In response to a berating editorial by The Economist against the Buhari regime, the Presidency has said that only the regime is taking steps to address terrorism, kidnapping, killer herdsmen and secessionists concurrently.
On Saturday, the London-based news magazine had described the government of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as inept and high-handed, adding that he had also failed to tackle corruption.
The 178-year-old magazine said this in an editorial titled, ‘The Crime Scene at the Heart of Africa,’ which was published in its October 23, 2021, issue.
In a statement released on Sunday titled, ‘Economist’s flawed, anti-Nigeria cover: President Buhari is strengthening Africa’s democracy,” Shehu said 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 IPOB terrorists in the South-East.
“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.
“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 Presidency said the regime has pushed back terrorism which has been a threat for more than two decades since the first emergence of Boko Haram.
“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 one hundred years–to identify the root causes of the herder-farmer clashes and find durable solutions,” the Presidency said.
It maintained that 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.
“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.
“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 said.
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.
It said, “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.
“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.”
On banditry, it said, “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.