Banditry in the Northern and central states is one security challenge that has continued to make life tough and rough for President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the past few months, the President had had to grapple with the issues of students’ abductions, killings, maiming, raping, and wanton destruction of property by bandits.
This is amidst the several security efforts he had deployed, including the change of Service Chiefs, in order to arrest the pitiable security situation.
As Buhari is wont to do, he, once again, last week, issued a stern order to security agencies targeted at terminating the bandits.
This, and other interesting stories kept the Aso Rock news mill alive and thriving.
Shooting to kill
On March 3, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the President had directed security agencies to use lethal force on bandits.
Shehu, during an interview with BBC Hausa Services, said: “The President has ordered security forces to go into the bushes and shoot whoever they see with sophisticated weapons like AK-47”.
Buhari’s shoot-at-sight order demonstrates the high level of desperation that has consumed his administration in the quest to protect the citizenry from the marauding bandits. It reflects his helplessness, tiredness, and possible lack of further ideas/strategy on how best to contain the nefarious activities of the bandits, making mockery of his security efforts.
Constitutionally, Buhari’s order, no doubt, is an aberration, as the law frowns at extra judicial killings. Indeed, no one deserves to be shot dead unless tried and sentenced by the courts.
But Buhari’s seeming helplessness and desperation has been appreciated by some others who argue that the reign of outlaws is one that must be contained by any means given the resort of the perpetrators to terrorists acts.
All said, the presidential shoot-at-sight order on anyone bearing an unlicensed AK-47 is probably bound to fail because of concerns over abuse of power and a feared descent into anarchy.
Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, Mr. President, perhaps, deserves some pity. But this is where it ends. The buck stops on his table and he must live with the responsibility of his action or inaction.
Perhaps, it is time for the Buhari-led government to consider the ever-growing clamour for legalisation of firearms just as citizens lose confidence in the ability of government to protect them.
Two other talking points
Securing Nigeria’s borders
President Buhari, on March 4, directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to improve surveillance and control around the country’s borders, and ensure they are safe from criminals.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari’s directive came while speaking at the virtual Commissioning Ceremony of the NIS Technology Building.
“As a security agency, I charge you to be relentless in carrying out your statutory duties of keeping our borders safe while you ensure that criminal elements don’t find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminality.”
Buhari’s directive re-echoes the troublesome concerns over the country’s porous borders and the debilitating effects on national security.
Various claims by even government officials that criminal herdsmen perpetrating evil in the country are not from Nigeria reflect how terribly the country has sunk in the management of its sovereign borders.
Indeed, it is disheartening that even after the borders were closed for more than a year, the reports of the invasion of criminal elements into country persists.
It would be productive, therefore, for the President to continue to undertake critical reviews of the operations, and workings of the border management system.
Weeding out the bad eggs in NIS who sabotage the efforts of the Federal Government may just be one of the ways to contain the raging crisis.
Our non-negotiable unity
On March 4, President Muhammadu declared that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, said this while speaking to journalists after he briefed him on the suspension of strike and supply of foodstuffs and cattle to the South by the Amalgamated Union of Food and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AFUCDN).
“Mr. President expressed concern over insecurity in the land. As the Commander-in-Chief, he assured that Nigeria will be secured, safe and prosperous. He urged Nigerians to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation and that the country’s unity is non-negotiable, that Nigeria must be united, peaceful and prosperous,” Bello said.
Bello’s claims is one of the several politically correct statements credited to President by his aides or acolytes.
Whether Buhari truly authored this may not be in doubt, and this is because he had been quoted as saying such in the past.
What, however, becomes a thing of great worry is his disposition to nepotistic tendencies as he had been alleged to be causing divisions among Nigerians, especially through lopsided appointments to public offices.
The time for Buhari and his acolytes to quit the lane of mere political talks is now.
By John Chukwu…
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