Emmanuel Umohinyang, was until recently, Convener, Re-elect Buhari Movement (RBM), a foremost Political Support Group that worked for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election. He speaks on contemporary issues, including the upsurge in crime rate and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) recent criticisms of the president.
What are your thoughts on the upsurge in post-election violence in the country?
I think you must understand that before the last election, we were more or less like a country that was domesticated in Rome. The crime rate was so low. The farmers-herders crisis subsided drastically, but what we have seen now is that the insecurity we are experiencing are man-made. They are artificial in nature, induced from some quarters and we cannot divorce this from politicians, reason being that these politicians arm thugs with all manner of weapons just to secure electoral victory. But the question now is, are they able to retrieve these arms from these boys? The answer is no. So, the upsurge in terms of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery is not unexpected. We have always seen politics from the angle of winner takes all and you know the Nigerian politicians, they don’t think about the country. Their interest is the election. As soon as they get what they want, they don’t care about the people. All they care about is their interest, how to line their pockets with available resources meant for development of the country. I am not surprised that there in an upsurge in crime. I am not surprised at all. You know we did not experience this prior to the election because they were all busy trying to fix themselves on their political platforms. Elections are over, those who lost and those who won, all armed their thugs, and now they cannot retrieve the arms from them. You know an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, so these people have ventured into crime with the available material in their hands. I think we must blame the political actors in the last election for the rise in crime in our country.
Do you agree with critics and the opposition that the scenario could be attributed to governance failure?
Each time you mention the opposition, I want to believe you are making direct reference to the PDP, and when you look at our constitution, section 14(2) makes provision for the security of our people and general wellbeing of Nigerians. Maybe the opposition is speaking from experience because they were there before. Under President Muhammadu Buhari, we have a different perspective on the issues of security and wellbeing. Right from his ascension of the throne in 2015, the president has done his best. We know how things used to be before the 2015 general elections. We had to even suspend election for six weeks so that some mercenaries can be brought to clear the remnants of the Boko Haram in the North-East. When this president came, you saw that his first step was to get our neighbours to key into his idea on how to tackle this menace and today we can beat our chest and say not an inch of our country is in the hands of these rag-tag fellows. When you now look at these fellows who had been in government for 16 years pointing accusing fingers at a party that has just been there for less than four years, then it is funny. When you look at the record of the president in the areas of security, you cannot but give him a pass mark. He has done very well. He has been able to galvanise the little resources at his disposal to put these things together and ensure that our brothers and sisters, whether in the North or the South are safe.
Drawing reference from the PDP is like just trying to draw them into the media space. They do not deserve the attention of Nigerians. They were there for 16 years and places like Abuja were not places you could go, there were threats of Boko Haram even in the Southern part of Nigeria, so the opposition lacks the moral right to talk about insecurity. Coming from where we were four years ago, we know there is meaningful progress. The security agencies are not sleeping as they are continually strategising. Even the acting Inspector-General of Police recently launched ‘Operation puff Ada’ and they are doing excellently well in the Kaduna-Abuja axis. We, the citizens also have the responsibility to ensure we give them necessary information for optimum performance.
Do you agree that kidnapping has taken a giant leap under this administration?
I don’t think so. It will be correct to say that kidnapping and its twin brother -armed robbery have been with us, as long as I could remember and so it would not be right to say it is under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. I would rather say some new ideas have been brought into kidnapping and the government is also rising up to that challenge and I think that is as the major reason the acting Inspector – General of Police launched the‘Operation Puff Ada’. Today, you can see the Abuja – Kaduna road, famous for kidnapping. That has reduced. Recently, you also heard of the arrest of several kidnappers. I think it will be very difficult to say a particular crime has increased under a particular administration. We need to be very clear about the statistics that have been put forward. I listened to the figures on Nigerians that have been killed recently in Kaduna by the acting Inspector – General of Police. When you put those figures side by side with what we used to have, you will come to the understanding that it has even reduced compared to what used to be our lot. If I were a member of PDP, I would advise the party to come together and assist the government. Just like what we had in Rivers, where the governor waved the olive branch, calling the opposition to join him to stop the crime bedeviling the state, you saw how the APC responded. The country is our country; we have no other as the president has always said. Whatsoever we need to do to curb this menace, we just have to come together to do it. It’s not time to play politics with human lives. It’s not time to score political points. We should all rise and ensure that those bandits do not disintegrate our country.