By Dirisu Yakubu
For the umpteenth time, the major opposition party in the land, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to accept responsibility for the increasing wave of banditry and sundry crimes across the country.
This is even as the party questioned the capacity of the All Progressives Congress, APC- led government to muster the needed courage to run the terrorists out of town and restore peace in the country.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard, national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan decried what he called the failure of President Buhari to build on the achievements of the PDP-led government in the fight against insurgency, when he took over the reins of power in 2015.
“Before the APC came into power, the insurgents had been engaged and forced to retreat to the fringes. At the approach of the 2015 general elections, no local government was under the control of insurgents. The federal government has been lethargic in the fight against insurgency.
“The inability and incapability of the Presidency to frontally face banditry and other vices is a big problem. The demeanour of President Buhari does not show a man who knows how to handle our beloved country,” he said.
Tracing the worrisome state of security in the past few years to what he described as the inability of the ruling party to leverage on what they met on ground in 2015, the publicity scribe continued: “If the PDP government was in power up till this moment, it would have routed these bandits, terrorists, and criminal elements. I say this because Nigerians will recall that the PDP brought in mercenaries and when the PDP first mooted this idea, El-Rufai (Nasir) led APC to claim that we were bringing in people to come and kill opposition people. The government of PDP ignored that call and brought in mercenaries but as soon as they got into power, they chased them away.
“You will recall also that Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state recently urged the federal government to bring in mercenaries because there is a lack of trust and confidence in the fight against terrorism and banditry. If the mercenaries were allowed to stay, the story would have been different today,” he added.
Coming short of asking those who made a deal with killer bandits to unmask themselves to Nigerians, Mr. Ologbondiyan lamented the trade that banditry has since morphed into, saying “banditry has become a business, a venture where people are making profit. This is beyond Boko Haram now. Do not forget that some of the bandits have made confessions that they were promised some things during elections but since the promises were not fulfilled, they are now out to make their money.”
President Buhari earlier in the week, directed troops to be ruthless against insurgents, bandits and kidnappers; a development many believe is capable of keeping the pressure on the criminal elements.