In the run up to the 2015 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari, then candidate of the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), played big on the issue of insecurity, accusing sitting President Goodluck Jonathan of being either incompetent or aloof in handling security matters affecting the country.
Boko Haram terrorists were having a field day in the North-East, bombing communities at will, kidnapping innocent women and children, hoisting their flags, claiming Nigerian territories and generally competing with the federal government for control of the North.
Then came the infamous abduction of over 200 school girls from the Government Girls’ Science Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State, and all hell was let loose.
The manner in which the Jonathan administration handled the situation more or less decided its fate
The APC played big on the Chibok girls abduction and convinced Nigerians that Jonathan must go; that he lacked the capacity to handle Nigeria’s security challenges.
Buhari, a retired army General was the man to give the terrorists a bloody nose. He knows the terrain like the back of his palm and had the capacity to return Nigeria to being a peaceful country.
Nigerians bought into the propaganda and believed that Buhari was the man. In the 2015 elections, he won by a landslide and everyone went to sleep, sure that the messiah had come to rescue them from the hands of the insurgents.
However, since coming into power, Buhari has been more of a barking dog than a biting one. He has become synonymous with giving orders to the military to wipe out terrorists rather than take the fight to them like he promised Nigerians. He has also turned an artist in the act of vowing and promising to go after criminals and end the insecurity plaguing the nation.
Under his watch, insecurity has escalated into an epidemic, moving from the North-East to every other part of Nigeria; a new menace has crept in with bandits turning themselves into a nightmare; attacks and kidnappings have become the order of the day and President Buhari has become more of a lame duck than the fighting bull Nigerians expected him to be.
On different occasions, Buhari has given his now famous marching orders to the military forces and other security agents to wipe out, crush, destroy, annihilate and eliminate the terrorists and bandits, but it seems whenever he gives the orders, the insurgents become more daring and ferocious.
His orders have turned out to be empty threats, and his promises of bringing perpetrators of evil acts to book meaningless as attacks are constantly being carried out on innocent citizens with no clear repercussions on the terrorists and bandits.
Here is a timeline of the number of times Buhari has promised to deal with insurgents, criminals and kidnappers in the country.
In April 2019, during a meeting with service chiefs, Buhari gave an order to the military to rout bandits and terrorists in Zamfara State and other states where they were having a field day.
He also charged them to tackle cases of kidnapping and other security challenges across the country.
While addressing the press, then Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin said: “The president gave us a marching order to deal with this issue immediately and ruthlessly and ensure that all those bandits are immediately dealt with and all those issues bordering on our security are properly addressed.”
Attacks, kidnappings and killings in Zamfara State has still not been out at an end!
Two days later, Buhari again gave security agencies another marching order to “smoke out bandits from their various hideouts across the country” and deal with them mercilessly.
Speaking through the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in Katsina State, Buhari said the activities of bandits operating in various parts of the country, especially in the north, was a challenge to the Federal Government.
“You must locate and smoke them out wherever they exist. I want you to take the fight to their abode and smoke them out,” he charged.
This has not happened!
In August 2019, Buhari again mandated the military to wipe out terrorists and bandits in the country.
While addressing service chiefs yet again, he told the military to be “more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits.”
He also ordered them not to spare bandits that have been “killing, kidnapping, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.”
Bandits, terrorists and kidnappers continue to terrorize Nigerians!
In September, 2019, Buhari told Nigerians that Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East had been so degraded that they have resorted to attacking soft targets and operating as bandits killing innocent citizens, but assured that he had once again ordered the security agencies to crush the remnants of the insurgents.
“Boko Haram has been degraded, but its members are still a nuisance around Lake Chad and surrounding islands. That is why we are cooperating with Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and other countries. We are also using the Air Force quite effectively. They are bandits, and we will continue to treat them as such.”
Boko Haram is still a nuisance to Nigeria!
In May, 2020, Buhari again gave an order to the military to crackdown on bandits and kidnappers perpetuating dangerous crimes in Katsina, Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara, and other states in the North.
He specifically told security operatives to wipe out the bandits and terrorists.
“A major proactive operation by Special Forces, which details are being kept secret, is now in progress to replace the reactive strikes against insurgent camps.
“To give a full effect to the exercise, a planning team is already in the state selecting targets and making preparations for the execution of the unprecedented operation,” he said in Katsina State.
the bandits gave the president a bloody nose a few months later when they embarked on a brazen and daring attack defying the presence of the President who was on a private visit to his home state by abducting students from the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara town, less than 100 kilometres to Daura, the President’s hometown.
In November 2020, President Buhari gave another marching order to the Nigerian security forces to make sure terrorists were totally wiped out from the country.
His fresh order came following the killing of over 40 farmers by Boko Haram terrorists in their farms in Borno State.
The victims were reportedly attacked and beheaded by the Boko Haram insurgents in Zabarmari, about 20 km from Maiduguri, the state capital.
While expressing his dismay at the dastardly attack, Buhari said he had given the armed forces “all the needed support to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s population and its territory.”
In February 2021, President Buhari again, assured Nigerians that his government would “continue to deal ruthlessly with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens.”
He said all “criminals are criminals and must be dealt with accordingly without resulting to ethnic profiling.”
The criminals are still terrorizing Nigerians!
In March. 2021, Buhari, yet again, ordered the country’s security chiefs to identify and crush bandits, kidnappers, their local collaborators and sponsors to restore confidence in the society.
He gave the order at a meeting with the security chiefs at the State House, Abuja, shortly before jetting out to London for a medical checkup.
After the meeting, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting, said the president warned that his administration would no longer accept a situation where bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements were dictating the pace in the fight against insecurity in the country while the security agencies remained reactionary.
“Mr President has made it very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that their first assignment will be to identify the leaders of these bandits and kidnappers and take them out in order to restore confidence in those areas.
“Mr President has said that he will no longer tolerate a situation where bandits and kidnappers are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tones and he will not also condone a situation in which our own operations are reaction rather than being proactive,” the NSA said.
Nigeria’s security forces remain reactionary to attacks from bandits, terrorists and kidnappers!
In April, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari issued another threat to the bandits and warned that they were pushing their luck too far by believing his administration lacked the capacity to crush them.
Miffed by the killing of innocent people in Zamfara State by bandits, Buhari warned that “such wanton disregard for life will be brought to an end sooner than later.”
“The insane and persistent violence against innocent people must stop. These criminals should stop pushing their luck too far by believing that the government lacks the capacity to crush them.”
He then gave the military, security and intelligence agencies a mandate to take immediate steps to close all existing gaps in their operations being exploited by criminals to wreak havoc.
“The violence against poor villagers who are struggling with poverty and other severe economic challenges is not going to be tolerated by this administration.
“Let’s not give these criminals any opportunity to succeed by taking the war to their own camps and stop them in their tracks before they even have the time to respond under our massive fire power,” he said.
But the criminals keep pushing their luck under Buhari!
While addressing newsmen at the Presidential Villa, Abuja shortly after observing an Eid-el-Fitri prayer, President Buhari again emphasized that the menace of insecurity in the country would soon be a thing of the past.
Buhari pledged that his administration would deploy every available manpower in dealing with bandits to prevent them from wreaking havoc on farms and food security.
“The law enforcement agencies are working hard to regain confidence against bandits so that we can go back to the land.
“This is very important. This is what the agencies are busy doing right now. We want people to go back to the land so that we can get enough food for the country and even export,” he said.
But farmers in many parts of the country are scared to go to their farms for fear of being attacked!
In June, 2021, Buhari again promised that his government would get “harder on those hellbent on destroying Nigeria.”
He said he had given the armed forces the go ahead to deal with “those bent on destroying his government,” assuring that they will receive the “shock of their lives” as his administration will do everything possible to ensure they fail.
That shock is still being awaited!
After terrorists attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna State, President Buhari vowed to take the battle to the criminals and hunt them down.
Reacting to the attack where two Army officers were killed and two others abducted, Buhari said his he would not rest until the perpetrators are brought to book.
In a statement, Buhari vowed that the terorists who carried out the attack would have consequences that will eventually clean the country of vermin, and emancipate the polity from deliberate, targeted and contrived atrocious acts.
”The attack launched on the facility of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), rather than throw a dampener into the morale of our Armed Forces as it is intended to, will buoy their determination to make a decisive end of criminality in the country.
“The heinous crime will accelerate the total uprooting of evil in the polity, and members of the Armed Forces are solidly resolved to accomplish in the shortest possible time,” he said.
This is yet to be seen!
In a rare interview on January 2022, President Buhari again made another of his routine vows to take the fight to terrorists and bandits and flush them out from the North-West, giving the assurance that his administration was already taking steps to achieve that.
“I think the only language they (criminals) understand – we have discussed it thoroughly with the law enforcement agencies; the security chiefs, the Inspector General of Police – is to go after them; the terrorists.
“We labelled them terrorists, and we are going to deal with them as such,” President Buhari said.
He added that though there have been successes in the fight against banditry in the region, his government was more than determined to do more and flush out the bandits and tackle every form of criminality in the region and the country as a whole.
Early in the year, in February to be precise, Buhari gave Nigerians an assurance that insurgency and acts of terrorism will be over in the North-East in a few months.
President Buhari who made the vow at the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), went on to announc that his administration was embarking on a revised approach to address years of conflict and insurgency in the region and would not relent in efforts towards a return to peace and normalcy.
”At the advent of this administration in 2015, I pledged to Nigerians that I will restore peace in the North-East and return it to the path of development and growth. I remain committed to this promise.
”To the people of the North-East, particularly the children and future of the North-East, we will never forget you and your courage, sacrifice and endurance has been exemplary.
”I pledge to you that in the coming months you will begin to witness a shift away from a protracted insurgency to peace building, stabilization, and ultimately development in your respective communities as we embark on a revised approach to addressing this conflict- A Return to Normalcy,” he said.
In May, 2022, President Buhari admitted he was having sleepless nights over the security situation in parts of the country, but promised to “spare no efforts in dealing decisively and mercilessly with the criminal gangs.”
“Heads of the services, Army, Navy, Air Force, the Inspector-General of Police and so on, are very much aware of the situation. It’s their duty to know where the terrorists are and eliminate them,” he said.
The terrorists have still not been eliminated!
In June 2022, President Buhari decided to tackle those profiting from insecurity in the country by making another vow to deal with them squarely.
While speaking at the passing out parade of the Regular Course 4/2016 Cadets of the Nigeria Police Academy, Wudil in Kano, Buhari said his administration would deal with those profiting from the high level of insecurity in the country.
“We will continue to demonstrate zero tolerance for crime and criminality. Those who take laws into their hands, who bear arms illegally and who seek to profit from a climate of fear and insecurity will be decisively dealt with. That remains our promise to the people of Nigeria, who elected us to keep them safe and secured,” Buhari said in a statement issued on his behalf by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Same month, following an attack by gunmen on the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State where about 40 worshippers were killed and hundreds injured, President Buhari went spiritual and rained curses on the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Describing the killings as heinous and evil, Buhari said “eternal sorrow awaits the perpetrators of the bad act both on earth here, and ultimately in the hereafter.”
“No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light. Nigeria will eventually win,” he added.
The Chief of defense staff, General Lucky Irabor on Tuesday claimed that a number of suspects who took part in that attack had been nabbed.
In July, 2022, President Buhari, again charged Nigerian military officers to “fight terrorists and wipe them off the face of the earth.”
Speaking in Jaji, Kaduna State, during the graduation ceremony of students of the Senior Course 44 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, the President said his administration was more determined to crush and annihilate terrorists and bandits in the country.
“We have witnessed recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria bearing the hallmark of national and trans-border insurgents trying to cause havoc in Nigeria as well as in neighbouring countries.
“It will be part of your duty to confront these terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth and bring peace to our countries,” Buhari told the graduating officers.
Peace still eludes Nigeria, as fear reigns across the land!
President Buhari, yet again, assured Nigerians that his government had given the military the “full freedom” to end the insecurity in the country which he called sheer “madness”.
The latest marching order came on the heels of attacks in Plateau, Kaduna, Imo, and Sokoto States where scores of innocent citizens were killed and abducted in a weekend of bloody orgy by bandits and other criminal gangs.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari, said he had “given security forces full freedom to deal with, and bring to end this madness.”
But the ‘madness’ of insecurity continues unabated with innocents lives being lost!
In the aftermath of the killing of four police officers by gunmen who attacked the Agwa Police Divisional Headquarters in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State,
President Buhari vowed to track down the killers and bring them to justice.
While reacting to the attack, Buhari also urged Nigerians to expose those behind the killings and other violent crimes in the country.
“Those who know should point at specific people who did this.
Buhari who also condemned the killings, said his administration was determined to protect lives and property in the country, and vowed to explore all possible actions in the efforts at fishing out the perpetrators of the “beastly crime.”
But the unknown gunmen still run amok in the east causing chaos and spilling innocent blood under Buhari’s watch, just like bandits/terrorists are having a field day up north, and kidnappers roam the land, because the presidents bark is yet to result in a vicious bite to take out the criminals.
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