF
On its part, PANDEF faulted the President over his call for Nigerians to show understanding, saying it was unacceptable for him to keep passing the buck to the people.
Spokesman for PANDEF, Ken Robinson, who stated this in a telephone chat with one of our correspondents, said Nigerians were very understanding people and ‘that is why we are still where we are.’
Robinson, however, said it was okay for the President to call for understanding as the country needed national consensus.
He stated, “The President should lead the way in showing that he understands the suffering, the disaffections, the hunger and anger and hopelessness that is creeping into the land.
“The President should show understanding that he feels the pain of Nigerians and the way to show that he understands the pain, suffering and the hardship in the land is by acting in a way and manner that will show that he is sincere and serious about not only security issues but also about governance and the wellbeing of Nigerians.”
He identified nepotism as the greatest problem of Buhari’s regime.
“The greatest problem as PANDEF has said before and we will keep repeating without any contradiction is that the greatest problem of Nigeria today is the nepotism and bias conduct of the Buhari government.
He stated, “A typical example and we will continue to say this, that out of 17 top military, para-military and intelligence positions in the country, the southern Nigeria occupies only three, while you have some states occupying two.”
“As you are aware, some prominent Nigerians including the national leader of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark are in court against the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari over the serial breaches of federal character. So, that is the greatest problem we have.”
Nigerians won’t show understanding with Buhari – Afenifere
Also, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said the only way Nigerians could show understanding was for the President to do the will of the people.
The outgoing Secretary General of the organisation, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, in an interview with The PUNCH, said Buhari had failed Nigerians because of his inability to protect the country.
He said, “Any government that fails to protect his people is a failure because we govern people to give them protection and to cater for their welfare. So if these two issues are not addressed, it is unfortunate. People cannot show understanding.”
Nigerians tired of Buhari’s endless stream of excuses – PDP
The PDP said the appeal by the President was noted.
It, however said, it was obvious that his best which he claimed he was doing to tackle insecurity and improve the economy was not good enough.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said these in an interview with The PUNCH.
Ologbondiyan said, “We note the appeal by President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigerians to show more understanding for his regime’s lethargic approach to governance. It is obvious his best is so far not enough; Nigerians are hungry and dying.
“We also invite him to also note that Nigerians are getting tired of an endless stream of excuses coming from his regime. He was elected to find solutions to problems not give excuses.
“We urge Mr President to wake up from his lethargy and address problems. Blaming the past has been the favourite sound bite of this regime since 2015. The other day, a minister was blaming the General Murtala Mohammed regime of 1975/’76 for Nigeria’s security problems. We can’t make progress this way.”
Buhari regime best known for blame game – Bauchi gov
In a related development, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, on Thursday said the Buhari regime was bedevilled by nepotism and corruption.
He said that the deteriorating economy which had led to widespread poverty was as a result of loss of ideas by the Federal Government.
Mohammed said these in an interview with journalists at the Ramat House, Bauchi shortly after the Sallah parade at the palace of the Emir of Bauchi.
He said that there was truth in the assertion by the Southern governors who recently said that the northern part of the country was favoured more than the south.
Mohammed stated, “If you are not fair and equitable in your administration, in your management, if there is nepotism, only one section is given positions in government; then what the southern governors said is true. Some people are given too much attention to the detriment of the others.
“What we know in this country, as a federation, there is always a balance in terms of appointments of federal offices, in terms of appointments even at the local level because if you don’t practise fairness at the top, then you cannot get it at the lower level. And people will begin to think of self-actualisation, self-determination, and so on.”
Mohammed stated that the Buhari regime had no ideas on how to grow the economy, noting that it was best known for blame game.
He said that corruption was thriving in the regime more than previous administrations.
He stated, “I think the Federal Government has lost ideas on how to grow the economy. They are just involved in a blame game. What they are best known for is blame game, always saying this and that.”
He lamented that since he came into power, Bauchi State had not enjoyed any special financial intervention such as the Paris Club and budget support from the Federal Government
The governor stated, “Since I came in two years ago, we have not got any Paris Club fund. We have not got any budget support. We have not got anything from the Federal Government.
“The Economic Sustainability Plan should involve the governors and local governments, not the federal officers that are using it as federal constituency projects and the state governors are already out of it.”
Don’t underrate Buhari’s capacity – APC
But the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in an interview with The PUNCH, said Buhari remained committed to solving the security problems.
Akpanudoedehe said, “Like we have said, our party under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, shares the concern of well-meaning Nigerians on our challenges.
“However, let no one be in doubt about the urgency and capacity of President Buhari-led APC government to end our security challenges.
“We appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support this administration as we work towards resolving all these challenges.”