President Muhammadu Buhari has laid the blame of Boko Haram attacks on leaders of Borno communities saying the insurgents would not have a field day if the local leaders do not permit them.
The president stated this yesterday in Maiduguri while responding to comments made by the state governor, Prof. or Babagana Zulum and the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Gabai on festering insurgency in the state.
Buhari went to the state directly from Addis Ababa where he went for an African Union programme.
The visit took place some days after Boko Haram insurgents massacred over 30 stranded travelers in Auno village
Addressing state officials, Buhari declared: “I am delighted with what the governor of Borno State and the Shehu of Borno have said; especially both of them have recognised the efforts this administration in the area of security by comparing the situation in 2015 and now,” the president said.
“I am happy that the governor has advised the military to work hard to restore the situation in the state. But it cannot be done without good intelligence. And to my understanding, good intelligence by my experience, having been a soldier before, means cooperation with the local population.
“This Boko Haram or whoever they are cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs to attack without the local leadership knowing; because traditionally the local leadership is in charge of the security in their own respective areas. In my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this time.
“As commander in chief, I campaigned in both in 2015 and 2019 on three fundamental issues and one is security because you cannot properly preside over a country without security, even those who don’t go school know that.
“As the commander in chief, I will deal with the security situation. I believe there is an improvement in security. Economy-wise we worked hard in the area of agriculture and have seen the result in the agricultural sector; three results. One, which is fundamental, is food security.
“Officially, we don’t import rice because we want to defeat the smugglers; and we saved hundreds of millions of dollars. And this happened because the farmers went back to the land.”
Buhari who shunned the scene of the attack called on the youths to cooperate with the government otherwise they will be endangering their lives.
“We have vibrant and energetic youth in this country where 60 per cent are below the age of 30. We have to remind them that they must help us to stabilise this country so that they can have a better future. If they don’t cooperate with the government, they are endangering their future. I am already 77 years old and how many more years do I expect under normal circumstances.
In his remarks, Zulum thanked Buhari for the visit and called on the army to push back the insurgents as they did in 2016 and 2017.
“By the year 2016 and 2017, we have almost celebrated the demise of the Boko Haram insurgency. But from March 2019, we have started recording simultaneous attacks and increased activities of the insurgents which have resulted in the loss of lives of our people.
“We are calling on the Nigerian military to retrace their steps and replicate the successes they have recorded in 2016 and 2017 so that we can end this insurgency once and for all. We want them to take the war to the insurgents in the fringes of the Lake Chad. We also want the Nigerian military to foster unity between themselves and the civil populace. Also, (we) call on the Nigerian military to assist our people to gain access to their farmlands,” he said.
For his part, the Shehu of Bornu said security had improved in the state until recently when it resurfaced.
He thanked the president for the condolence visit adding that the people of Borno State were grateful that he cut short his engagement in Ethiopia to commiserate with them.
“We appeal to your Excellency for urgent attention. You have done well for us and you are still doing much for us and we appeal to you continue in that direction. The people of Borno are very grateful that you have to cut short your engagement in Addis-Ababa to come and visit us,” the monarch said.
Unpleasant visit as Borno residents show anger
Despite that the people of the state voted overwhelmingly for Buhari in the February 23 presidential election, the president was heckled as his convoy drove through Maiduguri.
Buhari polled 836,496 votes out of 955, 205 votes cast while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP scored 71,788 votes.
In viral videos on Twitter, residents, including children, could be seen expressing their disapproval as the President’s convoy drove past.
They could be heard chanting, “Bama yi! Bama so! (We don’t want! We are not doing!)”
One user said, Mansur Ahmed, said, “Kai, not so good for Mr. Integrity @MBuhari. These people are not asking for too much, are they @NigeriaGov?”
Similarly, @SGezee, stated, “From this video here the power is really angry.”
Adamu Sadiq noted, “Our eyes are open. Now, this is a clear warning to the leaders (that) they should better take note.”
Booing shows loss of confidence in Buhari
Reacting to the booing, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said the people’s action was a clear message that Nigerians hold him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.
“It (booing) also shows a loss of confidence in the Buhari Presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The PDP demands that Mr. President should not limit his visit to Borno state but also visit other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Taraba and other states to face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure has caused our nation.
“The party hopes that the visit to Borno state, which came only after the PDP and Nigerians criticized Mr. President for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, is not part of the usual presidential media stunts that will not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism.
“The PDP further charges Mr. President to endeavour to go on subsequent visits by road in order to see and feel the agony Nigerians are being subjected to with the parlous state of our road infrastructure and security network under the incompetent and unresponsive Buhari Presidency and APC.
“Our party holds that Nigerians do not deserve a distant President, who sits in the comfort of the Presidential villa and luxury jets, remaining indifferent to the pains, anguish and torments that compatriots suffer on daily basis.
“The PDP hereby calls on Mr. President to quickly embark on these visits and monitor, on first hand basis, the damage which his administration has caused and for which Nigerians are demanding that he resigns and allow more competent hands to manage the affairs of our nation.
“It is only after these visits that the Buhari Presidency will appreciate that those calling on him to rejig the nation’s security architecture mean well for our dear country,” the party said.