By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Presidency last night responded to what it described as “Economist’s flawed anti-Nigeria cover,” saying that insecurity has festered because past leaders lacked the courage to tackle existential threats to the country.
The Presidency also said that the resilience and fortitude of patriotic Nigerians would see the nation through the difficult times.
These were contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja.
The statement read: “The Economist is correct: Nigeria faces four key threats to the stability and prosperity of the nation, namely: ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East; kidnapping and crime in the North-West; herder-farmer disputes in the central belt; and the delusions of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, terrorists in the South-East.
“The Economist is also accurate to state that they have come to a head under President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, administration.
“Yet they do so, because for so long, under previous administrations, whether military or democratic, tough decisions had been ducked, and challenges never fully met with the effect of abetting these dangers and allowing them all to fester and grow.
“Today, all four threats are being fought concurrently and it is only this President’s administration which has finally had the will and determination to confront them.
“The Buhari administration has sought to push back terrorism which has been a threat for more than two decades since the first emergence of Boko Haram.
“It is only the Buhari administration that has now sought to intervene against the kidnapping and banditry that has been a simmering threat for far longer.”
“It is only this President’s government which has taken on IPOB, the violent terrorist group which bombs police stations and offices of security agencies, while also threatening those who break their Monday-sit-ins whilst claiming the mantle of forebears who half a century ago fought a civil war.
“And it is only the Buhari leadership which has sought – ever, in over 100 years – to identify the root causes of the herder-farmer clashes and find durable solutions.
“The forms may have altered, and the threats posed by each may have waxed and waned, but what has been constant is that administration after administration since independence – whether military or democratic – none sought to fully address these threats to Nigeria as President Buhari’s government does now.
“Today, the military is engaged in almost all the states of Nigeria because the President has insisted upon addressing these decade-after-decade-long issues during his time in office.
“In the North, Boko Haram members many of whom now fight under the breakaway banner of Islamic State’s West Africa Province, ISWAP, have been pushed back.
“At the start of the President’s tenure, Boko Haram was launching attacks across the majority of the country, including in southern states and Lagos.
“Today they are cornered and confined along with their ISWAP compatriots in our country’s outermost fringes of the border, unable to spread further.
“In the South-East, IPOB, which the Economist rightly describes as “delusional,”- the arrest and present trial of the terrorist leader of the group is the beginning of its demise.
“The President’s administration is redoubling efforts to have IPOB rightfully designated as a terrorist group by our allies outside of Nigeria, an act which will collapse their ability to transact gains from crime and extortion in foreign currencies.
“It is important to remind The Economist and the global media that this group’s aggression and widespread presence on social media does not reflect their public support, for which they have none.
“All elected governors, all elected politicians and all elected state assemblies in the South-East, which IPOB claim to be part of their fantasy kingdom, reject them completely.”