The visit was, in fact, unexpected but, in reality, it symbolises the action of a great leader that President Muhammadu Buhari is.
The visit was to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and the purpose was to condole with the government and people of the state after the Boko Haram insurgents have killed many and destroyed multimillion Naira worth of property within the past few weeks.
A large crowd of Borno residents lined up the streets and bridge to welcome the president as his convoy drove from the Maiduguri International Airport to the centre of the city. There was also a reported case booing of the president.
The president, it should be nited, went to Maiduguri as soon as he returned Nigeria from a five-day trip to Ethiopia for an African Union summit. Of course, the warm reception of president by the people of Borno is not surprising. During his previous visits to the state, the president had always received a warm reception from residents of the state, which is regarded as one of his strongholds and second home.
In the last presidential election, the president had his widest margin of victory in Borno state where he polled 836,496 votes out of the 955,205 votes that were cast, which constitutes a margin of over 85 per cent while his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party scored 71,788 votes.
The president, who was at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Abubakar Ibn Umar Gabai, accompanied by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, sympathised with the victims of the attacks and prayed for the repose of the soul of the dead people.
In his remarks, Zulum thanked the president for identifying with the state in these trying times and commended the efforts of the military.
Tellingly, Zulum wondered why some people compare the security situation now with what obtained before the Buhari-led administration came on board.
“Roads were closed, there were sporadic bombings everywhere, even within the metropolis,” he said, adding thad “close to 20 local government areas were then under Boko Haram.”
However, he expressed surprise “that there seems to be resurgence in 2019.” The governor tasked the military to replicate their successes, especially between 2015 and 2017, “and take the battle to the insurgents and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad.”
He also urged the security agencies to be patient with the civilian populace and give opportunities to the Internally Displaced Persons to access their communities in order to return to their occupations.
Expectedly, in the city, the president promised more proactive and decisive measures to be taken by the federal government to bring to an end the Boko Haram menace in the country.
The president, however, said that intelligence sharing and synergy between law enforcement agencies and the civil populace are critical for achievement of peace.
“I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously,” the president said. “The military will work harder and strategise with tactics to deal with the insurgents. This is, however, not possible without good intelligence and cooperation with local community leaders. Boko Haram cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing because, traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own areas.”
The president called on leaders at various levels to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in order to overcome the menace of Boko Haram. On this note, the president was precise and on point.
The menace of Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other insecurity problems confronting the country can only be tackled with the cooperation and support of the citizens. This is so mainly because there’s nowhere in the world where many citizens, like in the situation in Nigeria, have little or no trust in the government and security agents and, yet, expected security challenges to be addressed.
Regrettably, Nigerians appear to to hostile to the government and military, and complain about anything they do and, in the process, psychologically and morally empower terrorists and other criminal elements in the country.
I think there is no question about Nigerians being patriotic and cooperate with the government in order to end insecurity in the country. No doubt, the government needs to play its part by increasing the number of armed forces and the police to be able to cover the whole country effectively as the current number of military personnel and policemen appear too small to provide security for the country.
On its part, the president said the federal government will do its best to equip and encourage the military and other security agencies to defeat terrorists wherever they may be found and that, in itself, is a welcome development.
Still, the overwhelming unemployment rate in Nigeria is capable of causing problems. According to the statistics, every tenth young citizen of Nigeria is officially unemployed. Another statistic provided by the National Bureau of Statics (NBS) show that unemployment rate in Nigeria has risen to 14%.
It is the responsibility of the government to create new jobs alongside military assault on insurgents and other criminals. Though the president has already announced new reforms which should help with this task, which have truly yet to start yielding results.
Corruption, within and among the ranks of politicians and the military is another reason threatening the peace of Nigerians because resources meant for the welfare of people and security are frequently and unashamedly diverted into private pockets.
Still, we all must trust and cooperate with the government to bring insecurity to an end.
As CISSA headquarters is inaugurated in Addis Ababa…
In faraway Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, joined President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Mr Abiy Ahmed and other African leaders to inaugurate the headquarters of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services (CISSA).
Soon after the inauguration, the leaders pledge to intensify security cooperation in Africa.
The inauguration of the headquarters, donated by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, took place on the margins of the 33rd AU Summit.
In his remarks, Chairperson of CISSA and Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of Nigeria, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, described the building as a product of vision, generosity, partnership and African solidarity.
He thanked President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea for his generosity and the Prime Minister and Government of Ethiopia for providing the piece of land on which the project is situated.
”Our greatest debt of gratitude, we owe to President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo for his generosity and unrelenting support for the project. Since the laying of the Foundation Stone on 31st January 2017, H.E. President Mbasogo has maintained an active role towards ensuring that the building project is completed on schedule,” he said.
The NIA boss said few member countries, including Sudan, Angola, Djibouti, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania provided seed money for the project.
In its 16 years of existence, CISSA has evolved into a truly continental organisation with 52 members, making significant contributions to the implementation of its mandate, mainly through the support, assistance and contributions of member countries.
Yet, despite progress in conflict prevention and the promotion of peace, defence and security cooperation of African countries, challenges do remain. In particular, factors such as inadequate funds available for peace and security missions, conflicting interests and lack of agreement on some critical issues, poor co-ordination and inadequate human and logistics capacity have constrained the ability of African countries to achieve their peace and security agenda.
Thus, for peace and security efforts to yield results and CISSA to be effective, the actors involved should have not only the requisite capacity, but also political will and commitment, and cooperation among members and with the international community should remain crucial to the process.
In this respect, Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan and South Africa stand out, and it is hoped that with this, Africans have re-committed themselves to the collective task of making Africa safe and stable.
The decision to establish CISSA was made on 26 August 2004 in Abuja, Nigeria, by Heads of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.
The mandate of CISSA is to provide the African Union Commission (AUC) and its members’ services with timely and insightful intelligence, which would assist them in making informed decisions.
CISSA is also a platform where member services exchange intelligence, expertise and experiences while dealing with common threats that affect the continent.