To many Nigerians, the approach the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is using in the fight against terrorism is the best. To others, it is not good enough as there is no difference between his approach and that of the immediate past administration he condemned. ODIRACHIMMA IHEGAZIE captures the mixed feelings.
According to different reports, President Muhammadu Buhari, during his presidential electioneering campaign promised to flush out Boko Haram within two months of his assumption as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Buhari had accused the former President Goodluck Jonathan of being insensitive to the dilemma of the people of the North-east states under the attack of insurgents, especially in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, alleging that the states and its people were neglected by the federal government. But two and half months into his administration, many Nigerians are if the view that the president seems helpless over his promises to lead the fight against insurgency.
Since his assumption in office, a number of suicide explosions have happened killing scores and wounding several Nigerians. Different attacks by insurgents have been reported. The latest report from official quarters is that the president has given the service chiefs three months to end insurgency in the North-east. The question are: is it feasible? Is that the best option to tackle terrorism in Nigeria?
Many Nigerians have been reacting to this development. According to Mr. Ike Okonkwo, Buhari is just two months in the office. “In the next two weeks, he will be up to three months heading to hundred days. Following his promises during the presidential campaign with his party that he will stop Boko Haram within a short while, he might have taken some steps to make sure that everything is brought under control but to an average Nigerian, the issue of insecurity is still unabated”. He said Nigerians expect a lot from the president in this regard and so there us a need to take a drastic action.
He further disclosed that, with what has happened so far in terms of increased attacks of the dreaded insurgents, “I don’t really think that the man is doing enough, though he has taken some bold steps by removing the formal service chiefs and all of that”, he said.
He also said that the issue of granting Boko Haram amnesty was not part of his promise when he was campaigning. So for the president to succumb to granting amnesty to insurgents, according to Ike, “does not really have any bearing on his promises regarding how he intends to fight insurgency in the country.
“There is no way amnesty can be granted to criminals who are hellbent on destroying human lives without any just cause just cause”, he added.
Considering the fact that amnesty was granted to Niger Delta militants, some Nigerians are of the view that similar treatment be extended to the insurgents. But a counter argument is that the Niger Delta militants were fighting socio-economic cause while insurgents are not. They contend that the militants of the Niger Delta were as a reduction of environmental degradation of their farmlands, pollution of their rivers and other means of livelihood.
According to Mallam Muhammed Hassan, “Boko Haram has no just cause they are fighting for and they are not representing any group in any way, so if he goes ahead to grant them amnesty, what is it for? Will it actually make his pure? For me I don’t think so.”
Speaking on what he thinks the president should do, he said that, he should go ahead with some strategies that will actually make him fulfill his promise because if he goes ahead to grant the amnesty, it wouldn’t help. “He should strategize more by appointing the right persons at the right places, get the right or intelligence information and take prompt action”.
Mr. Williams Omeri said that the way President Buhari is fighting Boko Haram is not encouraging, saying that it is the same thing that the formal administration did that he is doing. He said that the president is not doing enough since his assumption of office as Nigeria’s president. The battle is still on and the number of internal displaced people is increasing. He also added that as at June 2015, there were 1,385,298 internally displaced persons from the north east alone.
He further disclosed that, moving the military command headquarters to the North-east is a good step but not adequate. He also said that for the president to focus only on military strategies is narrow-mindedness. Th insurgents have resorted to using different strategies to unleash havoc on innocent Nigerians by using suicide bombers instead of engaging in direct shootout with the Nigerian army. The federal government should therefore change its tactics.
Talking about what he thinks the president should do to tackle and flush out insurgents, Omeri said that since we are in the era of change, and Nigeria needs change in every aspect of its system, “if the president can bring change by creating meaningful job opportunity in Nigeria, I think there will be less or no insurgence again.”
Mr. Chimezie Uba said that, looking at the way the president is handling the issue, traveling from one country to another seeking for help is not what people expect from him. “This was the same thing he accused the former president doing. It is therefore shameful and uncreative for the president to follow the same method. He cannot adopt method he himself has condemned. That is not what is expected of him”.
He said that focusing more on military action and considering negotiation with the insurgents is not the right thing for him to do at the moment. Terrorism has never been stopped by military action; instead, military action sustains it. The option of considering negotiation could set a bad example as many discontented people will choose terrorism to drive away their grumble. The way out, he said, that since the president believes so much in military action, he should provide appropriate weapon for the military because the insurgents are using superior weapons. That is beside dividing other economic methods.
Mr. Yomi Kareem disclosed that the president is doing enough by going to other countries to seek for help, adding that Nigeria cannot fight terrorism alone since they are unknown and cannot be identified. The worse part of it is that, the suicide bombers are young people who don’t understand what they are doing and what they are asked to do by their leaders.
Following his promises to tackle insurgency within two months, Kareem further disclosed “that the promise to tackle insurgents within two months or as soon as possible was a political statement and campaign strategy which everybody in his shoes will do the same. He should not be judged by it”.
Thinking on what he should do to calm down the situation, he said that the president should use his brain which is the main thing because anything he does without the help of the brain is in vain. “Th president needs intelligent guardian. He should also be conscious of people around him”, he said.
Mr. Nuhu Ibrahim said that, “for now you can’t tell what is going on because the American pragmatics will say ‘what is true is what is in practice’, that is when it is good to say and when it is good to dictate. So if you get your expected result, that is when you actually say that something has worked”.
He said that, Buhari’s relocation of military arms to north to tackle insurgents is a good idea. He added that, Buhari is really trying his best according to his understanding. “He is doing what he thinks is better, if not best for the country”.
He further disclosed that during Goodluck Jonathan regime, the firmer president pushed the insurgents far away. “He almost defeated them until the present administration came on board”, he said.
He therefore noted that Buhari should properly define his strategies and set his priorities right. For Miss Blessing Opera, the president just assumed office, so she thinks that it is better to give him some time to think and do thorough investigation so as to know the best approach to take.