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OPINION: How does Buhari sleep?



OPINION: Buhari’s presidency at Nigeria’s expense [1]

OBADIAH Ibrahim was a Nigerian citizen. He probably had plans for 2023. We certainly did not have Ibrahim in mind when we wrote last week about the last Christmas for some Nigerians – governments, corporations, institutions and individuals. Citizen Ibrahim did not actually live to witness that last Christmas last weekend. He was kidnapped and killed in Kaduna. The same Kaduna state whose governor, Nasir el-Rufai, was shamelessly nominated at Chattam House in London recently by the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress [APC] political party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to speak to how they planned to secure Nigeria and Nigerians if their party wins the presidential election next month. In the scheme of things in our country, Citizen Obadiah Ibrahim did not exist outside the narrow confines of his family, friends, community and workplace colleagues. His death is another mere statistic. It would not matter that he was yet another victim of kidnappers and murderers in Kaduna, the famous crocodile city that now devours its own. Ibrahim’s kidnap and murder was not unique but it was troubling. And to think that his death happened about the same period that Governor el-Rufai was busy masturbating in the United Kingdom. Above all it represented in a poignant manner the legacy that the President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has been advocating should be built upon by his successor from next June.

The kidnap and gruesome murder of Ibrahim bears recounting as told by a relation. The summary was that Ibrahim was kidnapped in Kaduna early in December 2022. A ransom of N3million was paid to the kidnappers. But the kidnappers were not satisfied. They demanded for other valuables including mobile telephones recharge cards which were duly delivered to them. Still not enough. They killed Ibrahim and then demanded that his family paid N10million to retrieve his remains. Obadiah’s younger brother related the story to a reporter only after extracting a promise from the interviewer that his [Kefas’ picture] would never be used to illustrate the story because he feared for his own life. He said: “In the beginning, there were lots of inconsistencies. They said my brother was kidnapped while coming from Abuja. That was not true. My brother worked with a company that is servicing GSM masts. And their coverage is from Kaduna to Jere and Kubacha. They used to service the masts monthly. On their way coming [on that fateful day], they branched at one of the masts at Sabon Gaya here in Kaduna. That was the place they were kidnapped and taken to the bush.

“After the kidnap, the bandits started calling. They called my younger brother who is a lawyer. They asked him if he knew his brother was with them. My brother said yes and asked what were we going to do? They said it was a money issue. They spoke Hausa but their Hausa was Fulani Hausa. My brother told them we didn’t have money. They insulted him and turned off the phone… We were not the ones negotiating with them. There was a negotiator. It was only once that they called my brother. They also called one of his colleagues in his office. He recorded their

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conversation. Any time they called him he would record them. Sometimes he narrated the conversations. There were also periods they played them for us to listen to. Sometimes they gave my brother the phone to speak with us. He pleaded with us to look for means of getting money… They initially demanded N200 million. We told them we didn’t have money. They came down to N5 million. From N5 million they asked us how much we had. We negotiated and told them we had N3,120,000. After some days they told us we should bring the money to them. They also asked for recharge cards of N50,000 [of two service providers]. We sent the money and the cards…”

The story of the gory negotiations was long and tortuous. Sometimes negotiations were face-to-face and at other times through the telephone, the same GSM that we are mandatorily required to register and our biometrics taken by the government. the same telephone lines were, and still are, being freely used by bandits for weeks to extract ransom from families of kidnap victims. But back to the excerpts of the gory story and the legacy of Buhari. Next the kidnappers demanded for three motorcycles the type used by Boko Haram or irin na Boko Haram. The family managed to procure one for N800,000. “They promised they were going to release my brother the next day. The next day we didn’t get them on phone. The second day we didn’t get them. The third day they told us they’d gone for their ’sana’a’ [work]. They promised to release him when they came back. That was on a Wednesday. On Thursday morning they told us he was dead. We said ok, how can we get the corpse? They said we should give them N10 million. They said they could not work for us for free…. They even swore saying ‘Allah za mu kawo shi’ [we swear to Allah to bring the corpse]”. So that was how Obadiah’s family lost him, lost N3 million, ‘invested’ N50,000 phone recharge cards, N800,000 Boko Haram spec motorcycle [the brand name was given] and suffered emotional trauma but still came out empty-handed. This is one picture of a country which Buhari brags that he had delivered on his promise to secure us. This is the state of the state where its governor was playing the role of a surrogate for a presidential candidate on how they would provide security on a national scale. Hubris must have a different meaning.

Beyond the disgraceful picture of Buhari relaxing on a sofa and picking his teeth ostensibly after a banquet off poor people’s money as was said of his wife, Aisha, [for which she took umbrage and ordered that a student be jailed] and the notoriety of inspiring a course of study in a foreign university on how not to govern a country, the president still sleeps at night where the minimum wage is N30,000 and a medium-sized chicken was sold for N10,000 this past Christmas and New Year celebrations; about 133,000,000 Nigerians are reported poor in various dimensions; unemployment is unforgiving; inflationary pressure is relentless; insecurity as reflected by the story of Citizen Obadiah above is pervading; industrial scale theft of our crude oil at the wellhead is rife; domestic and external debts are suffocating the country; a central bank governor sought to become the President of Nigeria while still in office; that same central bank governor has gone missing to evade arrest by the secret police on allegations that he was financing terrorists; where alleged funders of terrorism in Nigeria could not be named and prosecuted even after a Gulf country had given us the list of the suspects; and where in-your-face corruption is the order of the day. It speaks to the contempt in which Buhari holds Nigerians that on the eve of

his departure from office which, he had treated as a trophy, he goes about town assaulting benighted Nigerians of how he has delivered on ALL his campaign promises of battling insecurity, fighting corruption and growing the economy. If he stopped at saying that he had done his best in the almost eight years he has been in office, we can live with that in realization that his best has been a disaster. But to say that he has thus far taken us to a better than from where he took us is grossly insensitive and egregious. Buhari’s regime is an affliction. And he knows it, his living in denial notwithstanding.

AUTHOR:Ugo Onuoha

Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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