Pan- Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy practical efforts towards achieving democratic goals especially the promises he made in his Sallah message to Nigerians.
Afenifere which made the call in a release signed by its spokesperson, Comrade Jare Ajayi, stated that the information and assurance that emanated from President Buhari’s message to Nigerians to mark this year’s Eid El Fitri celebration “fly against the reality on the ground.”
Buhari had, in his message released on Sunday, April 30, 2022, by the presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, to mark the end of this year’s Ramadan fast, disclosed that the end to terrorism acts was very much in sight and that Nigerians had reasons to mark the Ramadan festival with hope as the “battle waged against terrorists who falsely masquerade under the name of Islam is approaching its conclusion.”
Afenifere, however, stated that “rather than looking at the immediate future with hope, Nigerians are living and moving around in fear and despondence because of the insecurity they face at home, at work and even more so when travelling on highways,” wondering how could one be hopeful in that kind of situation.
“How then can one be hopeful in that kind of situation?” the pan-Yoruba group queried”
The group, while agreeing with the President Buhari that the fight against terrorists in the country “has been long and hard,” however, noted that the government had not succeeded in convincing most Nigerians that the final victory was within sight as claimed by him through his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
Afenifere spokesperson said” it was important to let the president know the reality on the ground, as according to him, the spectres coming from Aso Rock often indicate a distance between those in government and the people they govern, just as he recalled another speech made by Buhari, through his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, while opening the 4th Plenary Assembly of the Reunion of Episcopal Conferences of West Africa in Abuja”
According to the pan- Yoruba socio-political group, “President Buhari had, on the occasion, admitted that West Africa, of which Nigeria is a part, is “passing through a season of considerable political, economic and social turmoil,” but failed to outline what his own government was doing in concrete terms to put an end to the turmoil”
This was just as Afenifere noted that reports had it that in the evening of the same Tuesday, May 3rd, terrorists under the flag of Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) attacked Kautukari, a community in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, a state whose epithet is ‘Home of Peace.’
“The insurgents reportedly invaded the community around 6pm shot sporadically, set houses ablaze and killed some people. Although it was gathered that troops of 117 Battalion in Chibok town were mobilised to the area, a lot of damages in human and material terms have already been done.
“On March 30, this same year, Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State disclosed that the security agencies know the locations of terrorists and bandits and went further to say that the said bandits should be bombed. As though to lend credence to this claim, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) said that it had identified three locations on Abuja-Kaduna road being used as dens by terrorists. The identified locations are Rijana, Katari and Kasarami.
“These locations are abodes to kidnappers, armed bandits, drug addicts, gun runners, prostitutes and fleeing Boko Haram terrorists,” Afenifere recalled the report which quoted a senior intelligence source.
“Report by a National newspaper on April 1, 2022, had it that two officers and 12 soldiers were killed by over 400 insurgents who camped in a bush in Niger State not far from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The counter-attack was launched by reinforcements from 102 Guards Battalion located at Zuma Barracks on the Abuja/Kaduna highway.
“Just last Monday, a policeman, two brothers and others were killed by gunmen in Anambra State in addition to two soldiers (a Sergeant and a Lance Corporal) who were beheaded in the same South East. The soldiers were going for their traditional wedding rites in Imo State.
“On Monday, May 2nd, a farmer, Mr Musa Monsuru was killed by suspected herdsmen on his farm in Araromi village near Igboora, Ibarapa Central Local Government of Oyo State. Monsur’s case is not an isolated one as several of such reports are common particularly in Oke Ogun, Ogbomoso, Ibarapa and Ido areas of Oyo State as well as in the Yewa area of Ogun State.
“Ekiti, Osun and Ondo States are not spared either. 75-year-old Pa Adesoye Oguntayo said he was forced to stop going to his farm at Oke Ako Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State because of several attacks by armed herdsmen,” Afenifere chieftain said.
Ajayi said reports from other parts of the country, particularly in the North were not anything cheering, recalling further that penultimate Thursday, gunmen attacked villages in Benue State and later in Plateau State, leaving many dead and several properties destroyed.
He added that with all the foregoing prevalent in the land, it was very strange indeed that Mr President could inform Nigerians that the final embers of insecurity are now fading, saying it did look like the false sense of assurance and security being painted by the government had emboldened bandits and terrorists but also making it difficult for Nigerians to know how to deal with a situation that was terminating their lives on a daily basis.
Afenifere spokesman, Jare Ajayi, reminded President Buhari that the three major areas in which he raised the hopes of Nigerians when coming to power were security, fighting corruption and boosting the economy, among others.
“Unfortunately, the change we have seen in any of these areas is in the reverse. In reverse, in the sense that insecurity is now at an unprecedented level, corruption is an all-time high while the economy is now so down that hardly are the majority of Nigerians able to eat twice in 24 hours,” he said.
He then challenged the president to immediately allow states to establish their own Police Forces, honour agreements his government had with various labour unions, drastically reduce the cost of governance and ensure that the cost of social services and essential commodities like petrol and electricity come down considerably.
“President Buhari can start in this respect by ordering his party officers to liberalize the prohibitive cost of participation in the electoral process going by the number of money aspirants are forced to pay just to express interest in vying for certain political offices.
“Since it is the government of President Muhammadu Buhari that took us into this asphyxiating condition, history may still be kind to him if he can use the remaining time he has in office to reverse the ugly situation. The permanent way to achieve this is to institute Restructuring without any further ado,” Ajayi conclude