Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, made some controversial claims while comparing the state of Nigeria’s security during the Goodluck Jonathan administration and under the Muhammadu Buhari government.
Here are the claims Tinubu made:
- Before 2015, during Jonathan’s regime, 17 local governments and about four states had flags of foreign Jihadists in Nigeria. That is no more. That is long gone
- Security problem has reduced
- Buhari has degraded but not eliminated ISWAP
Is Boko Haram no more occupying 17 Local Governments Areas?
According to a report by Reuters, the terrorist organisation controlled 20 Local Government Areas in the Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, and Yobe states of Nigeria. Their major presence was in Borno state at the start of 2015.
As of March, two weeks before the general elections, four Local Government Areas have been recaptured by Boko Haram, while three were still in captivity according to Lieutenant-General Tobiah Minimah, the army chief of staff.
In April 2022, Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to President Buhari said Boko Haram is still present in 17 LGAs in the north but was no longer fatal.
Has Security Problem Reduced?
According to Global Terrorism Index (GTI) data, Nigeria’s ranking as one of the countries most impacted by terrorism went from 6th to 4th and subsequently to 3rd place under the Jonathan administration (2011–2015).
Nigeria held the 3rd spot throughout the first five years of Buhari’s presidency until 2020 when it improved to fourth place. The nation improved two spots to rank 6th in the 2021 ranking, which was released earlier this year. This is the country’s best position on the index position since 2011.
Data received from the National Security Tracker (NST), which tracks incidences of violence across the country, show that between 2011 and 2015, during the Jonathan administration, there were 34,943 deaths attributed to insecurity.
Nigeria saw 27,311 fatalities during Buhari’s first term in office. A total of 31,655 deaths have been reported since the start of his second term till December 2022.
After reviewing the information from NST and GTI, one can conclude that Nigeria’s level of insecurity has decreased.
Reasons for the Decline of Boko Haram attacks
In the latest GTI ranking Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Burkina Faso and Syria ranked above Nigeria. According to the report, the death of the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, and government efforts are factors that led to the decline of Boko Haram in Nigeria, which has resulted in Nigeria’s ranking dropping on GTI ranking.
Attacks by ISWAP and counter-terrorism efforts by the Nigerian government and foreign military forces have significantly weakened Boko Haram’s impact in Nigeria.
Nigeria improved in the most recent GTI ranking due to an increase in terrorist assaults, deaths, and injuries in Burkina Faso. In Burkina Faso, there were 216 incidents, 732 fatalities, and 231 injuries in 2021 as opposed to 191 incidents, 658 injuries, and 185 fatalities in 2020. Syria from 438 incidents, 724 fatalities and 1053 injuries in 2020 to 338 incidents, 488 fatalities and 502 injuries. While in Nigeria, there were 204 incidents, 448 fatalities, and 161 injuries in 2021 as opposed to 137 incidents, 839 injuries, and 172 fatalities in 2020.
In a report released by SBM Intelligence, a socioeconomic research firm, in its Media Reported Killings in Nigeria report for Q4 2021 (October to December 2021), it said at least 2,085 persons were reportedly killed in Nigeria in the fourth quarter of 2021 in violent incidents, including attacks from Boko Haram, militia herdsmen, abductions, gang clashes and terrorists, raising the tally of deaths to 10,366 in 2021.
According to the SBM Intelligence report, the 2,085 reported deaths mean Nigeria experienced a 47 percent increase in media-reported killings, from 7,063 fatalities in 2020 to 10,366 in 2021. Of the 10,366 casualties of violent deaths in 2021, Kaduna State alone recorded 1,192 at the hands of bandits.
A breakdown of the Fourth Quarter (Q4) numbers revealed that civilians made up nearly half of the reported violent killings at 972, followed by Boko Haram at 629, and terrorists at 288. Forty policemen were reportedly killed in the same period, followed by 35 soldiers, while members of the proscribed secessionist IPOB group recorded 20 casualties.
Borno State recorded the most casualties in Q4, at 618, followed by Kaduna at 355, Sokoto at 225 and Zamfara at 144. The highest-ranked southern Nigerian state for the quarter was Anambra State at 54 media-reported deaths.
In a statement, SBM warned that recent killings in Zamfara last month put the government’s effort at addressing insecurity in the region using force under severe scrutiny.
In 2015, when Buhari took the oath of office, he pledged to put an end to Boko Haram within three months and reclaim all the territories it had taken. However, seven years later, and just a few months before the end of his final second term, the reality is that insecurity has gotten worse in Nigerian society as a whole. Nigeria has developed into a sizable haven for terrorists, and all regions of the country are currently dealing with some sort of violent crime.
In addition to insurgency, banditry, abduction, and secessionist violence are bringing Nigeria to the verge of dissolution, and many people are asking for the president’s resignation for failing to secure the nation.
Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Prize winner, has called the nation a “war zone,” and the Sultan of Sokoto recently described northern Nigeria as the worst region to live in. On April 27, 2021, Smart Adeyemi, an APC legislator from the president’s party, shed tears as he participated in a Senate discussion on the severe security situation.
Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former head of state, pleaded for support from Nigerians on February 2, 2022, in Niger State during the 38th Founders Day and 30th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, claiming the country’s security forces are overstretched.
“We are facing a very hard time security-wise, where the war front is everywhere and this is a war without any morality. The old and the young are slaughtered without cause. Indeed, our security forces are overstretched. So it is left to all of us to join hands in making sure that we provide information where possible so that these insurgents could be chased out of our country,” Abdulsalami said.
The Senate has also urged the Federal Government to dispatch fighter jets immediately to flush out terrorists who are responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Nigerians in their hideouts.
The call was made on February 2, 2022, during plenary resolutions that were reached in response to a senator’s point of order that was raised by Bello Mandiya. Mandiya noted that the act of banditry and kidnapping has become a daily occurrence in Katsina with huge consequences of loss of lives, means of livelihood and displacement of communities.
The frequent incidents of kidnapping and murder, according to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, make it essential for the military to “wake up” to safeguard Nigerians. He questioned why, despite increased funds for security in the 2022 budget, the military had not yet taken full-scale action. The Senate anticipates a remarkable difference in success in the struggle against insurgency, banditry, and militancy in Nigeria, according to Lawan.
Under the auspices of the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA), media owners in the Northern region have also expressed their displeasure with the actions of terrorists, robbers, and other social vices plaguing the area.
Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organization, also criticized the country’s high rate of growing kidnappings, arson, terrorism, village looting, and other types of insecurity, stating Nigeria appears to be at war. To stop the threat that is going to engulf the entire country, the organization promoted the democratization of the police force, challenging the Federal Government, National Assembly, and Governors to step up to the plate.
In a statement from its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, Afenifere voiced regret over how the government appeared to be losing control over how to deal with the threat the more insecurity seemed to be enveloping the nation.
The group criticised the National Assembly for its recent decision against giving state governments the authority to establish police. The group encouraged state governors and members of the states’ Houses of Assembly to exert pressure on President Buhari and federal lawmakers to approve state police.
President Buhari’s Admittal and Plead to Nigerians
In his 2021 new year message, the president admitted that insecurity was destroying investments in Nigeria under his watch. On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, overwhelmed by the spike in national and regional insecurity, President Muhammadu Buhari in a virtual meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, appealed to the United States for help to tackle insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and secessionist violence in Nigeria.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony for the Presidential Committee on Repatriation, Return, and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast of Nigeria, which came before the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, President Mohammadu Buhari pleaded for an end to insecurity in Nigeria as lives and means of subsistence are lost every day. Assuring them that the insurgency would be put to an end before the conclusion of his administration, Buhari, therefore, asked Nigerians, particularly those in the northeast, to continue exercising patience.
In a 2018 report by the Conversation, the military suffered its highest number of fatalities against Boko-haram. The group captured a large cache of military hardware and was responsible for the death of at least 600 Nigerian soldiers. In the same year, it attacked nine military bases and overran the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) base in Baga, Borno state.
In December 2020, a school in Kankara, close to Katsina, the president’s home state, was assaulted by gunmen, and 344 schoolboys were reported missing.
Constant clashes between the security agencies and ESN, the paramilitary wing of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), are capable of scuttling efforts to keep the region safe with Ebube Agu. Also, a PREMIUM TIMES analysis revealed that more than a year after the establishment of Amotekun, kidnapping and killings have remained rampant in Nigeria’s Southwest.
One of the most extensively reported violent crimes on Nigerian highways in the past three years was the murder of Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of a Yoruba elder, Reuben Fasoranti, during a kidnapping attempt by suspected herdsmen at Kajola along the Ore-Ijebu Ode expressway.
Threats to the Federal Government
The terrorists then grow more brazen day by day to the point where they are considering kidnapping the President and Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state.
Terrorists assaulted the Nigerian Defence Academy, the nation’s top military school, in August 2021. (NDA). They murdered two officers and kidnapped one, whose release couldn’t be secured until a ransom was allegedly paid.
Additionally, terrorists reported targeting the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, attacked members of the 7th Guards Battalion. Two people passed away! Even if these terrorists never manage to reach the president, the federal capital region, which appeared to be secure, is now under their control, leaving citizens in constant worry.
According to both the GTI and NST data, the number of fatalities as well as the impact of terrorism in the country has reduced. In contrast to 2015, when terrorism was primarily contained in a single region, most regions of the country today is dealing with one security challenge or the other.
Though Boko Haram has been tamed, insecurity has heightened with banditry, secessionist violence, and kidnapping amongst others rapidly spreading all through the nation.
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