By Kemi Asemota
Prior to the Nigeria General Elections in 2015, I had joined many Nigerians to watch closely campaigns of the dominant parties and presidential candidates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) former President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC).
That incumbent President Buhari won that election was largely a result of the three-point campaign promises of the APC candidate. Chief among them is the assurance to bring an end to large scale insecurity: killings, maiming, burnings and general violence created by the Boko Haram insurgency in the north.
PDP was roundly decimated during the general elections for not taking active steps to end the bloody reign of the terrorist group in the northern region of Nigeria and Buhari’s team trumped up PEP’s incompetencies in this reagard.
Buhari boldly proclaimed in one of his campaigns that; “I will bring permanent peace and solution to the insurgency issues in the North-East; the Niger Delta; and other conflict prone states and areas such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Abia, Taraba, Yobe and Kaduna in order to engender national unity and social harmony.”
Many Nigerians also looked up to him as having the capacity and training as a retired Army General to defeat Boko Haram comprehensively, hence many voted for him to topple the 16 year rule of PDP.
Many months down the line Buhari’s promise has remained a mirage even after changing the military chiefs and his repeated promises to end Boko Haram onslaught within three months.
It is over two years now, and the killings, maiming, kidnapping and burning of innocent people and properties have not abated, rather it is assuming higher and and more dangerous dimensions.
Though, the Buhari government has repetitively told Nigerians that the terrorist group has been defeated, media reports show that it is just propaganda meant to cover up the failure and empty promises of this government to eradicate Boko Haram.
In January 2016, few months into the administration of President Buhari, Boko Haram launched a deadly attack on Dalori, a village of about four kilometres from Maiduguri, Borno state, where about 86 persons were killed and 62 injured.
The insurgency was said to have wrecked havoc in the village, overrunning the village and burning villagers, properties and houses in the process. The village was left in ruins as those who escaped into the bushes with have not summoned courage to return. Rather, they have sought abode in the city of Maiduguri and other places.
Just last week, a mosque in Mubi, Maiduguri was attacked by a suicide bomber killing about 50 worshippers.
Boko Haram was reported to have killed 380 people between April and September 2017 in the Lake Chad area.
BBC Monitoring shows that the group killed more than 900 people this year, marginally more than it did in 2016.
BBC reported that ‘It mounted a total of 150 attacks in 2017 alone, an increase on the 127 attacks it is said to have mounted the previous year.’ Of the attacks, 90 were armed assaults while over 50 were suicide attacks resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives.
No fewer than two million northerners have been displaced from their homes since the coming of the new government of Buhari.
The influx of Northerners to the Western part of the country is enough reason to believe in the Boko Haram carnage up north.
I live in Lagos and within a few months, the number of Hausa and Fulani speaking people that have come into Lagos is huge. They have left their farmlands and other sources of living to become menial jobbers and ‘okada’ (commercial motorcycle) riders in Lagos and other Western Nigerian cities.
To make matters worse, Boko Haram have taken the fight to military zones and facilities, mosques and internally displaced people (IDPs) camps.
Aside from the Boko Haram insurgency, all other parts of the country have experienced pockets of violence. The conflict between herdsmen and farmers started from the North Central region of Nigeria and gradually spread to the Western region leading to high political drama and the loss of thousands of lives. It has also deepening the mistrust and insecurity among ethnic groups in Nigeria.
For example the average Western region Nigerian now sees a Nigerian from the Northern part of the country as a potential Boko Haram and it is becoming a source of worry in our daily social lives.
Without mincing words, President Buhari has not done enough to stop the menace of Boko Haram and many Nigerians have lost confidence in his administration to take us out of the insecurity doldrums.
It is a slap on our faces for a government to tell us that it has defeated Boko Haram ‘technically’ when this same sect has been coming back to kill Nigerians in their hundreds and even attack military zones.
The Buhari led administration must be bold enough to tell Nigerians of its failure to keep to its campaign promises instead of using technical words to confuse a people that have given him their votes all in the hope of security. It is pertinent to state that Nigeria is far more insecure than he had met it.
The flood of violent attacks show the extent to which the Buhari government has failed to address the country’s security challenges and it does not look as if answers are anywhere close.
It is still to be seen where the security of the common man lies as it is evident that Buhari’s administration lacks the capacity to stop Boko Haram.
Instead of toying with millions of lives I wish Nigeria’s leadership would own up to their failures and call on international bodies and organs for help. It is indeed the right thing to do.