“I want to assure you without mincing words that the Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated, all we are fighting for now is the peace in the northeast” – Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai
The maintenance of national peace and security by the present Administration, though incredibly tasking, has been largely misunderstood. However, taking everything into account, we will begin to appreciate the excellent achievements of the Administration in keeping Nigeria safe and united, despite the odds. On assumption of office, the Buhari Administration inherited a plethora of crisis – the Boko Haram insurgency had raged on for over ten years, the Niger Delta militancy, the Biafran agitation, and the herdsmen/farmers attacks. President Buhari himself aptly noted this reality when he posited that ‘Insecurity and the parlous economy were the challenges (we) inherited at inception.’
In reviewing President Buhari’s deft response to these crises and his unwavering commitment to defending the territorial integrity of the country, it is clear that he has demonstrated profound capabilities in ridding the nation of insurgency and other insecurity challenges. The Administration has taken a multilateral approach in decimating the enemies of the State, a holistic retooling of the starved Armed Forces is ongoing strategically, deployment of full battalion of Special Forces, establishment of the new Order of Battle (OBAT).
As a military strategist who understands the import of gathering intelligence in the fight against counter-insurgency, President Buhari approved the setting up of an intelligence fusion center to serve as an analytic hub to help understand the local implications of national intelligence by tailoring national threat information into local context. The fusion center is in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the insurgency in the North-East. The Buhari Administration is coming with a mix of solutions in this battle, as the President launched a new policy framework and national action plan for the prevention and combat of terrorism in Nigeria.
Fighting insecurity is very complicated and requires deliberate and sustainable winning strategy. The United States which is known for a strong commitment in combating terrorism commits billions of dollars to ensure its national security on one hand and global safety on the other, giving the scheming of agents of destabilization and their secret dealings in harnessing resources to resurface and destabilize the prevailing achieved peace. There is need therefore for maximum wisdom backed with necessary financial support. On that ground, it becomes illogical and futile to start challenging the financial commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in maintaining peace. Nigerians trust that President Buhari will use the funds exclusively to address the insecurity challenges and that same will not be misused, misappropriated or diverted.
Let’s assume the government does not take adequate measure to sustain the achieved security, and the situation degenerates into full-scale lawlessness and anarchy, the critics of the government would turn around to blame the Federal Government for allowing such case that could undermine our corporate existence and national unity. Therefore, the opposition in some quarters to Government’s courageous decision to commit 1 billion dollars to fight insecurity is both unhelpful and unwarranted. It is also unpatriotic and self-serving. Do the critics care for this country or do they simply want to hear their own voice. This is one criticism beyond reason and commonsense. Government’s intentions have been made clear ab initio. Moreover, the Vice President specified in his address during the National Security Summit of the National Economic Council that the 1 billion dollar vote for security was rationally allocated to contain various security challenges in different parts of the country. In essence, these dedicated funds will also be used to tackle the militancy in the Niger Delta, herdsmen crisis in the North, kidnapping in the East, Boko-Haram and many others.
Therefore, the criticism is a mere distraction which the government needs to ignore and instead vigorously pursue its popular agenda of securing Nigeria. This Administration received an overwhelming, nationwide electoral mandate and therefore has both a constitutional and moral duty to keep the country safe and secure. If it requests for funds to achieve this goal, it goes without saying that it is acting appropriately and deserves everyone support.
The government of President Buhari is not only appreciated internally for responding responsibly and efficiently to national insecurity, but the international community continues to recognize its commitments to maintaining regional and global peace and security. It is no surprise that the Administration enjoys the support and respect of the governments of the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and Pakistan.
Once again, the support and goodwill of the international community vindicates the present Administration in its fight against insecurity. Nigerians certainly feel safer under President Buhari because they consider him strong-willed and capable of confronting the numerous security challenges faced by the country. As a democratically elected government which respects people’s right to an opinion, the Buhari Administration employs a mix of persuasive force and diplomacy in responding to security situations, depending on their nature. That was what was lacking in the immediate past Administration which consequently compounded the fight against the insurgency.
The critics should, therefore, reexamine their position and join the government in ensuring that peace and security are achieved for Nigeria to forge ahead as the mouthpiece of Africa in the global context.
* Akanji is a political strategist and writes from Abuja.