“I again appeal for the release of the students of Greenfield University & all other citizens held in captivity. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Nigerians live in a country where everyone can move where and when they want—without the fear of kidnapping & banditry.”
The above was tweeted by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 5; 2020. What sort of President “appeals” to terrorists? If they were people who believed in appeals, they would not be terrorists. The fact that they are in their line of crime is unappealing. And when a President is reduced to ‘appealing’ to criminals, then the handshake has gone beyond the elbow and is no longer a handshake.
The fact should now be obvious to all: Buhari has surrendered to terrorists. He is no longer effective. The man is just a seat warmer. Until a real leader occupies that seat, Nigerians should not expect any respite from the terrorists and criminals now making life unbearable for them
When an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, with 248 passengers, was hijacked on June 27, 1976, by terrorists and taken to Entebbe, Uganda, the Israeli government did not appeal to the terrorists or the Ugandan government. They sent a rescue mission 3500 miles to Uganda and rescued the passengers.
If Buhari is saying that he can no longer protect Nigerians (and that is what he did by appealing to the terrorists who abducted the Greenfield University Students to release them) then he is sending a very dangerous message. A person with power does not appeal to the one without power. Buhari’s message is that power has shifted from him to the terrorists.
Whoever advised President Buhari to release that tweet appealing to terrorists has done a great disservice to Nigeria. Not Buhari, because Nigerians and the international community already have lost faith in Buhari, as the British Minister for Africa’s comments reveal.
The disservice is to Nigeria, because we have been stripped naked in public. Nigeria is now like a child who was thoroughly beaten by a neighbourhood bully, and after reporting his travails to his father, watches aghast as his father kneels down to beg the bully. It will be traumatic for that child. For a lifetime.
And this is a pattern that started on May 29, 2015 and has continued to date. Elsewhere, I have said that if incompetence were a country, Buhari would be its capital.He was billed to be the antidote to Nigeria’s insecurity issues, but the man has ended up exacerbating our challenges because of his incompetence.
Look at Boko Haram. Why did he end the contract with the South African mercenaries as soon as he became President? Even the Governor of Borno state, who is his staunch ally, is begging for them to return (they have said they will not return because of the shoddy way they were treated by Buhari).
Nigeria’s armed forces are trained in the British tradition to be a very good conventional army. One of the best, if not the best in sub-Saharan Africa.We have brought peace to Lebanon in the early 80s, and then to Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and the entire Mano River area from the very early 90s onwards.We trained and provided personnel for a string of African nations, and we were highly sought after for international peacekeeping.
However, Nigeria’s armed forces are not well trained to fight a guerrilla war against hardened terrorists who actually believe that they will go to heaven if they die fighting for the cause of their version of Islam.Our forces are also not well prepared to fight and rout out rugged and hardened herdsmen and bandits, who can walk in dark jungles for hundreds of miles, even in the dark.
Needing mercenaries is not a sign of weakness. By dismissing them after they had defeated Boko Haram in just six weeks in 2015 (which allowed the 2015 elections to be held in each of the 774 LGAs of Nigeria).
Buhari set back the war on terror by at least five years. Was it an act of sabotage in solidarity with the terrorists, or incompetence, I prefer to go with the latter.lAnd now, this man, who Tinubu described as the man who will “deliver” Nigeria from insecurity, has indeed fulfilled Tinubu’s prophecy. He has delivered us from insecurity and into a state of war (make no mistake, Nigeria is at war).
So, what would I have done if I were in Buhari’s shoes?
Well, the first thing I would do is work with the Natl Assembly to come up with two legislations. The first one will be making it a crime to pay ransoms to terrorists and abductors under any circumstances. Because where crime does not pay, criminals will not play.
As long as ransoms are being paid, terrorists and bandits will continue to abduct. It is common sense. It is human nature. Where there is an area for growth, there will be expansion. It is the reason why rivers take the path of least resistance.
And the second law would be to make the act of abduction and kidnapping for ransom punishable by death. I admit it is drastic, but desperate illnesses require desperate remedies.
And then I would compulsorily call up every retired military personnel, arm them, and post them to every school in the affected states. I spoke to a former member of Nigeria’s National Security Council, and we have over a 100,000 retired military and policemen. It is doable.
Where would the money come from?
Well, are we not currently spending ₦150 billion annually to maintain less than 500 federal legislators? Did we not budget $500 million to upgrade the Nigerian Television Authority (which is not worth $50 million)? Are we not giving pilgrims to Mecca and Jerusalem concessionary forex rates (something we do not do to genuine businessmen)?
Money is not Nigeria’s problem. Priorities are. No matter how much money you give a man who does not know how to use money, it will never be enough.
And when I have done step one and two, I would insist that our military and law enforcement get the biggest bandit or herdsman involved in abduction, and then have a very public trial to make him a scapegoat as a suitable example for maximum impact.
Once the death penalty has been imposed by a court, the perpetrator will be shot publicly and the shooting televised.That is decisiveness.
Which terrorist, abductor or killer herdsman has been harshly dealt with by the Buhari administration? None.Nobody has been arrested, tried, convicted and executed.
Instead, what we see are repentant Boko Haram members being feted by the government at their grand graduation party. What you see are governors publicly negotiating with terrorists and bandits. What we see is Sheikh Gumi taking selfies with his heavily armed bandits BFFs.
When you glamorise terrorists and bandits to this extent, should Nigeria be surprised that we are now the third most terrorised nation on Earth? I do not think so.
What you feed grows. What you starve dies. The Buhari administration is feeding terrorists, bandits and herdsmen, that is why such criminality is growing. And they are starving the economy by silly, discredited command economic policies, selective border shutdowns, ineffective bans, and monopolies to the well connected. And that is why our economy is dying.
And until we have a change of direction, we are currently on track to being a failed state (God forbid!).
Reverend Mbaka is a member of the Catholic Church. To make disparaging remarks about His Bishop in public devalues the Church he claims to love. He portrays the House of God as a house of disorder. It is not Mbaka’s church. It is Christ’s Assembly.
Even if what he said about the Bishop of Enugu was true, then there is a process. Write the Archbishop. There is order in heaven. The only angelic being that attempted what Father Mbaka is doing was banished from heaven. If Mbaka works at The Vatican, would he also treat Pope Franciscus like this?