Buhari: Nigeria Making Progress in Tackling Security Challenges – THISDAY Newspapers
•Lauds US support against terrorism
•Boko Haram not weakened, House minority caucus replies Buhari
Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Nigeria is making appreciable progress in solving the myriads of security challenges facing the country.
Nigeria has also hailed the United States of America’s support for the fight against terrorism in the North Eastern zone of the country.
This is coming as the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has faulted the claim by Buhari at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that terrorists have been so weakened in Nigeria that they are now preying on soft targets
Buhari’s Media Adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, in two separate statements at the weekend said President Buhari met separately with the Prime Minister of Netherlands as well as US Permanent Representative to the United Nations at the sidelines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America (USA).
At the meeting with the Prime Minister of Netherlands, His Excellency Mark Rutte, the president assured the PM that Nigeria was dealing with terrorist elements troubling the country.
“We are preoccupied with security, and we are getting somewhere,” the president assured, adding that the North-east and the South-south, which were the issues in 2015, are stabilising, while efforts are on to restore calm to the North-west, North-central, and other restive areas.
On the economy, the president said the country took decisions to shut the borders, “eat what we grow, and curb smuggling,” noting that if that had not been done, “we would have been in serious trouble. We are lucky to have taken the decision when we did, otherwise things would have been impossible with the advent of COVID-19.”
On the issue of military coups in West Africa, President Buhari told his guest that he was surprised at the attitude of those tampering with the Constitution of their countries, to stay longer in office.
He assured that ECOWAS was doing the needful to address the developments.
Prime Minister Rutte congratulated President Buhari on how he successfully leads a country of over 200 million people, wishing Nigeria greater advances.
Also on Friday, President Buhari declared that the support by the United States of America has made a great difference in Nigeria’s efforts to stamp out terrorism within its borders.
At a meeting in New York with the Permanent Representative of America to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the President indicated that America’s support was a morale booster to the military and the people of Nigeria in general.
With the supply of the Super Tucano aircraft purchased from America, and other helicopters on the way, President Buhari said ending the security challenges in Nigeria was only a matter of time.
On how the country was able to mitigate the scourge of the Coronavirus pandemic, of which the Ambassador said the Delta variant was “very virulent,” the Nigerian leader disclosed that a special team was raised by the federal government, which in conjunction with states, educated people on safety methods, “and we are not doing badly vis-a-vis our population.”
According to him, COVID-19 does not discriminate between small and big, rich and poor countries, “so we all have to collaborate and work together.”
President Buhari said leaders have to respect their people, part of which is to obey the term-limit clauses in their constitution.
“I am surprised when people spend the maximum term possible, and then tinker with the constitution, to stay longer.
“In Nigeria, we try to educate our people to appreciate the democratic system. Elections should be safe and secure, with no coercion of any form. People should elect the people they want. That would grow democracy,” he said.
On climate change, President Buhari said the impact had been badly felt in the Lake Chad basin area, with more than 30 million people affected, deprived of access to fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and causing irregular migration and other anti-social acts.
The president then canvassed concerted action on inter-basin water transfer from the Congo Basin to Lake Chad.
In her remarks, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said about 70 per cent of her work at the UN centre on Africa and expressed worry about the recent military takeover in Mali and Guinea.
Boko Haram Not Weakened, House Minority Caucus Replies Buhari
Meanwhile, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has faulted the claim by Buhari at the 76th session of the UNGA, that terrorists have been so weakened in Nigeria that they are now preying on soft targets
The Caucus in a statement issued yesterday by its leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu said it had reviewed Buhari’s UNGA address and was depressed that it did not reflect the ugly reality of the failures of his administration, as well as the economic, security, and social ruins that have confronted the nation under his watch.
The lawmakers argued that in reality, insurgents have become so emboldened under Buhari’s watch, and are now attacking military formations, kidnapping and killing gallant officers while overrunning communities and murdering citizens without restrain.
The caucus argued that Buhari’s speech is a great disservice to the nation by not presenting the true picture of affairs in the country; the human rights violations, corruption, incompetence in his administration; the excruciating hardship, escalated insecurity, national divisiveness, and infrastructural decay under his watch, thereby blocking avenues for desired intervention in the various ailing sectors.
The Caucus also expressed shock over claims in the speech that his administration built isolation centres and emergency hospital wards, all over the country, in the fight against Covid-19.
The lawmakers opined that the speech lacked definite personal commitments towards a credible electoral process especially as the nation approaches the 2023 general election.
The lawmakers said: “The speech did not reflect on the closure of schools and crippling of education in many parts of our country, where normal life has been destroyed by terrorists, neither did it show any empathy towards the victims of terrorism attacks. Our caucus is worried that in reflecting on violent conflicts, Mr. President’s address conveyed no personal commitments that can guarantee an end to poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice, and inequalities that are prevalent under his watch, even after identifying such as the causes of conflicts.
“Moreover, our caucus is worried that Mr. President’s speech did not portray any decisive roadmap towards economic recovery and food security; had no personal commitment to end corruption in his administration; had no personal commitment to end borrowing or show a clear-cut plan to repay the huge debt being accumulated by his administration.”
The Caucus, therefore, urged Buhari to always cross-check the content given to him by his handlers to ensure that his position, especially on the world stage, captures the reality as well as aspiration prevalent in the country.
This, according to the lawmakers, is because such addresses ought to serve as an unblemished working document for interventions and solutions at various levels of governance.