1st September, 2015
Kazeem Ugbodaga & Cyriacus Izuekwe
Nigerians have expressed mixed feelings over President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance in the area of security in the last 100 days since he took over power from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
It should be noted that the last three months (Buhari would attain exactly 100 days in office on Saturday, 5 September) have been characterised by bombings by the Islamic insurgents, Boko Haram, in the North-East, with scores being killed almost daily.
While some Nigerians scored the President very low in the area of security, others said he has performed well and expressed optimism that insecurity would soon be a thing of the past.
Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo said that in the last 100 days, Buhari had performed extremely well as he had put strategies in place to defeat the insurgents in the North East, adding that the President had really taken security as a priority.
“He has taken security as priority. We have seen that in the first week he was inaugurated, he took the first step to go to neighbouring countries to arrange for joint security arrangement regarding Boko Haram.
“Security is top on his agenda and there is no doubt about that. He has performed so far. The bombings experienced in the last few moments were the things in existence before he came into power, he has been able to take it as a priority,” Keyamo said.
But Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary, Afenifere lamented that the country had not fared better in terms of security, saying that security issues were being escalated rather than being reduced.
“The country has not fared better in terms of security challenges, in fact it is growing worse in terms of Boko Haram’s onslaught in the country. These days, Boko Haram kills 60 to 70 on daily basis, under Jonathan, we were complaining, these days, they are much. The impression we were given by the APC was that in one month, Boko Haram will be a thing of the past, but three months after, Boko Haram is waxing stronger.
“We have not seen anything being done differently than going to the neighbouring countries holding meetings, the movement of the command and control centre to Borno State, the Cief of Army Staff, Buratai was recently ambushed by Boko Haram. Goverment should act fast. APC used it as a campaign tool that they have the magic wand to curb it but we need to mobilise all to curb this insurgency,” Odumakin stated.
Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress, Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe said Buhari has done very well in the area of security in the last 100 days as he had put in place strategies to defeat Boko Haram.
“To defeat Boko Haram, you have to set up strategies and he has done that by going to the neigbouring countries to dialogue with them. If you network with the neighbouring countries, the problem will be solved.
“In a matter of time, Boko Haram will be crushed. Imagine a situation where the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, will lead the war, it has never happened in this country unlike when the leader will stay in Abuja and tell the smaller ones to go to the frontline. It is a matter of time and it will be over,” he said.
Convener, Coalition against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran also scored Buhari high in the area of security, saying he had performed in the last 100 days, expressing the hope that Boko Haram would soon be a thing of the past.
According to him, the president had gone round the neighbouring countries to solicit strong partnership to defeat Boko Haram, saying that such action should be commended by Nigerians as there was now a road map on how Boko Haram would be crushed.
Adeniran added that the movement of the Command to Borno State is another way of waging total war on Boko Haram, saying that the movement would enable the military to tackle the issue headlong.
According Barrister Ibe Onyeije, Buhari has not fared better in the war against Boko Haram and eradication of insecurity, saying that the continued failure of the security in the northern part of Nigeria after making promises to stop the insurgency was as a result of lack of tactical approach to defeat them.
Onyeije noted that Buhari was using wrong approach by announcing their strategy to the public through the media which gave the sect an insight on how to reposition and strike, saying that the trick of using the media as propaganda tools had failed despite movement of the command and control centre of the military to Maidugiri in Borno State.
He suggested that government should use another approach by negotiating with Boko Haram so that the killings would stop, adding that the option of negotiation was necessary because it appeared that the government had exhausted all their strategy and had failed.
“Why don’t we try negotiation since our approach has failed? There are more killings as never before,” he said.
Another Lawyer, Barrister Jacinta Ogbedelote suggested that the government should concentrate more on intelligence gathering if they actually want to defeat Boko Haram.
She said they should sit down and map out strategy and plan how to fight Boko Haram and not using propaganda which had not achieved much in the fight, saying that fighting Boko Haram was not the only security problem the nation had.
Ogbedelote said there were cases of robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings which were part of security challenges the nation is facing, stressing that it appeared that the government was helpless in addressing them.
Another lawyer, Barrister Sherry Omobaba noted that there was no much change in the area of security, but added: “we needed to give the government time to address them.”
She said apart from Boko Haram, kidnapping, robbery and other security challenges were prevalent, saying that there was also economic security challenge which government needed to address.
Omobaba said the economic policy of the present administration was questionable as it appeared that the government had no direction in this area which posed challenge to the nation’s security.
She explained that investors would like to know the economic direction of the government so as to know how to invest in the economy, stressing that failure to give economic direction would equally lead to social-economic challenge which would worsen the prevailing security challenge in the country.
Also, Barrister Enang Essien said Buhari is not a miracle worker who would end the security challenge over night.
He said before Buhari took over, the security challenges had been there and that the military was polarized and were unable to confront the challenges, noting that since Buhari took over, he had taken steps to tackle the security challenges, especially Boko Haram.
Essien said Buhari had mobilized the military and set a target of three months which he believed he was working towards achieving, urging Nigerians to be patient and give him time and support to achieve the target.