Following a berating editorial by The Economist against President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime, the SSA to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has stated that only Buhari’s regime is taking steps to address terrorism, kidnapping, killer herdsmen and secessionists concurrently.
This is coming after the London-based news magazine had reportedly described Buhari’s government as inept and high-handed, adding that he has also failed to tackle corruption.
In reaction to this, Shehu affirmed, “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 IPOB terrorists in the South-East.”
He also asserted, “The Economist is also accurate to state that they have come to a head under President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, administration. Yet they do so, because for so long, under previous administrations, whether military or democratic, tough decisions have been ducked, and challenges never fully met–with the effect of abetting these dangers and allowing them all to fester and grow.”
He added, “And it is only the Buhari leadership which has sought–ever, in over one hundred years–to identify the root causes of the herder-farmer clashes and find durable solutions.”
He maintained, “In the North, Boko Haram members–many of whom now fight under the breakaway banner of Islamic State’s West Africa Province-have been pushed back. Today, they are cornered and confined along with their ISWAP compatriots in our country’s outermost fringes of the border, unable to spread further.”
He made it known, “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.”
Further, the Presidency said the only government of Nigeria which has ever sought a solution to the centuries-old herder-farmer disputes of the central belt is Buhari’s regime.
Shehu continued that, “The Federal ranches programme, launched shortly after the President’s re-election is the first of its kind–and it is working: during the last 12 months clashes have significantly reduced.”
He restated that, “The government now calls on State governors to have the imagination to join forces with the Federal administration and expand this programme by making available state lands for those interested, now that its effectiveness has been demonstrated.”
Commenting on banditry, the SSA disclosed that, “While this has been simmering for generations, it is the newest of the organized threats Nigeria faces to her stability. But this too the Economist inaccurately described: “bandits” who have the resources and technology to shoot down a military fighter jet are not bandits at all – but rather highly organised crime syndicates with huge resources and weaponry.”