The paramount duty of a government is to protect lives and property of its citizens. So far, the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration has obviously not been able to achieve that. Lives are being lost on a daily basis in Nigeria due to one security challenge or the other.
In the campaigns leading to the 2015 general elections, Buhari identified the need for security and made it one of its major points.
From all indications, one of the major reasons he was elected during the 2015 general election was the need to tackle insecurity in Nigeria, especially in the North East.
His background as a former Army General was considered to be an asset. His no-nonsense posture also counted.
But contrary to expectations, the Buhari administration appears to be overwhelmed by the state of insecurity which was one of the reasons an incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, was sacked to pave way for him.
Very many cases of insecurity have since been recorded.
While many would give kudos to the president for recapturing territories captured by Boko Haram, others would say it was the efforts of the Jonathan administration at the tail end that significantly improved the security situation the North East.
When the 2015 general elections were postponed from February to March, the former president seized the opportunity to deploy more troops to troubled spots in the North East. Some saw it as a way to boost his campaign. At the end, it did him little or no good as it was too late to change the minds of the people.
President Muhammadu Buhari has lessons to learn from how the past administration handled the insecurity in the North East, especially the kidnap of the Chibok girls. It was handled with levity.
Unlike Jonathan’s regime, Buhari is not only faced with Boko Haram, militant groups of the Niger Delta area of the country made life almost unbearable with the bombing of pipelines.
The administration has also been faced with the problem of insecurity following the invasion of some communities by gun-wielding and trigger-happy herdsmen, especially in the North Central.
Kidnapping has also been on the rise.
Apart from the abduction of over 110 girls from Government Girl’s Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram terrorists, there have also been kidnappings across the country carried out by other groups.
Speaking of kidnappings, many would easily recall kidnap kingpin, Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans, who lives in Lagos.
The name Evans needs no introduction as his notoriety made him known by all. For years, he evaded arrests because there was no evidence to nail him. Evans was the leader of what many have termed “the most organised criminal outfit in Nigeria so far.”
Evans, aged 36, who is from Anambra State with the help of his gang, terrorised Lagos residents, especially those in Festac Town area for many years.
However, luck ran out on him when he was arrested by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, led by ACP Abba Kyari at 1.00 p.m. on June 10, 2017 in his residence at Magodo Estate, Lagos.
In Rivers State there was a deadly attack in a church on New Year’s Day and that left 21 worshippers dead.
The New Year celebration turned tragic as gunmen opened fire indiscriminately at people returning from the church in the early hours of January 1 where they had gone to usher in the New Year.
In the North Central and some other northern parts of the country, gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have been attacking villages and killing people.
What was once seen as a clash between Fulani herdsmen and farmers has now snowballed into an invasion.
Herdsmen have been having altercations with farmers for many years, mainly in the North Central geo-political zone of Nigeria. Farmers and herdsmen lost their lives in the clashes. Today, the herdsmen wield sophisticated weapons and have become vicious and savagery in attacking communities.
The worst hit state is Benue. There have been attacks in the state for the past two years. The most publicized happened in January, when over 70 people were killed in two days.
The killings in Benue and the nonchalant attitude of the Buhari administration has strained the relationship between Samuel Ortom, the Benue State governor, and President Muhammadu Buhari who are both members of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
While most Nigerians, including the governor, labelled it an invasion, the Inspector General of Police called it “a communal clash.” That further lent credence to the belief that the president was not ready to take appropriate steps to bring the perpetrators to book because he is also a Fulani man.
Nigerians remember how quickly the president dealt with the uprising of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East by sending the army with the code name “Operation Python Dance” to nip it in the bud. IPOB was proscribed and declared a terrorist organisation. As a result, anyone seen with the flag or openly demonstrating on behalf of the group was dealt with.
Nigerians wondered why the same treatment was not given to the herdsmen who have destroyed lives and properties.
Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, blamed the president for double standards in tackling problems of insecurity.
Soyinka pointed out that the crime said to be committed by IPOB, before they were descended on was nowhere near the devastation caused by herdsmen.
He said: “I am not aware that IPOB came anywhere close to this homicidal propensity and will to dominance before it was declared a terrorist organisation.
“The conduct of the movement, even at its extreme, could by no means be reckoned as terrorism. By contrast, how do we categorise Miyetti?”
For some reasons best known to the president and his handlers, he did not pay a condolence visit to the states where the tragedies happened. Many saw that as insensitivity on the part of Buhari.
However, he has decided to visit some of the affected states after weeks and months after the tragic events, a situation the leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, has described as an afterthought.
Many would also still recall the One Million Boys who terrorised Lagos and some parts of the South West? They came into existence a few years ago. The havoc they caused was on the rise in 2016 due to the high rate of unemployment. Or, so, many of the members claimed. One Millions Boys is a codename of the gang known for its notorious robbery activities around Lagos and neighbouring states.
They raped, robbed and maimed innocent citizens.
In Ikorodu, Lagos State, there was also a cult group called Badoo that unleashed mayhem on the people. Most of its members who were arrested confessed that they joined the group in order to survive as they had no means of livelihood.
The list of criminal activities resulting in loss of lives and property under the Buhari administration appears to be endless.
Although the government has continued to say that it is making efforts to solve the problem of insecurity, not everybody believes it.
As far as many are concerned, the cause of criminal activities is unemployment, and it should be tackled to give the country its required peace.
The position is best put by a security expert and former policeman in England, Adeniyi Lawson.
In an interview with The Next Edition, he said once the problem of unemployment was solved, there would be peace in the country.
His words: “We have to tackle the root cause of insecurity. Some people talk of military might, others say there should be state police. I am in support of state police. But let’s look at it from a deeper perspective. What is the major thing that gives rise to crime? It is unemployment. Hunger! They say a hungry man is an angry man. During elections, it is the unemployed youth that are used to snatch ballot boxes.”
He argued that the hungry man can easily be lured into criminal activities if that would guarantee his next meal.
“It is obvious that most Boko Haram recruits are poor people who had no means of livelihood; those who are ready to do anything to survive. We need to tackle unemployment or else, something worse than Boko Haram and all these other criminal groups will rise. The government of the day should wake up to its responsibilities.”
Although the Buhari administration claims to be creating employment in different ways, it is obvious that it is still performing below expectation if the level of insecurity is used as a yardstick.
According to a data from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, under President Buhari, Nigeria has the worst unemployment figures ever. A total of 7.956 million Nigerians became unemployed between January 2016 and September 30, 2017.
From all indications, it appears, as Lawson has said, the solution to the problem of insecurity for the already overwhelmed Buhari’s administration may not be far from employment creation.
That, it is believed, may bring back the needed peace across the country.