SATURDAY THE ALTERNATIVE
By Reno Omokri
When the Chibok Girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, the then opposition All Progressives Congress condemned the Jonathan administration most stridently for not swinging to action immediately and for keeping the public uninformed about the saga.
Most vociferous and cantankerous was a man eponymously named Lai Mohammed, who was then the National Publicity Secretary of the APC.hen the Chibok Girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, the then opposition All Progressives Congress condemned the Jonathan administration most stridently for not swinging to action immediately and for keeping the public uninformed about the saga.
So you can imagine my surprise that a bunch of people who were so critical of others during their time of testing, have now shown the same traits they once criticized in others.
For instance, two full days after Boko Haram abducted almost a hundred girls from Government Girls Science and Technical School, Dapchi, Yobe State, on Monday the 19th of February, 2018, there was no word or communication from any level of the Nigerian government informing the public that such a thing had occurred or what was being done to rescue the girls.
It was only on Wednesday that Nigerians heard from President Muhammadu Buhari via Twitter. But of course, all he did was give his usual platitudes.
But even sadder still is the fact that this incident happened in Dapchi, in Yobe State on Monday, and the very next day, the President was on his merry way to Adamawa for a so-called anti-corruption summit!
Never mind that Transparency International just released its 2017 Corruption Perception Index and unsurprisingly revealed that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has fallen from the 136th position that former President Jonathan improved us to, to 148. We have gone 12 steps backwards, so what was the President going to celebrate in Adamawa? Failure?
But that is not even the worst. Even though the government had not even commented on the kidnap of the girls, the President’s spokesmen were on social media bragging about the ‘mammoth crowd’ that their boss pulled in Adamawa! Can you imagine?
What an insensitive Presidency! They see nothing wrong in celebrating an alleged ‘mammoth crowd’ that received Buhari in Adamawa a day after Boko Haram sacked the town of Dapchi and the whereabouts of its school girls are still uncertain! Celebrating while Dapchi is mourning!
And to think that these are the people that hounded former President Jonathan over his handling of the Chibok Girls saga!
So many questions remain unanswered concerning this incident. After what had happened in Chibok, why were girls left unsecured at a boarding school in a state like Yobe that is vulnerable to Boko Haram?
The administration said Boko Haram had been defeated, so how does a defeated foe move from one state to another state to carry out such a daring raid?
And for good measure, what is the state of security in the North-east? Witnesses to the event said Boko Haram stormed Dapchi in nine vehicles loaded with terrorists in military uniforms. They described some of the vehicles as being fitted with Machine guns.
I have been to Yobe and criss-crossed the state. It is not possible to get from Sambisa to Dapchi without going through the Maiduguri-Bauchi road. So how did the security forces miss these miscreants?
It is all bringing back a sense of déjà vu. This was so preventable. Under former President Jonathan, the Federal Government had advised the Governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states not to keep children in schools like Government Girls Science and Technical School, but to bus them to the state capitals where security forces were better able to protect them.
It happened with the Chibok girls, it did not have to happen again!
And President Buhari ought to be more sensitive in his utterances and behaviour when incidences like these occur. Why should he be traveling all around the country for the benefit of his second term when the nation is falling apart around him?
Herdsmen killed 73 people in Benue and President Buhari travelled to Kaduna and Nasarawa instead.
Bandits killed 41 souls in Zamfara and Buhari travelled to Katsina the next day to pose for pictures with APC Governors.
Boko Haram attacked Dapchi in Yobe and abducted almost a hundred girls and Buhari travelled to Adamawa the next day where the Presidency was boasting about ‘mammoth crowds’!
Isn’t this proof Nigeria is on autopilot?
And the insecurity is spreading! The Emir of Zurmi in Zamfara said 600 terrorists came in 200 bicycles to invade Zurmi. That only 41 people died was due to their vigilante, not the security services. How can 600 men move like that without government knowing? A mini army. Yet Buhari says he is strong on security? Strong my foot!
How can a state be under attack and the men who should lead Nigeria were in Katsina taking photos? As they posed, Nigerians in Zamfara were mourning their husbands, wives, parents and children after armed men stormed Zurmi and killed 36 people. They are taking pictures while Nigeria burns!
So bad was the situation in Zamfara that Abdulaziz Yari, previously a Buhari loyalist, was forced to lament as follows:
“I feel let down facing the people of this state whenever I remember the promise I made to them that when they elect President Muhammadu Buhari into power, these killings will end. But unfortunately, things are now getting worse.”
This is beyond being a PDP or APC loyalist. Death is no respecter of party affiliation.
President Buhari must secure Nigeria as he promised or give way to someone who can.
But beyond that, the President must face the reality that Boko Haram have not been defeated. He is still living in denial and his denial is costing lives.
The Boko Haram that both President Buhari and Buratai claim have been ‘defeated’ have carried out two of their most daring raids ever this week. As I have said before, when Nigeria has truly defeated Boko Haram we will know. These announcements of their ‘defeat’ only ridicule Buhari!
Under President Buhari, Nigeria has defeated Boko Haram many times. In fact we keep defeating them so much that the President requested for an additional $1 billion from the National Assembly to defeat them some more. Iraq that defeated ISIS only once should come learn from us.
And as it stands, I think the President should stop the military from releasing so-called ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members. How can we be releasing these terrorists when their colleagues are still abducting schoolgirls? It beggars belief! How do we know that some of the hundreds of previously released terrorists were not part of the Dapchi schoolgirls’ abduction?
Another batch of 475 Boko Haram members are to be released this week according to reports from the military. In fact, the Federal Government will even spend scarce taxpayer’s funds to ‘rehabilitate’ them! These are hardened killers being released while petty thieves and other non-violent offenders are left in prison! How many repentant IPOB members have been released?
And let me end by saying that it is unbelievable that President Buhari has not sacked the Minister of Defence who publicly justified killings by Fulani Herdsmen! In fact, it makes one begin to wonder if there is collusion. A serous government ought to have sacked Mansur-Ali! He is too biased for that job!
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