THE Muhammadu Buhari administration, and of course the people of Nigeria, are very fortunate that our traditional strategic partners (Britain and the USA) are now ready to assist us in tackling our multifrontal insecurity challenges.
Seven years ago, when the Goodluck Jonathan government sought help to tackle our insecurity which was only active in the North East, the West not only spurned our request, but they also frustrated efforts to procure arms through informal channels. They also refused to play active roles in the efforts to rescue the abducted Chibok schoolgirls but rather amplified the negative propaganda this imposed on the regime, thus making it easier for Jonathan to lose the 2015 elections.
Since 2015, the Islamic State in the West Africa Province, ISWAP, has joined Boko Haram in maintaining the jihadists’ terrorist hold in the North East. Also in the North West, terrorists which Muhammadu Buhari government calls “Bandits”, have morphed from cattle rustlers to massacring, abducting for ransom, forcibly converting Christians to Islam and making life hell for people in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger States.
Also, armed herdsmen have established camps in all states of the South, killing farmers, destroying their farms, kidnapping for ransom and claiming ownership of the ancestral lands of indigenous people.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, in April 2021 admitted the insecurity situation in Nigeria has become complex and announced Britain’s offer to help. Also, the US Embassy’s Charge D’Affaires, Kathleen Fitzgibbon, said the arrival of American warplanes ordered by Nigeria is a sign the US wants to help.
Where the Federal Government has deployed the security forces against Boko Haram and the so-called “Bandits”, the Fulani militant herdsmen have been allowed a free rein to terrorise the Middle Belt and South unchecked. The people are unprotected from them.
It was in an attempt to resist the reign of terror by criminal herdsmen that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Chief Sunday Igboho, the promoter of Yoruba Nation, took initiatives which have landed them in government custodies to face trial.
We welcome the arrival of six of the 12 light attack Super Tucano planes which the Buhari regime purchased from the US. We also warmly receive the offer of assistance by the US and UK governments.
This is a very comforting engagement because it raises the hope that the double-standards with which the Buhari government has approached our war against insecurity will be curbed. We call on the US to insist that these sophisticated weapons be committed strictly against genuine terrorists rather than targeting people agitating for the safety of their people from unprovoked “herdsmen” militants.