The Value News

Insecurity: Why Buhari Is Furious Against Religious Leaders As Insurgents And Bandits Launch Series Of Attack In The North On Christmas Day

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, north west Nigeria,  appears  to have  drawn out the anger of President Muhammadu  Buhari, a retired army General, with his  speech ‘’a nation in search of vindication’’ on Channels Television on Friday, December 25, 2020.  He had accused the Katsina state born Nigerian President of ’’nepotism  and institutionalising northern hegemony  in his government by reducing  others in public life  to second class status’’.

 In his emotional outburst, he had said  that ‘’there could have been a military coup if a non- northern Muslim  was the President of Nigeria. He was emphatic when he  said  that  there are s many things which the Nigerian President  had done  and gotten away with it which no non-Muslim Nigerian President would do a fraction of it and the  military would fold their arm and watch him  remain in office a longer than necessary without throwing him out.

 The Nigerian President may not have found Bishop Kuka’s speech funny. This is evident going by the reaction of Lai Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture, barely 48 hours after  the  Cleric  made the explosive speech on Channels Television. In his apparent reaction to the Cleric  speech,  the minister  who may have spoken  the mind of the Nigerian President had warned religious Leaders  in the country ‘’to refrain  from stoking  the members  of hatred and disunity’’.

Mohammed: Minister Of Information Cautions Religious Leaders

The minister  who has the ear of the retired army General,  and who could not hide his feelings had said that  religious Leaders  of all religious divide have a responsibility  ‘’to speak truth to power’’, insisting that such truth   must not  come  in trapped anger, hatred, disunity or religious disharmony’’. He  noted that  why  religious Leaders may not be able   to disguise their national Leadership preference, they should’’ refrain  from stigmatising  the Leader they have never supported  in any way to bring to power by using disproved  allegations of nepotism  or whatever’’.

The Kwara state born  Politician  who had issued a Statement  in response to Bishop Kukah’s  accusations of nepotism against  Buhari,  had said that whatever  challenges the country may be going through’’  at this critical time in its 60 years of independence  could only’’ be tackled   when all the Leaders, both political and religious  come together to do so’’.

He  stressed that ‘’the practice  of engaging  in name –calling  and finger-pointing  was one that should  be discouraged  by all Nigerians’’  of political-divide.  He may have come hard on the fiery  Cleric when he said , ‘’ calling  for a violent  overthrow  of a democratically- elected government , no matter how disguised  such a call  is  or describing any particular religion as violent  is not what a religious Leader  like Kukah should engage  in a season of  peace’’.

He may have sent a signal to ambitious officers in military uniform and ‘’those instigating them   that regime  change  outside  the  Ballot box  was not only  unconstitutional but a call for anarchy’’. The minster’s emotional outburst against Bishop Kukah, was a clear indication that the government was  out to deal decisively with any religious Leader, of the likes of Bishop Kukah,  who dares opens his mouth too wide to criticise the  government of any wrong doing.   

Bisho Kukah’s Speech Provokes Buhari Anger Against religious Leaders

While Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture had said that ‘’it is graceless and impious  for any religious Leader to use ‘’ the period of Christmas which is a season of peace to stoke  members of hatred, sectarian rife and national disunity’’,  the Abubakar Shekau led Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province of West Africa, ISWAP ,  may have seen it as an opportunity to carry out series of attack in the north east and north west  flash point states.

Take for instance, the Shekau’s heavily armed men   had proceeded unchallenged and attacked four villages  identified as  Debiro, Tashan Alade,, Trgitu and  Shafa, within Hawl and Shaffa local government area in the sourthern  part of Borno, home state of Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff,  on Saturday, December 26, 2020. The BokoHaram insurgents, according to an eyewitness account  had entered into the four Borno  villages , triumphantly  with 10 Toyota Hilux vans, shooting sporadically, to scare the people away,  to enhance their looting of  food items from the communities, as they set their houses ablaze.

Given the looting of food items by the hungry insurgents to sustain their operations, in the north east state of Borno , particular, may have informed why farmers  in the remote villages the state  have resorted to storing their harvested  food items like rice, in rented stores in Biu local government area of Borno  because of the  presence of military personnel.

BokoHaram Attack On Four Villages On Christmas In Borno State, Looting Food Items

The insurgents were said to have been launching series of attacks in the state since last Thursday including gransacking Chibok village, where 276 female students were kidnapped in 2014, during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan.  They were said to have also attacked Garkida, community in Adamawa, home state of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019, Presidential election,   bordering southern Borno.

 Note that the north east  insurgents  who may  have   spread to the north west in the guise of Bandits, terrorising the people, may have  climaxed their operation in the region  with the abduction  of 344 Government science school, Kankara boys in Katsina state, on December 10, 2020, though rescued on tThursday, by the military, on December 14, 2020,  were said to have  killed  one Zarkari Ya’u Idris, the village Head of Madaka in Rafi local government  area of Niger state. The Madaka village Head was said to have been killed by the abductors after about one week of the family not meeting up their financial demand. The abductors , the Value News was informed had demanded for N800,000.00 which could not be met by the family.

Informed sources told The Magazine that four other persons abducted alongside the Niger  state  Village Head  were said to have been released to their  families after they had paid their own ransom. In the last one week, Magazine was informed,   the Bandits operating in the Bangida home state have been terrorising the people of Rafi local government.  Report has it that  no fewer  than   10 persons   have been killed , with about 33 others abducted in the local government.

Recall that on December 25, 2020, being Christmas day,   Apostle Emmanuel Bako, Chairman of the Petecosalt  Fellowship  of Nigeria, PFN, in Kaduna state  and his wife, Cindy and another member of the PFN, were kidnapped by gunmen in Jema’a local government area of the state.

Samuel Aruwan, the state Commissioner for Internal security and Home Affairs, had said that the unidentified gunmen were able to kidnap Apostle Bako, the wife and a member of the Fellowship because they were able to penetrate  the Albarka Praying  Camp of the PFN,  Aalong  the Afana-Fadan Kagoma Road and started shooting sporadically to scare the worshippers.

The  kidnap of the PFN, Chairman, in Kaduna state, may have informed why Lawrence Ekwok, the PFN, Chairman, in Cross –rive state, south –south Nigeria, to describe ‘’ the security situation  in the country under the Buhari egime  as very terrible’’, confirming what John Onaiyekan, the Kogi state born Archbishp Emerritus, of the Catholic church of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had said that ‘’no one is safe in this country’’.

Burai: CAS

Aware of the low morale of the soldiers  deployed to fight the insurgents in the north east geo-political region,  Buratai, the Chief of Army , may have  improved on his working relationship with the troops.  He was said to have visited the troops  deployed  to the 27  Special Force Brigade in Buniyadi, Yobe state, where he was said to have had  a special Christmas luncheon  with the soldiers.

The army General was said to have assured the troops of the Military Authorities  support to successfully  conduct their operations  to contain the activities of the insurgents who are terrorising the people. He may have gladdened  the heart of the soldiers  to end insecurity in the  north east when he reassured them of the Buhari Administration’s Commitment ‘’ to the welfare of all officers and men of the Nigerian army.

‘’We will continue  to re-evaluate  the welfare package s of the army  to ensure  they meet  the best standards  and practices  internationally’’, he had said. The CAS, who is very  happy that the  troops  deployed to the north east states curtail the activities  of  BokoHaram  and IWAP siege have ‘’demonstrated  Professionalism, Courage  and determination  in the discharge of their Constitutional duties in tackling numerous threats,  had asked Christians’’ to pray for the country to overcome  its various security challenges’’.

Bashir Salihi  Magashi, a retired Major General and minister of Defense had said that’’ there is  need for peaceful  co-existence  for Nigerians of all religious divide especially now that ‘’the country  faces  the challenges  of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities to defeat the menace’’.

There is no gainsaying the fact that over 30,000 people have been killed  and  nearly  three million others displaced  in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe , particular,  in a decade of  BokoHaram violence in the country. That much was confirmed by  the United Nations ,UN, office  for the Coordination Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria. Going by the report of the  UN Refuge Agency,  violence by BokoHaram has affected    26 million  people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million other people.

Security watchers believe that if the Nigerian President had kept to his promise  on assumption of office in 2015, ‘’to defeat  Boko Haram insurgents  in the north east  of the country by providing the troops   with better arms and ammunitions , more training and more accurate intelligence’’, the insecurity situation in the country could not have degenerated as bad as it is today.

Recall that the Nigerian President had said that that’’ if the government of the then President Jonathan  had deployed  enough resources in fighting the insurgents, the military could have been able to rescue the 276 Chibok girls kidnapped in April, 2014.

. The security experts would   want Buhari to do that which the former Nigerian President  could not do as he was never an army General with any Professional experience in fighting wars to do so by defeating the insurgents and the bandits making life uncomfortable for the people in the north east and north west respectively using his military background as a retired  army  General and former military Head of state.    

Stephen Ubanna

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