The Presidency said on Thursday the statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari on the country’s security challenge was misconstrued.
Buhari had reportedly said at a forum in Abuja he was taken aback by the new manifestations of insecurity in the North West.
The President’s comment had sparked a controversy in the country, with many Nigerians including the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, asking him to resign over his inability to address the problem.
But, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, said in a statement the President did not claim ignorance of the nation’s security challenges.
President Buhari, according to him, only expressed surprise about the emergence of banditry in the North West, a region “almost homogeneous, made up of Hausa-Fulani and largely Muslim.”
He added that the President is “fully aware” and “in charge” of the situation.
Adesina said: “The reportage of the statement above was slanted to mean that President Buhari said he was unaware of the security challenges in some parts of the country. Far from it, except to the mischievous mind. The President is fully aware and fully in charge of all that is going on.
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“The statement by the President was clear enough, and these are the salient points:
“In 2015, we knew there was Boko Haram insurgency, particularly in the North East, and we mentioned it in our campaigns. There are clear economic and cultural factors behind the clashes that sadly rocked many of our communities, be they the Fulani-Tiv or Fulani-Berom conflict, the Tiv versus Jukun and so on. By now, these conflicts are fairly under control.
“By 2019, banditry had surfaced in the North West. It was surprising, as the area is almost homogeneous, made up of Hausa-Fulanis. The combatants are largely Muslim. This is what the President said he was surprised about.”
He insisted that the President’s point was that insecurity in the country is birthed by “evil plan,” not ethnicity or religion.
He warned that deliberate misrepresentation of the President’s words would hurt the country.
“The point he made was that what is happening in the country is not about ethnicity or religion, it is plainly an evil plan against the nation.
“It is disingenuous that the earlier and latter parts of the statement were downplayed, and the middle part misinterpreted to mean that President Buhari was unaware or surprised by the security situation in the country.
“It is all about our country, and deliberately misrepresenting the President hurts not just the country, but the mischief-makers themselves, ultimately,” Adesina added.