Between The Last And The Latest: May We Ask The President?
By Bala Ibrahim
Security reports from Kaduna state this morning, Friday 12th March 2021 are not only frightening, but extremely embarrassing, if we go by the assurance of Mr. President, that the Jangebe students abduction of last month, would be the last to be witnessed by Nigerians.
After the last February students abduction in the town of Jangebe of Zamfara state, President Muhammadu Buhari sent a powerful delegation, headed by the minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, wherein he assured Nigerians that the Jangebe abduction will be the last to happen.
The President said new measures had been developed by the federal government, which would bring a complete end to all forms of criminality in the nation. That statement restored a lot of hope and confidence in the minds of the public, particularly because the abduction of students from boarding schools was becoming too rampant.
But less than a month after, on a similar Thursday night/Friday morning, Samuel Aruwan, the Commissioner, Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, sent a nerve-racking message to the nation, Viz: “180 rescued, several students missing, following attack at Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Igabi LGA. Troops of the Nigerian Army in the early hours of today, Friday, 12th March 2021 rescued 180 citizens, many of them students, at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Igabi local government area of Kaduna State.”
The message continued thus, “The armed bandits in large number had attacked the institution at around 11:30pm on Thursday and kidnapped several students and staff. The armed bandits broke into the institution by breaching a perimeter fence. They then encroached about 600 meters to attack the first facility.”
Juxtapose the news with what happened in Kankara, Kagara and Jangebe, alongside the last promise of the President, Samuel’s statement would not only sound as a sad news, but a deeply depressing story that would prick the conscience with a question, where lies the President’s last assurance of last month?
To make matters worse, almost around the time when Samuel Aruwan was releasing the statement on the Kaduna attack, the National Security Adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Mongonu (Rtd), was being interviewed by the hausa service of the BBC, and he has this to say, “It seems the money released to former Service Chiefs by President Buhari, to buy weapons to fight terrorism, banditry and kidnapping is missing, because the new service Chiefs have confirmed to us that they didn’t see where the new weapons were purchased in there handing over. Apparently the money is missing, and we must investigate”.
Investigate what? Investigate the former service chiefs, or investigate the promises of the President?
It may be recalled that, in August last year, through the same National Security Adviser Monguno, the President gave his satisfaction to the same Service Chiefs, saying, ‘you are doing your best as far as I am concerned, but there is still a lot more to be done. I am more concerned about the promise we made to the larger Nigerian society and I am ordering an immediate re-engineering of the entire security apparatus.’
Monguno said “the President has made approval for all the needs of the service chiefs, with a new directive, that we must rejig our strategies both in terms of operations and intelligence. We must rejig our strategy to prevent further catastrophe; that we must bear in mind that we owe a duty to the public that elected his government and at the end of the day, without securing the nation, all other things like revamping the economy and fighting corruption cannot be addressed.”
But despite the change of guards, and the announcement of more and new promises, things are continuously taking the pattern of the past.
In the past, during the war against the insurgency in the north east, whenever the President gave a warning, that enough is enough and that the insurgents have been degraded to the level that would not permit for any spectacular operation, the terrorists would only appear stronger shortly, through a more embarrassing attack. Still now, the bandits are decidedly beginning to dare the President. The question is, May we ask the President, where lies the problem?
Presidential pronouncements are perceived with the purity of policy statements that should carry the signposts of sanctity. If the President would make promises only for the public to receive reversed results, such statements can make meaningless, the mightiness of the office of the President and reduce or ridicule the sanctity of the powers of the President.
Yes, todays attack in Kaduna is indeed one attack too many. And the President must be bonded by his words in Jangebe.