Imagine for a fleeting moment what President Muhammadu Buhari’s day is like. I can see motions and moments that are meant to fuel the improvement of the lives of Nigerians. Or are they?
Nigerians have made the distinction between our government improving Nigeria without considering the implications of its policies on the lives of ordinary Nigerians. They have enough reasons to so worry.
Someone, with a high-sounding title, trusts a paper before the President, and sometimes a tome – which looks great for photo opportunities – and it contains something he has to endorse. When the announcements are made you would instantly notice there were no thoughts about the security and welfare of Nigerians, which the Constitution says should be the primary purpose of government.
Imagine that someone initiated the policy to reduce duties on imported vehicles at a time of scarce foreign exchange, when local manufacturers are struggling to remain in business, and of high unemployment. The policy is certainly rooted in Buhari’s unique patriotism.
Appointments are another main reason for government. They are more important than the services the appointees would render. We soon realise they are to serve Nigeria, not Nigerians.
Why is who becomes the Inspector-General of Police more important than improving security in Nigeria? What would the government do to stop the daily attacks on Nigerians outside changing service chiefs? Has the importance of appointments not been underlined in the bristling battles over who appointees are, their origins, regions, and religions?
Nigerians are divided on almost everything. The President goes on with motions of running government, only making a difference in hurting Nigerians more. His panjandrums applaud every move. Where there are no moves they invent some.
The only issue Nigerians agree on is the depth of insecurity. Attacks have not spared places as sacred as the President’s home state, Katsina. The complaints are across creed and greed. Yet when the President addresses the matter, of course, with words, he is full of praise for the security chiefs. He must know things that we do not know. He should.
Many wonder what Buhari thinks of his failure to keep promises that supposedly got him into office in 2015. In his 2019 campaigns, he decided not to speak. Was that an admission that he had 2015 matters to clear, so why make more promises?
What did the President do yesterday about the complaints on unruly Fulani herdsmen whose behaviour is casting all Fulani as criminals? Has he heard that parts of Nigeria are resorting to self-help in the absence of meaningful intervention of security agencies?
Today, will he act on the reports? He does not need to tell us he will. We are not interested in how he does it; after all, these are security issues. But will he act?
Can we wake up tomorrow and see Fulani herdsmen plying their trade, abiding by the law, as it used to be? Will the chilling stories of kidnapping, murders, rapes, decapitation of Nigerians, and other crimes have ceased, or been reduced to the barest minimum because the Federal Government acted?
Fragmented solutions from “self-help” have compounded the issues. Every Nigerian community defending itself is the road to chaos. The solutions being proffered detail how dreary the situation is.
What will replace open grazing? Will the same non-challant security agencies clear the forests of harmful herdsmen? When the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), asks herdsmen to return to the North “if their security could not be guaranteed in their host communities in the southern part of the country”, do we all realise the implications?
Is NEF now holding host communities responsible for the security of herdsmen? Is that the new practice or principle of national security?
NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governors to “protect law-abiding members of Fulani communities from killers and criminals who apparently believe that Fulani have no rights in Nigeria.” Baba-Ahmed knows that the fights with Fulani herdsmen had been based on their activities which are above the law. They have become so entrenched in their behaviours that other Fulani herdsmen who want to obey the law have become tarred with the same brush.
“We have also advised law-abiding Fulani communities to seek protection where it is available, and have appealed to other Fulani to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands,” NEF’s statement said.
“States that seek to limit criminal activities are perfectly entitled to do so, but they must follow due process, and avoid exposing innocent citizens to danger at all cost,” according to NEF.
Hopefully, today, the President will act decisively on the dangling dangers before us without making any of those annoying statements about Nigerians hating him.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues