From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, blamed the delay in supply of military hardware by manufactures for the handicap the administration is facing in fighting Boko Haram, bandits and other violent crimes in the country.
He stated this shortly after observing the Eid prayer, marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast at Aso Villa, Abuja, yesterday, while calling for understanding by Nigerians.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said: “The elite should make the attempt to understand the military. If we order for weapons and armoured vehicles, it takes time for the manufacturers to ship them, and when brought here, eventually, they are taken to training institutions, where we train the trainers before sending them to the field. This is a very long process. I expect Nigerians to be more understanding on the issues involved, looking at time and available resources.
“For example, when we came in, in the North East, ask people in Adamawa and Borno States and the South South in terms of security. Without security, you can’t do anything. Our big surprise and disappointment is what is happening in the Northwest, and we are dealing with it.”
He, however, vowed to use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits, to ensure that they do not create havoc against access to farms and food production in the coming farming season.
The president’s statement coming after nearly six years in power is, however, seen by many as contradicting his 2015 election promise of ridding the country of all forms of terrorism and insurgency within the shortest possible time. Under his reign, violent crimes have been on the increase, spreading from the North East to North West and, lately, South east and South South where Fulani herdsmen and bandits have invaded communities, farmlands and schools, killing and kidnapping hundreds for ransom.
The president, while expressing the hope for a good rainy season this year, said “the law enforcement agencies are working hard to regain confidence against bandits, so that we can go back to the land. This is very important. This is what the agencies are busy doing right now. We want people to go back to the land, so that we can get enough food for the country and even export.”
Explaining ongoing efforts to tackle the security situation in the country by the administration, Buhari drew attention to the series of long meetings held in recent weeks, chaired by him, saying that a part of resolutions had been made public by the National Security Adviser and the others kept secret.
“With the resources and manpower available to us, we are working very hard. We are hoping Nigerians will understand the problem. Nigerians know at what stage we came in in 2015, what state we are today, both on security and the economy, and we are doing our best.”
The president commended the National Assembly for its support, saying emphatically that “the National Assembly is cooperating very well. Within the resources available, they are certainly giving us priority on our (military) requests.”
Meanwhile, the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has thanked God for enabling them witness the end of Ramadan.
She appealed to Nigerian women to take responsibility of their children by guarding and protecting them against abuse and other vices.
•Young farmers urge emergency plan to forestall food crisis
The Nigeria Young Farmers Network has said an emergency national food security plan, that would actively engage the private sector, is critical to forestall the nation’s imminent food crisis.
The Director General (DG) of the network, Mr Promise Amahah, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday.
Amahah spoke against the backdrop of the relentless increase in prices of food and agricultural produce in Nigerian markets, which he warned might lead to a national food crisis very soon.
He said that government alone could not achieve reasonable progress in this regard, adding that more intensive action was required to address the challenge.
Amahah said the Federal Government needed to provide the enabling environment for companies and startups providing solutions like storage facilities, logistics, payments, among others.
•Onyewuchi harps on justice, fairness
The Senator representing Imo East Senatorial District, Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi, has commended the Southern Governors Forum for what he described as their principled and patriotic position on various issues bedeviling Nigeria.
In a statement by his media aide, Chiaka Alozie, the senator insisted that in line with the position of the governors, only justice and fairness can guarantee the unity and progress of the country.
Onyewuchi bemoaned the hardship faced by millions of Nigerians, adding that there is an urgent need to address the rising insecurity, economic downturn and increasing agitations by different ethnic nationalities, for the restructuring of the country.
He said that Nigerians yearn for a country that works for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds, while taking into consideration the sensitivity of the diversity of the country.
He urged the southern governors to continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure that the dream for a better Nigeria is realised.