Buhari, Boko Haram and Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity

Muhammadu Buhari

Chido Nwangwu writes that President Muhammadu Buhari may have failed in his foremost duty of securing the safety of Nigerians

On Wednesday, August 5, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, to all intents, conceded that his government fell short of what Nigerians deserved in the critical arena of security. I commend Buhari’s honest admission and dedicated willingness to reposition in order to tackle the high level of insecurity in Nigeria.

The President’s foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation is to the national interest, the security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in it.
He had a meeting with security chiefs in the country, where he promised a complete re-engineering of the security architecture.

Essentially, the president was moving beyond the extraordinary distortion of reality and lies regarding Borno and the bloodied northeastern section.

At the heart of the farrago of falsehoods is/was the claim that Boko Haram and similar terrorist gangs had been completely defeated or subjugated!

But Nigerians knew they were being misled by the presumptive, puritanical government of Saint Buhari on their war against Boko Haram. Alas, this, one of my favorite quotes is perfect: `”The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them,” wrote Elena Getorokhova in ‘A Mountain of Crumbs.’

Like Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the President he succeeded, Gen. Buhari’s failure to secure the borders of Nigeria has come with a steep consequence. It is still making it possible for vagrants and killers to wander back and forth Nigeria for episodic visitations of medieval and chilling violence — especially beheadings of men and women. And, there are the herdsmen; the Fulani and the non-Fulani.

On Sunday night January 11, 2015, CNN International called me to provide some insights for a live interview on the Boko Haram menace and killings, especially at Baga. The bloodied Borno city of Baga. I did.

To understand the level of impunity and violation of the national security of Nigeria by the violent, terrorist radical Islamic group Boko Haram, you have to know about their horrendous massacre of more than 2,000 persons of all ages and gender in Baga. Baga is near Lake Chad and had not been conquered by Boko until Friday January 9, 2015. Boko overwhelmed both the local vigilantes and Nigeria’s armed forces near and into Baga . . . blood flowed like a river….

In August 2020, Baga is a shadow of itself;
assaulted, raped, mangled. Baga, these days, is a city arrested by fear. Baga is/was emblematic of how Boko Haram’s vicious clout stretched from one government to another — even as the governments declared Boko vanquished!

Baga and many parts of the former Kanem Bornu empire inside Nigeria are manifestations of how Boko Haram and its allied foot soldiers of terrorism turned former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Nigeria and President Buhari’s Nigeria, with brazen impunity, into what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. Borno and nearby areas have remained Boko violent playgrounds, the capital territory of their medieval Caliphate. We cannot have two Commanders-in-Chief in one country! No.

The evidences of territorial impunity are many. For having the will and courage to resist the repeated onslaught of the Boko Haram, Baga has been used, hideously, to teach other towns/villages around Borno and Yobe who refuse and resist going under the dark banner of Boko Haram that Nigeria’s armed forces remain, embarrassingly, incapable of protecting all Nigerians within its borders.

Let me also note key comments from Nigeria‘s National Security Adviser, retired Major General Babagana Monguno, who briefed State House correspondents at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after the August 4, 2020 meeting that “We must bear in mind that we owe a duty to the people that elected this government and at the end of the day, without securing the nation, all other things, such as revamping the economy and fighting corruption cannot be addressed.”

Logically, therefore, a recurring concern for Americans and the international communities remains: are we safe investing to do business in most parts of Nigeria?

For Nigerians, they wonder why exercising democratic rights, ethnic and federalist verbal aspirations are criminalized as treason? When shall we see such security which guarantees all Muslims, Christians and other believers to chant or say their quiet prayers in Maiduguri, southern Kaduna, Damaturu, Yobe or Jos?

Or for that matter, why does the peaceful intimation of nationalists in Aba bring out the punitive, brutal efficiency of the Nigerian security apparati? Curiously, the same government of Buhari is proudly showcasing its launch of a “rehabilitation” and “reintegration” scheme for “ex” Boko members as a high mark of its security achievements.