The President Muhammad Buhari led administration has again come under heavy criticism this time from the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Middle Belt Forum over the claim by the President that peace and stability have been restored in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.
In recent days, Nigeria has seen a significant rise in insecurity, including the kidnap of 35 people on Damaturu-Maiduguri road by Boko Haram.
But on Thursday, President Buhari commended the nation’s military, saying they succeeded in restoring stability in the North-East, including Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted Buhari as speaking at the induction and inauguration of newly acquired NAF MI-171E helicopter, two reactivated Alpha Jets and one L39ZA aircraft, all belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
The statement was titled, ‘We remain unyielding in confronting insurgency and other criminality, says President Buhari as he commissions new Air Force helicopter’.
Shehu quoted the President as commending the security forces for successes recorded so far especially by restoring “some level of stability not only in Borno and Yobe states but also in Adamawa State.”
He said the President noted that his regime had boosted the capacity of the Nigerian Air Force by the acquisition of 23 brand new aircraft in recent times with more still on the way.
The President said, “These 23 new aircraft are aside from the 15 additional aircraft, including 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States of America and 3 JF-17 Thunder Multi-Role Fighter aircraft from Pakistan that has been procured and will soon be delivered.”
In a reaction to the President’s claim of stability, the National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Porgu, asked Mr. President where and how he achieved the stability in the affected areas
Dr. Porgu, who spoke with reporters in Jos, maintained that the reality on the ground in Borno with regard to security situation was at variance with Buhari’s position.
The Middle Belt leader recounted the many incidents of killings, abductions, and attacks by Boko Haram, which occurred in Borno communities in recent times, including Chibok, Michika, Gwoza, Askira, Maiduguri-Damaturu road, among others.
Dr. Porgu said, “Boko Haram has been killing people in these areas nearly every day. Up till now, many people in Gwoza and Michika, who ran for their safety to Cameroun, have yet to return to their ancestral homes due to the activities of Boko Haram.”
On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, knocked the President’s claim coming in light of the slaughtering of over 40 farmers at Zarbarmari in Borno State by insurgents, saying, “This is not stability.”
Also reacting to the President’s claim, the Coalition of Northern Groups CNG’s spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said, “The Nigerian public has for long lost confidence in the ability of the President and his men to tell even simple thing as the truth.
“In any case, a government that is infested with such grandmasters of half and untruth, propaganda and uncouth lies as the Information Minister and the two presidential media aides cannot expect to be taken seriously.
“In a region where farmers are prohibited from accessing their farms, motorways cannot be passed, schools are attended at personal risk, and policing has become a major problem generally, no leader can boast of success in restoration of stability.
“Obviously, the presidency is coming up with this fresh gaffe to distract attention from the nationwide concern over the Financial Times report that Nigeria under the current administration (regime) is at the brinks of becoming a failed state.”