Former military head of state and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Gen, Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), wants an immediate stop to the buck-passing between the federal and state governments over security issues if the ongoing threats to life and property in the country must be overcome.
The former military ruler, reviewing the situation in the country, called for the adoption of a holistic approach.
Speaking on the backdrop of the abduction of over 200 school girls by Boko Haram in Borno State, Buhari said: “Security agencies of the (federal) government need closer cooperation with civilian security infrastructure which is in place but seldom considered as a part of the security effort”.
He added: “The local government structure from ward to district to state level is an excellent starting point for an over-all new security initiative. State-wide effort should be carefully coordinated with federal authorities. It should be a bottom-to-top operation. The bickering between Abuja and the states should cease if we are serious in wanting to win the war and end the conflict. All moneys voted must demonstrably be seen to be spent on security”.
He, therefore, urged all Nigerians to “come together with unequivocal support to the government and security agencies in this fight against mindless violence and mad-cap ideologies”.
He added that the country should have “one narrative” about Boko Haram, which he described as an abhorrent, anti-Islamic, anti-religion and anti-human sect.
Buhari also welcomed the foreign assistance rendered to Nigeria in its effort to rescue the abducted girls but advocated that the command and control of the operation should be led by Nigerians while the international security experts should “respect the country’s sovereignty and be wary of local sensitivities”.
On the state of the economy, the APC leader faulted the recent rebase of the country’s GDP which made Nigeria the largest economy in Africa.
He said the figures “are at variance with the lived experience of our citizens” with poverty, according to him, “so visible, so general and so extreme”.
Government, he stressed, “must take a serious look at our economic policy priorities and rebalance our policies in favour of agriculture and manufacturing to take people out of poverty and make them consumers for the expansion of the productive private sector and manufacturing”.
Such policies, Buhari said, must create jobs for millions of young unemployed and create opportunities for the millions entering the labor market every year.