AFTER CHIBOK, WHY DAPCHI?
PMB's 3-point Agenda is facing very strong challenges from all sides. The President said his focus was going to be on the Economy, Corruption and Security. On coming to office, he promised to make the economy buoyant (including making the Naira equal to the US dollar). He was going to fight Corruption to a standstill or indeed kill corruption before corruption killed Nigeria and lastly to restore Nigeria's security and make it a safe haven for all. Recently we interrogated the 'doing well' of our economy and concluded that though the economy is recovering from recession, it is not yet doing well as unemployment, underemployment, misery index and poverty rate have worsened. The misery caused by the persisting fuel scarcity (Over 3 months now) is unrelenting, afflicting more of the poor and rural dwellers, affecting agricultural out put negatively. We have advised a single minded commitment to the implementation of the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) and a full deregulation of the down stream petroleum sector to hasten the full recovery of the economy and transition to growth. Great urgency is demanded before politics and electioneering derail the economy further.
Last week we drew attention to the corporate governance failures that have put a question mark on the anti-corruption stance of PMB's government. No man with conscience and who fears God that will not be bewildered by the 'Mainagate' scandal and other corporate governance breaches that have seemed to occur in a regular manner, including the biased and lopsided appointment of people from PMB's catchment to top security and political offices, to the utter neglect and exclusion of some other areas. I am hoping that this government has a full understanding of what corruption means. It is not just taking of bribes or stealing of Public funds. 'Mainagate' is a perfect case of corruption- abuse of processes, procedures & office. Pure and simple! And just in case this government does not have a full understanding of the global definition of corruption, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2018 just released by the Transparency International (TI) indicated that Corruption Perception for Nigeria has worsened despite all the brouhaha on anti-corruption fight by the government.
This is not to say that this government has not tried to fight corruption. It has tried but the fight has not be holistic and totally encompassing. Many 'sinners' from PDP have become 'saints' as they crossed to APC and the apparent failure of the integrity test on a number of issues has blighted most of the other efforts.
The news of the abduction of over 100 girls by Boko-Haram from Government Girls Science School in Dapchi, Yobe State, last week is heart-wrenching and my heart goes to the families of the affected girls. We were praying for the full return of the outstanding CHIBOK abductees and then Dapchi happens. To be true this latest security failure has almost erased any achievement of this government in the security realm. It is bewildering how a defeated Boko Haram can drive its convoy of vehicles into the town of Dapchi and abduct so many of our girls and drive away without any resistance from our security forces. This embarrassing incident which has been rightly called "a National disaster" by the President raises a few questions. First, what happened to our security forces in Dapchi? Were they absent or were they asleep or were they overpowered? Second is, how come we left the premises of a girls secondary school unprotected after CHIBOK? Does it mean, we learnt no lessons or is this a crass display of incompetence by government- State and Federal? Third is, what happened to our intelligence gathering apparatus? It is possible to claim difficulty in gathering intelligence regarding the operations of female suicide bombers, though with the regularity of their operations these days,gathering intelligence about them should no longer be that complicated for a standard security intelligence outfit. But then, to organize such extensive raid as we saw in Dapchi last week must have taken weeks of planning and reconnaissance by Boko-haram operatives. It was no mean operation and any minimum listening post would have dictated some signals that would have alerted our security men. But our security agents who apparently were in slumber quickly woke up after the incident to concort denials, first that no girl was missing or abducted, followed with another tale that many of the girls had been rescued by them, a story which the Yobe government accepted but later recanted. For me that was so ingenious and only added to the confusion in the whole affair. Nearly one week after the incident, the actual number of missing girls was yet to be accurately determined.
This whole thing is really frightening and distressing. If our school girls in a region swarming with all kinds of security forces and to which so much National funds are being dedicated can not be protected from this brazen assault, then nobody is safe in this country anymore. To be true, the security situation in this country seems to be getting out of hand. Boko Haram, despite being defeated and flushed out of the Sambisa Forest as claimed by the military, remains deadly, continuing to terrorize the North East. In the whole of North Central and parts of the South East, South West and South South,the Militant Fulani herdsmen are murdering people everyday, destroying farms, sacking villages and rendering many homeless. Now the North West which we thought was relatively safe, has recently come under heavy assault by marauding bandits who recently invaded two villages in Zamfara State, leaving scores of People dead and homes destroyed. I am told, the Zamfara Killings have been going on for sometime now but was either underreported or was overshadowed by the Boko Haram and the militant herdsmen. Gradually Nigeria has become a Nation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
In most of the South, kidnapping for ransom has become like a normal trade, just like '419' had become a norm until the coming of Nuhu Ribadu's EFCC. Ritual killings have also spiked in many parts of the South and criminals seem to be multiplying in geometric proportions. I really do not fully understand what is promoting this level of insecurity in the Nation. Some people blame it on joblessness and hunger, others on anger and hopelessness .Whatever, it is the primary responsibility of Government to find out why, deal with the issues and make the Nation safe.
Right now, there seems to a siege and many people feel quite unsafe in Nigeria, much more than they ever did in recent history! PMB does have his work cut out for him and I am praying.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR