I have a feeling that President Muhammadu Buhari likes to enjoy some spiteful private jokes at the expense of Nigerians. Buhari withdrew into a world of his own as soon as he won the 2015 election. He’s lived in that bubble of self-painted reality far removed from average, normal Nigerians ever since.
He is pursuing a final splurge with reckless abandon and without concern whatsoever for the future of the real Nigerians that gave him the power. Nigeria is on the verge of a Somalia-like outbreak of wars with self-determination groups and emerging warlords ready to slug it out with armed herdsmen who are occupying forests and using the cover provided to perpetrate heinous crimes.
They kill, main, rape, kidnap people, destroy farmlands, build settlements in indigenous forests and are now brazenly claiming “ownership” of Nigeria. It has been documented that the armed herdsmen have grabbed lands in at least 350 communities in the South East geopolitical zone alone. There are 177 communities in Anambra State. The invaders now occupy territories almost equal to two of the five states of the South East. Before 2015, the invaders were only active in Southern Kaduna and Plateau State. Now, they are all over the four geopolitical zones of the South and Middle Belt.
The Global Terrorism Index, GTI, ranks them as fourth most murderous terrorist group in the world, yet the Federal Government has not even recognised them as a security threat, let alone declaring them as terrorists. Instead, it was the agitators for a referendum – the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB – that was declared a terrorist group and proscribed. They were hounded and chased from pillar to post by soldiers.
When you heard about the failure of the Buhari ex-Service Chiefs, it was actually Tukur Buratai that most Nigerians had their eyes on, and of course, the Police. Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar was a great patriot who patronised indigenous manufacturers and technologists in the provision of ordnance and military spare-parts without discrimination. Whatever failure the Air Force under him suffered was basically as a result of inadequacy of the Federal Government. The contributions of Naval Chief, Ekwe Ibok-Ibas, were not clear. Though piracy remained high in the Gulf of Guinea, there was a general calm in terms of militant activities in the Niger Delta. General Gabriel Olonishakin was just a loyal figurehead as Nigerian Chiefs of Defence Staff are meant to be.
Also, on November 24, 2016, Amnesty International, AI, accused soldiers of “firing live ammunition without warning” into a crowd of unarmed Biafra protesters in Aba, killing at least 150, according to facts it garnered from 87 videos, 122 photos and 146 eye witnesses.
We have already mentioned the Buhari government’s open tolerance of the activities of land-grabbing herdsmen from all over Africa, masquerading as pastoralists. Under this regime, they enjoyed an open invitation and untrammelled access to all parts of Nigeria with their assault weapons to kill, maim, kidnap for ransom and occupy lands. There are numerous but unconfirmed stories of “helicopter drops” in the illegal camps established by these terrorists.
The Federal Government comes down hard on any community which dares to confront these so-called “foreigners”. On its own part, government has fought (though unsuccessfully so far) to use “federal might” to grab large swathes of land and water resources all over the country for the benefit of the herdsmen and their livestock (ruga, ranches and cattle colonies) at the expense of indigenous landowners.
The Federal Government describes the situation as “farmers-herders clashes” rather than terrorism. Buhari fights Boko Haram and “Bandits” (or so it seems) as well as peaceful Biafra agitators but protects ethnic terrorists marauding the people and lands of the South and Middle Belt.
We also remember the October 20, 2020 Lekki Toll Gate massacre of unarmed #EndSARS protesters by Buratai’s troops, as well as the alleged execution of six Igbo officers just before Buratai left office recently. The Nigerian Army denied all the foregoing atrocities as “untrue”.
In the last five years, Nigeria’s security woes ballooned from unsolved Boko Haram threats to marauding bandits and herdsmen militia expansionism.