By Casmir Igbokwe
Arguably, no Nigerian President has demonstrated the saying that blood is thicker than water more than President Muhammadu Buhari. In his statements and actions, he has let whoever cares to know that the interest of his Fulani stock appears always uppermost in his mind.
Recently, the President was reported to have approved the purchase of vehicles worth N1.14 billion for the government of Niger Republic. According to reports, the vehicles are to help the country to fight insecurity. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, rationalized the purchase, saying this was not the first time Nigeria had assisted some of her neighbours. She said it’s in the best interest of the country.
This is typical of Buhari. Last year, his government performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Maradi 284-kilometre rail line to connect Kano in northern Nigeria to Maradi in this same Niger Republic. This project is estimated to cost Nigeria roughly $2 billion. In an interview he granted Arise Television last year, Buhari defended this project, saying, “I spoke to one French man and I had to tell him this. He spoke nonsense and I told him look, in 1885, you sat down and drew lines (boundaries). I said I have first cousins in Niger. There are Kanuris, there are Hausas, there are Fulanis in Niger Republic just as there are Yorubas in Benin. You can’t absolutely cut them off.”
Buhari is also a committed Muslim. In March 2022, he donated $1 million to the Taliban government in Afghanistan. This would have gone unnoticed but for the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, who openly expressed gratitude to the Nigerian government for the donation.
I doubt if the National Assembly approved these extraneous expenditures. And I wonder why this government still equates Nigeria of today with that of the 1970s and 1980s when the country was the Father Christmas of Africa. In the days of apartheid, for instance, the amount of assistance we provided for South Africa qualified us to be called a frontline state. Never mind that the reward we now get for that is the constant harassment and killing of our compatriots in that country in the name of xenophobia. In many other African countries, Nigeria is also the butt of attacks and envy.
The point is, Nigeria is no longer buoyant enough to continue playing this role of a Santa Claus. Currently, the nation is bleeding economically. The rates of inflation, unemployment, poverty and hunger have gone beyond tolerable levels. Our debt profile is over N41 trillion and is estimated to reach N45 trillion soon. A huge amount of our revenue goes into servicing of this debt. Simply put, the country is broke and is struggling to meet its obligations.
Besides, for over five months now, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike. The non-academic staff unions are not left out. They are asking for better welfare and funding of our higher institutions. The government is not able to meet their demands. It is not able to tackle the enormous security challenges the country is facing currently. Yet, it has the money to buy security vehicles for another country.
It is not as if the President didn’t give us enough clues about his natural inclinations before we voted him in 2015. In the year 2000, for instance, he led a delegation to ex-Governor Lam Adesina of Oyo State to protest against the alleged killing of some Fulani herdsmen in Oke Ogun area of the state. It turned out later that it was the herdsmen who killed the natives the more.
In 2013, Buhari reportedly accused the government of Goodluck Jonathan of killing Boko Haram insurgents while giving special treatment to Niger Delta militants. Some of these terrorists have since been reintegrated into the society under the guise that they are now repentant.
This present government has almost turned Nigeria into a Fulani kingdom. Part of the security challenges we have in this country could be traced to the influx of Fulani herdsmen and some terrorists from Niger Republic. Rather than stop this migration, security agents at the border tend to look the other way. You don’t blame them because the Fulani dominate the security hierarchy of this country. From army to immigration to customs and others, they call the shots. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, once described Buhari as an unrepentant tribalist. A prominent northern politician, Junaid Mohammed, had also described nepotism in his government as the worst in Nigeria, nay Africa’s history.
Meanwhile, we recorded the height of insensitivity and impunity recently when the Emir of Yandoton Daji Emirate in Zamfara State, Aliyu Garba Marafa, turbaned a known and wanted terrorist called Ado Aleru as the Sarkin Fulani in his emirate. The turbaning was attended by some Zamfara state government officials.
It was the same insensitivity that propelled the Federal Government’s plan, in 2019, to impose what it called Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) on the rest of Nigerians. RUGA was a project meant to settle nomadic herdsmen within some parcels of land which the Federal Government would secure from states. The settlement was billed to have schools, hospitals, vet clinics, road networks, markets, electricity and manufacturing entities that would process and add value to meat and animal products. The Presidency informed Nigerians then that the scheme would, among others, curb open grazing and drastically reduce conflict between herders and farmers. The government was forced to suspend it following strident opposition to it. It also tinkered with the idea of reopening grazing routes, cattle colony and establishment of Fulani radio to communicate with the Fulani anywhere in the world.
If the President had shown other parts of Nigeria half of the interest he has shown to the Fulani cause, there would not have been any clamour to remove him from office as is currently being canvassed in some quarters. My happiness now is that the 2023 election will soon be here. I can’t wait to see the back of this administration.
Re: Before our President is kidnapped
The writing on the wall indicating that Nigeria is presently sitting on a keg of hot gun powder couldn’t have been more legible. The entire situation in the country adds up to making real all the rumours making the rounds on the social media. Impeachment is certainly not the way to go now that the present government is on her eleventh hour rather an urgent security summit and a state of emergency on security should be put in place to avoid total breakdown of law and order.
-Dr. Idongesit, Uyo, +2348084318845
Some people like Sheik Gumi and others would enter a forest, discuss with the terrorists, bandits and later come out to tell us the demands of the terrorists. Yet, the security agencies would tell us that they can’t locate the operational bases of these terrorists? Terrorists would release videos periodically, yet the Nigerian INTEL can’t trace the source. Why then did Nigerian government introduce NIN? The major problem in this world is the foolish struggles of some human beings to forcefully convert others to a particular religious faith. Both Christianity and Islam were imported centuries ago. Nobody determined where he/she would be born. Except on very few occasions, providence made me and you either a Christian or a Muslim. It’s height of idiocy to terminate a sacred life on account of religion.
-Ifeanyi Maduako, Owerri, +2348061562735
I admired your work. But I will not pray for him (Buhari). He knows what to do as a soldier or let him carry his cross like Odewale.
Dear Casy, permit me to refer you to the banner headline of the Daily Sun of Wednesday, 3rd August 2022 titled, ‘Buhari gives the military full powers… seeks foreign help.’ What does this connote? It connotes the fact that:- (1) the gallant officers and men of our armed forces, as well as functionaries of other security agencies have, operationally, faced the menace of terrorists, Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers with quasi-authority and powers at greater risk to their (officers and men) lives. (2)This Government has, for over seven years of her tenure, been treating insecurity with kid gloves and rhetoric. Hence, the influx of the marauders and their attendant murderous escapades. Now that the kid-gloving by FG has turned these marauders into Frankenstein monster beaming their searchlight on the Aso Rock Chief with threat of kidnap, permit me to submit that he, the Aso Rock Chief, is paying the price of retributive justice arising from perfunctory approach to very serious national security issue. Shikena!
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
We are now in an era of many conspiracy theories: and it is only an informed mind that can supply answers to these trending theories. The very president whose second coming was by ‘acclamation’ is now challenged by a multitude of misfortunes in the twilight of his administration. You are surprised that even as the president is a Fulani the bandits/kidnappers who are mostly his people are the very ones who are after him. Note that we are in an election period. What we now experience in Nigeria are artificial occurrences that are politically and economically motivated. The unspoken reason behind the spate of insecurity in the country is to instill fear and pave the way for another Northern president after eight years of Buhari’s governance.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal South, 08037952470
Casmir, Buhari’s ‘lackadaisical approach’ to security issues has come home to roost. Treating them with kid gloves emboldened them to the extent that they now have the temerity to issue out insulting threats of ‘kidnapping the C in C of Nigeria army’ and el-Rufai for his ‘garrulous advice’ that ought to be secret as I previously admonished! Their audacious acts stem from criminal acts that were perpetrated during EndSARS protests. The ‘psyche of the nation’ was definitely affected by the video release, but, this should not lead to ‘jittery response’ which more often than not leads to more errors. What we need is a conscientious and holistic response that would ‘shake the foundation of the world of these terrorists’. They should be made to ‘lose members in thousands’ in one fell swoop!
-Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +2348161114572
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, August 8, 2022