As the 2019 general election approaches, President Muhammadu Buhari is now actively pushing a theory that the increased violence in the country is mostly the handiwork of “disgruntled politicians”.
“There are pockets of violence in several states. Some deliberately instigated by disgruntled politicians who have lost all arguments and are desperate to cause mayhem as a way of seeking relevance,” the president said on Friday in Monguno, Borno state, where he attended the closing events of the 2018 Army Day celebrations.
Not for the first time
In recent weeks, the presidency has stepped up its blame game for the violence. Shortly after the killing of over 200 people in Plateau state last month, the presidency released a statement accusing politicians of “taking advantage” of longstanding conflicts between herders and farmers in order to gain political advantage.
A few weeks prior to that, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said in an Arise Television interview that “hidden hostile hands have crept” under the umbrella of the crisis to play “irresponsible politics.” According to him, “the opposition in Nigeria has identified security as one of the strong points of the Buhari administration. So they decided to go into that area finding the soft underbelly and stick a knife into it.”
Friday’s comments by the president was however the first time President Buhari was directly stating the accusations himself. He vowed to “fish out and punish” the alleged instigators according to the provisions of the law.
The president said that his government has “worked tirelessly to ensure and preserve the dignity and sanctity of life”, hailing his performance in tackling the challenges of Insecurity, poor economy and corruption.
“We are all witnesses to the fact that our once battered economy as a nation has exited recession and is once again vibrant. Our nation is safe again, thanks to the efforts of our security agencies,” he said.
“I want to use this opportunity to reassure the world, Nigerians and the families of the remaining kidnapped Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu of the Dapchi School girls that this administration will not relent in our efforts to see that they are all released. I also want to reassure all Nigerians that the issue of Farmers and Herdsmen clashes is being tackled and all those found culpable would be brought to justice. Let me quickly remind us at this point to always be tolerant, loving and ready to give peace a chance,” he said.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai said the army had accomplished the President’s objective of stabilizing the Northeast and other parts of the country, and assured of their unwavering support and loyalty to the President and the constitution.
Before his departure, the President also toured one of largest camps housing Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in Monguno town.