On Thursday, at different fora, Pres. Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo spoke about the insecurity crisis in the country due to the clashes in the Middle Belt.
Osinbajo spoke during a summit on national security organised by the senate, while Buhari spoke when he granted audience to the Catholic Bishops Conference.
1. Osinbajo: “The saying sometimes that because the President is Fulani he has ignored the killings by herdsmen is both untrue and unfair.”
2. Osinbajo: “In any event, the herdsmen and farmer clashes resulting in deaths had been with us for at least two decades and I have been working with him for three years now and I do not know any other issue that has given him more concern or on which he has spent more time than this particular issue?”
Well, we can all agree that Pres. Buhari’s purported concern has clearly not been enough.
3. Osinbajo: “Government fails in that responsibility often, but, I must say, never deliberately. Every killing diminishes us as people; every killing undermines the authority of the state… The security forces have performed creditably – given the resources available to them. In some of the worst cases, they simply were not there on time.”
Confusing paradox: They have performed well, but they were not there on time?
4. Osinbajo: “What then is being done. The approach of the government has been to deploy more mobile police force to flash points and also, both the Army and Air Force. The Nigeria Army units in Benue State, for example, have consistently maintained Forward Operating Bases at the flash areas in Guma, Logo, Katsina Alla and Agatu LGAs. The operation has a genetic name, Operation Zenda. The Army has in the last few days scaled up its personnel and equipment in Agatu, Guma, Katsina Alla and Logo LGAs . The Army has also recently deployed troops to Awe and Tunga LGAs of Nasarawa State in order to monitor and block the gaps in areas believed to have been used as flash points by armed herdsmen to attack communities in Benue State.”
5. Buhari: ‘‘The impression created that I was sitting in an air-conditioned office and home, enjoying myself while these things happened, is dishonest. At every step, I have tried to foresee these problems because I have the experience as a former military officer who commanded three out of the four divisions of the Nigerian army, in Lagos, Ibadan and Jos. I am quite aware of the problems we have and I am doing my best to get law enforcement agencies to be on alert,’’
What Buhari fails to get is that the times Nigerians reference the fact that he sits pretty at the villa is that he fails to show empathy to the victims. The very least a president could do when a state is faced with a tragedy of that magnitude is to visit personally and commiserate with them. Buhari has failed at this and continues to fail till this day. Also, his top security officials continue to take sides with the herdsmen in the crisis despite the bloodshed they meted.
6. Buhari: “The intention of government is to create grazing locations for cattle rearers, which has now been misconstrued as another form of colonization.” According to a statement, “President Buhari regretted that the well-thought out policy of the Federal Government, which was conceived after wide consultations with stakeholders, had been largely misunderstood by a section of the public.”
7. Buhari also condemned the recent spate of killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Zamfara states. He said security operatives would ensure prosecution of perpetrators and all those found with illegal arms in the affected areas.