One of the reasons why the last President lost the election was because Nigerians were not happy with the way they handled the security situation in the Northeast. While a lot of successes were recorded in the twilight of the administration, with lots of territories regained, this came a bit too late.
The then opposition latched in on this, and made it a campaign issue. In fielding a Presidential candidate, they brought out a retired General and former Head of State, who’s quite familiar with the Northeast terrain, having been a former military Governor. He promised the electorates that he’ll lead from the front. The electorates bought this, and he won the elections, and was sworn in May 29th, 2015.
Three years on, has he delivered on this key promise of tackling insecurity? It depends on your source of information. According to the Government Spokesmen, the battle has been won many times over; albeit on the pages of newspapers. On the ground, the stories before us show a scary situation. Even with blazing bombs and guns, they claim they’ve defeated the sect “technically”. Let’s look at the facts before us.
As stated earlier, this administration inherited a surge in operation by our men of the armed forces. The Boko Haram fighters were being pushed back into the Sambissa. While there appeared to be a relapse in the early days of this administration, probably due to gaps in personnel change, they soon regained control and sustained the momentum. From reports read, Boko Haram fighters were indeed pushed back; but only for a while…
The news we’ve been reading of late has been disturbing. From audacious onslaughts at military base, to dare devil attacks on military convoys and civilian. They’re coming boldly after both “soft” and “hard” targets. They’re even reportedly carting away military hardware abandoned by our men as they scampered for safety. There’s hardly a week you don’t hear of these sad attacks on our men and fellow citizens.
Within this period, we read of a “re-enactment” of the Chibok operation in Dapchi. 110 School girls were kidnapped in this quiet town of Yobe. Such audacious operation without any resistance. While Nigerians were still shocked, they were left with more questions than answers when most of the girls were returned in broad day light, with the villagers cheering on. All of these happened – both kidnap and return operations – without a single resistance by the military. Not forgetting that a young Christian girl, Leah, was held back for refusing to renounce his faith. She’s still not be released.
Boko Haram is staging a bold come back. Earlier this year, Reuters News reported that they control large territories were citizens pledge allegiance by paying tax. You saw that right: they now run their own revenue service. The sect has broken up to powerful factions.
From Borno to Yobe, and to Adamawa and Taraba, the story is the same. Far from the Presidential rhetoric, the situation is scary. Unfortunately, beyond signed condolences, we don’t see any strategic move from the President, to end this. In 3 years, no one has been fired; the nation’s security formations have not been rejigged.
THE MIDDLE BELT
The middle belt in Nigeria has a history of occasional clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen. However, never in recent history has there been so much sustained massacre. The marauding herdsmen have been on a killing spree, destroying crops, burning down villages and killing innocents. Whole villages were burnt down, and entire families brutally murdered. Not a single middle belt state has been spared this massacre; it’s now a “belt” of violence. From Benue to Plateau, and Kogi, it’s been same sad news. Yet, perpetrators are never arrested. All we see is another signed condolence message.
The growing insecurity has spread to other states with fewer incidences in the past. Zamfara is now a battle field; we read news of carnage by bandits. Sokoto, the home of the caliphate, was under attack weeks back, with 2-digit casualty figures. Taraba has been consistently facing the heat, with lots of innocents gunned down. Even communities in a once peaceful Enugu, have not been spared the killings.
Under the watch of this administration a new monster emerged. Boko Haram was bad enough, and then this monster, the marauding herdsmen flourished under their watch. A report released last week Thursday, by the International Crisis Group, revealed that the farmers-herders clash has claimed more life than Boko Haram. They inherited a crises ridden Northeast; by May 29th, 2019, they might be handing over a crises ridden Northeast and Middle Belt. The one who promised to lead from the front, has seen an escalation of violence and insecurity. The ‘territory of violence’ has expanded.
May God help us.