From Fred Itua, Abuja
Former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, yesterday, said northern elders were unhappy with President Muhammadu Buhari over the handling of security challenges in the region.
He accused the administration of relegating the security of lives and property of Nigerians to the background, while spending billions of naira on COVID-19. He said less than 2,000 persons have, so far, been killed by COVID-19 in the country, whereas thousands of Nigerians have been murdered by bandits and from other violent crimes.
“It is untrue that security is improving; it is getting worse. If you go to schools in the north, you have many orphans whose parents have been killed by bandits. Just few days ago, about 14 people were killed in my village in Sokoto,” he said.
Bafarawa, who served as governor of Sokoto State between 1999-2007, said northern leaders could not afford to be silent and allow more people killed, while the government did nothing.
“We can’t keep mute because our person from the north is in power. If we don’t speak, when a southerner becomes president, we won’t have the right to express our feelings. Thousands of people are displaced in the north and in other parts of the country. Instead of the government to spend N400 billion on COVID-19 vaccine, why can’t we spend it to buy security equipment; insecurity is our coronavirus in Nigeria.
“The threats and acts of armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other forms of arson being perpetrated in our region and Nigeria in general is to say the least, taking an unnecessary dimension to the level that no sane society would watch and perhaps wrap up everything in the hands of the government. Everyone of us as members of the society should bear it in mind that while the government does what it is supposed to be doing, we should also be seen to contribute our quota towards achieving the desired goals of ridding our society of these acts of barbarism.
“Considering the attention that Nigeria is giving to the issue of COVID-19 is to say the least getting out of proportion to the extent that other important key areas of our socio-economic development and prosperity are relegated to the background. Even the challenges being posed by our educational system, economic and agricultural activities as well as most importantly security of our country are being severely affected. It appears that the main focus of the federal government is completely shifted to the issue of coronavirus not minding the insecurity issue which is affecting the country for close to a decade now.”