By Yemi Adebowale; email@example.com; 07013940521
President Muhammadu Buhari’s remarks on Tuesday that his critics were using “isolated incidents” of killings to assess his administration left me shattered. His addition that such cases were being politicised is preposterous and clearly shows that our President is unperturbed by the raging insecurity in this country. While receiving the National Executive members of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Buhari stated further that those criticising his administration’s handling of the insecurity in the country were not “patriotic Nigerians.”
If our President is truly interested in tackling the unprecedented killings in Nigeria, the first step is to face the reality that we are facing a grave situation. This is the fact Buhari and his cohorts are running away from. In fact, if there is anybody playing politics with the raging killings and insecurity in Nigeria, it is our President. Scores of Nigerians are killed daily by bandits, killer herders, kidnappers and Boko Haram. This is the reality and Buhari should be persistently bashed for these deaths. These are not “isolated incidents.” Let me quickly remind Buhari that on May 1, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, presented a gruesome security report during the quarterly Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council meeting in Kaduna State.
According to official records, Adamu said 1,071 persons lost their lives in crime-related cases across the country within three months in 2019. This is real. There is nothing to play politics with here. We are talking about human lives. The IGP said the crime statistics further showed that between January and April, at least 685 persons were kidnapped across the country. He said 767 of the persons killed were in the North. Giving a further breakdown of the deaths, Adamu said the North-West topped the death list with 436; North-Central came second with 250; while the South-South geopolitical zone recorded 130 deaths during the period under review. He added that Zamfara State with 203 murder cases topped the national prevalence rate, Kaduna State followed closely with 112 reported cases while 90 people were killed in Benue State.
According to him, most of the murder cases recorded in the North are linked to banditry and communal violence. In relation to banditry, he said, a total of 175 deaths were reported between January and April this year with Zamfara State topping the list with 104 reported cases, followed by Katsina State with 21 killed by bandits and Sokoto State with 19 cases.
On kidnappings, the IGP said 546 or 79.8 per cent of the national total were recorded in the three northern geopolitical zones. He said the highest zonal prevalence rate occurred in the North-West where 365 persons were reportedly kidnapped within the period under review.
“This is followed by the North-Central geopolitical zone where 145 persons were kidnapped. It is pertinent to mention that Zamfara State has the highest national kidnap rate with 281 victims in what has been directly linked to the activities of bandits in the state. This is followed by Kogi and Niger states where 65 and 51 persons, respectively were kidnapped within the period,” the IG added.
I have taken the pain to reproduce this official report to punch holes in the assertion by Mr. President that some people are playing politics with “isolated incidents”. The killings are wide spread and real. I wonder if the IG is also playing politics with this report.
In the last four years, cases of killings pour. Just on Wednesday, bandits attacked some villages in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto State, killing 20 people. Also during the week, a Colonel and 20 soldiers were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram, in Yobe State while another Colonel and six others, including a Captain, were killed in Borno State by the same Boko Haram. The latest attacks in Borno and Yobe states bring to 52, the number of soldiers killed within two months of this year by the combined forces of the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram.
On Thursday, gunmen killed two soldiers and abducted an expatriate at a road construction site in Ukanafun Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
Few days back, three herdsmen suspected to be the killers of a 40-year-old farmer, Rafiu Sowemimo in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State were arrested by police. The suspects allegedly stabbed the farmer to death at Adao Village in Alabata in the LG.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the arrest of the suspected murderers and named them as Muhammed Adamu, Saliu Ismail and Saliu Adam.
Last Sunday, the Zamfara Director of Budget, Hamza Salihu was abducted near Kachia in Kaduna State. One other official of Zamfara State, the Deputy Director of Budget, Kabiru Ismail, was murdered by the gunmen at the kidnap scene. Similarly, a lady passenger in the vehicle was shot in the leg and abandoned at the kidnap scene. These are realities. No politics here.
Buhari also remarked on Tuesday that his government had made significant progress in the fight against terrorism. Haba! For how long will this government continue to deceive itself? Let’s quickly flip to the latest report of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on troubled Borno State. Unlike the slanted report our president has been getting on the situation in the war front, this report presents the facts and figures as it is. The long and the short of the UNICEF report is that the terrorists control a large portion of Nigerian territory, contrary to the persistent report of the military to Buhari.
This daring report titled, “Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs”, echoes the reality that several communities in Borno State are controlled by Boko Haram. It avers that four local government areas are completely inaccessible for humanitarian assistance as a result of activities of the terrorists. The UN agency said attacks and armed clashes remained consistently high across the state, thus hampering its efforts to reach women and children in need of urgent help.
Yes, Marte, Abadam, Guzamala, and Kukawa local government areas of the state are controlled by the terrorists. This is why aid workers can’t step into them. Also, Kala Balge and Mobbar LGs are 80 per cent controlled by the terrorists. Civil authority has broken down in these LGs. No police, no military, no Nigerian government in these areas. Boko Haram administers these places.
Nigeria is facing a security mess. This is the truth that must be told. This is why the United Kingdom gave a warning to its citizens not to travel to many Nigerian states.
The British Government warned against all but essential travel to: Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi and within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States, non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia States.
It added: “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks occur in the northeast, particularly in Borno (including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns and along the Niger border, including in Damasak, Yobe, including the eastern LGAs bordering Borno State both north and south of the Damaturu road), and Adamawa States.”
The former secretary-general of Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, was apt when he told President Buhari to stop living in denial over the spate of insecurity in the country, insisting that Nigeria is on the brink of a national disaster.
“We see an unprecedented diminution of national unity; we see an unprecedented level of insecurity of life and property with kidnappings and killings of human beings occurring virtually every day in many parts of the country including the seemingly unchecked violence by Fulani herdsmen which has spawned fractious controversies over the proposed Ruga policy by the federal government,” said Anyaoku.
Anyaoku spoke objectively. I urge Buhari to take responsibility and act very fast on the raging killings and insecurity in this country. He is obviously playing politics with this calamity. This is not the time for politics.
Governor Makinde and His Billions
The assets made public on Monday by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State are intimidating. Details of cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties, household items, shares and bonds owed by the governor and his companies should be close to N50 billion.
Let’s run through some of the declarations: Cash at hand and in the bank (Naira) = N234, 742,296.01; Cash in US Dollars = $30,056; Properties in Naira = N2, 624,800,500; Properties in US Dollar = $4,400,000; Properties in South African Rands = 4,457,554 Rands.
The current value of Makinde’s companies stands at N48, 150,736,889 with 33, 730,000 units of shares as at May 28, 2019. The Governor also has bonds (Eurobond) worth $3, 793, 500, as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000. The houses declared by the Governor included nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.
This governor is clearly richer than the state he governs. By the time he pays salaries from the state’s share of federal revenue and IGR, I am sure that what would be left in Oyo state’s coffers will be two per cent of his declared asset.
I am not begrudging Makinde for his billions of Naira. I also sincerely hope that it is not anticipatory declaration. My plea to Makinde today is to use the bulk of these personal fortunes for the development of the state he claims to love so much. With this, he would stand out. Makinde, do something remarkably different with your treasures. Oyo State is in a mess. It has suffered for years in the hands of coldblooded governors. These wicked politicians raped and looted Oyo State, leaving it in shreds. Just visit any public health institution or school and you will weep for Oyo State. Roads are also in tatters while civil servants struggle for salaries. Makinde should use some of these billions to turn around public schools and health institutions in this dilapidated state. For me, this is the only way to show that he truly cares about the state and his people.
Willy Obiano’s US Jamboree
Most of our state governors are always running abroad in search of foreign investors. They waste huge public funds in pursuit of imaginary investors. Nothing happens at the end of the day. Willie Obiano of Anambra recently embarked on such frivolous trips. He needs to tell us the number of foreign investors and foreign aids he has attracted to his state in the last five years. Just two weeks ago, Obiano was on a so-called business visit to the City of Orange in New Jersey, with some party and government officials.
With Obiano were the National Chairman of his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Victor Oye; the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Anali Chude; the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Uche Okafor; the Managing Director, Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency, Jide Ikeako; Obiano’s wife, Ebelechukwu; his Chief of Staff, Primus Odili, and his Chief Press Secretary, James Eze. It was manifestly a carnival.
Obiano said: “We are here to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayor of the City of Orange in New Jersey who gladly invited me over for this ceremony. Among the things we will be discussing are mutual assistance in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, power in various forms, and firefighting. Anambra state is growing and we are getting high-rise buildings springing up here and there; we need to develop the capacity to fight fire of that sort.”
Now, Mr. Obiano, there are so many home based Nigerian investors capable of doing all you ran to the United States for, but they lack encouragement. There are so many indigenes of the state capable of assisting in the areas of education, health, infrastructure and power in various forms, without you running to the United States. All they need is encouragement. Do you have to run all the way to the United States before you can build capacity for firefighting in high-rise buildings in your state? Your US jamboree amounts to a waste of public funds. This deceit must end.