Expectedly, the Aso Rock Villa was a beehive of activities in the past week.
President Muhammadu Buhari and his team spent most of their time bearing the burden of dealing with Nigeria’s rising security concerns.
While the number one man in Aso Rock digs at the issues, many argue that he may have arrived at his wits end as far as securing lives and properties is concerned.
True, contending with terrorism and banditry have provided the biggest headache but grappling with the economy has also caused worrisome itches. Here’s how last week went down in Aso Rock.
On December 18, President Muhammadu Buhari could not shield his worries over the increasing security challenges in the country, pledging to aggressively tackle them, and saying things will never be the same again come 2021.
The President made public his worries while reacting to the release of the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
He said: “It is our responsibility to secure this country for all the citizens to do their business without any problem. We haven’t achieved that yet, but, we will keep on trying. I’ll continue to be loyal to this country. I have asked for this mandate; I got it. I must not advance any excuse for failing to perform,”
“On the issue of insecurity, I’m extremely worried about it, and I hope next year it will be different,” he added.
In hoping that the year ahead would provide greater succour, Mr President attempts to appeal to the soft side of Nigerians, many of whom have become weary of his other failed promises.
And, the question on the lips of this distraught citizens is why the Buhari-led administration failed to learn from the lessons of the past. There was a Chibok and Dapchi!
So, while it may not be out of place to elicit some emotions, there appears to be no strategic plans to restore confidence in the security status of the country. The tired Service Chiefs are left to roam and intelligence gathering remains awful!
Indeed, the following poser persists:
If we learnt nothing from Chibok and Dapchi, what are the guarantees that the Buhari administration would readily learn from the Kankara incident?
And, what assurances do we have that a great deal of urgency will attend the most recent promise to get things working again? These certainly are not time to just make promises but to follow them through with concrete actions.
Two other talking points
Setting captives free
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night, December 17, restated his administration’s determination to return to safety all citizens being held against their will.
Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the President spoke from his country home, Daura, Katsina State, in welcome of the release of the kidnapped Government Science Secondary School students.
“When we came, we made efforts that yielded the return of the Chibok girls. When a similar incident of school abduction happened at Dapchi, we successfully returned all but one of the more than one hundred abductees. When this latest incident happened, we put in our efforts and today we have this result to show,” he said.
A commitment to restoring order, and matching same with action, is one even the worst of critics would applaud.
This applause is why the promise on the remaining Chibok girls and Dapchi’s Leah Sharibu must be quickly redeemed.
More importantly, there certainly is no joy in having these incidents repeated and the nation made to go through another cycle of pain and trauma for both parents and country.
The Aso Rock team has another great chance to convince weary Nigerians that it can truly live by its promises and commitment to engendering peace and stability.
On border reopening
On December 16, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the recommendation of a committee for the reopening of four land borders with immediate effect, while others will be reopened in due course.
The Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this after a virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC), meeting, said restriction on the importation of some commodities, like rice and other products would continue.
The borders reopened include: Seme in the Southwest, Ilela and Maigatari in the Northwest, and Mfun in the South-south part of the country.
“So, these four land borders will be reopened immediately while the remaining borders are directed to be reopened on or before 31st December, 2020,” Ahmed had said.
With many crying of economic hardship, since August 2019, when the borders were closed, the decision serves as a huge relief.
While it has been argued that the closures were not sustainable in the first place, an important feedback is that the initiative did little to check smuggling and other illicit cross-border activities.
It, therefore, behoves Mr President to re-engineer Nigeria’s border control processes and procedures, as it has become clearly evident that some operatives of the country’s security agencies are active collaborators in sabotaging the economy.
That examples are not made of erring officials could explain the porous state of the borders and losses to the economy.
By John Chukwu…
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