What a week! On Sunday night, insurgents defy the security ring around Maiduguri and carry out a blistering attack in Auno, one of the ancient city’s entry point. 30 lives were lost, many were injured and an unspecified number of persons were abducted.
Governor Babagana Zulum was livid when he visited, and he pointedly bared his mind to the Army and all who cared to listen that negligence led to it.
Almost straightaway from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a worried President Muhammadu Buhari, the butt of criticism, proceeded to Maiduguri to commiserate with the people. Some booed, others welcomed him as social media videos showed..
(Video of Maiduguri residents chanting in Hausa, ‘Ba ma so, Ba Ma yi’ roughly means: ‘we don’t like it, we won’t do it.’)
Hours after he left, the insurgents staged a comeback, sseeking to shoot their way into the city through the Polo area.
According to reports from Maiduguri, those living on the outskirts began fleeing into the city through Polo and Damboa road as the attack lasted. The sounds of booming guns were deafening. Houses were also said to have been set ablaze
But back in Abuja, one of the President’s spokesmen, Mr. Garba Shehu, gives an official account of Buhari’s visit, which did not include the ravaged community of Auno:
It reads: More proactive and decisive measures are to be taken by the Federal Government to put an end to the Boko Haram menace in the country once and for all.
President Muhammadu Buhari who gave the assurance in Maiduguri during a sympathy visit however maintained that intelligence sharing and synergy between law enforcement agencies and the civil populace are critical towards achieving the objectives.
“I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously. 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 environs without the local leadership knowing because traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“I want to call on the leadership at various levels to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens,” the President said.
“We will do our best and I hope history will be kind to us; to recall what was on the ground when we came and what will be on the ground when we leave,” he added.
President Buhari, who was at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Abubakar Ibn Umar Gabai, accompanied by the state Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, sympathised with him and other victims of the attack, prayed for the repose of the soul of the victims.
In his remarks, Governor Zulum thanked the President for identifying with the state in these trying times. He praised the efforts of the military so far, wondering why some people would be comparing the security situation now with what obtained before the Buhari administration came on board:
“Roads were closed, there were sporadic bombings everywhere even within the metropolis. Close to 20 local government areas were under Boko Haram. We are surprised that there seems to be resurgence in 2019.”
He tasked the military to borrow from their successes especially between 2015 and 2017, 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.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party is unimpressed. It told the President to go beyond his sympathy visit to Borno state and take decisive steps to end the killings in that state and other parts of the country.
The party said the booing of President Buhari in Borno state is a clear message to him that Nigerians hold him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.
The statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan, said the booing also shows a loss of confidence in the Buhari Presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He adds: “The PDP demands that Mr. President should not limit his visit to Borno state but also visit other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Taraba and other states to face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure has caused our nation.
“The party hopes that the visit to Borno state, which came only after the PDP and Nigerians criticized Mr. President for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, is not part of the usual presidential media stunts that will not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism.
“The PDP further charges Mr. President to endeavour to go on subsequent visits by road in order to see and feel the agony Nigerians are being subjected to with the parlous state of our road infrastructure and security network under the incompetent and unresponsive Buhari Presidency and APC.
“Our party holds that Nigerians do not deserve a distant President, who sits in the comfort of the Presidential villa and luxury jets, remaining indifferent to the pains, anguish and torments that compatriots suffer on daily basis.
“The PDP hereby calls on Mr. President to quickly embark on these visits and monitor, on first hand basis, the damage which his administration has caused and for which Nigerians are demanding that he resigns and allow more competent hands to manage the affairs of our nation.
“It is only after these visits that the Buhari Presidency will appreciate that those calling on him to rejig the nation’s security architecture mean well for our dear country.”
(Attached video courtesy of PRNigeria)