TWO socio-political groups; the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Middle Belt Forum have expressed anger over the claim by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that peace and stability have been restored in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
Also, the Coalition of Northern Groups described the President’s claim as uncouth lies and added that Nigerians had lost confidence in the Buhari and his men to tell the truth.
The three states are known to be among the northern states that have been devastated by terrorist groups, including Boko Haram.
President Buhari had on Thursday commended the nation’s security forces, saying they succeeded in restoring stability in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted Buhari as speaking at the induction and inauguration of newly acquired NAF MI-171E helicopter, two reactivated Alpha Jets and one L39ZA aircraft, all belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
The statement was titled, ‘We remain unyielding in confronting insurgency and other criminality, says President Buhari as he commissions new Air Force helicopter’.
Shehu quoted the President as commending the security forces for successes recorded so far especially by restoring “some level of stability not only in Borno and Yobe states but also in Adamawa State.”
He said the President noted that his regime had boosted the capacity of the Nigerian Air Force by 23 brand new aircraft in recent times with more still on the way.
The President said, “These 23 new aircraft are aside the 15 additional aircraft, including 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States of America and 3 JF-17 Thunder Multi-Role Fighter aircraft from Pakistan that have been procured and will soon be delivered.”
The Nigerian leader said he had released two Agusta 101 helicopters from the Presidential Air Fleet to the Nigerian Air Force to improve its tactical lift capability.
Claim at variance with reality, says MBF
Reacting, the National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Porgu, asked Mr President where and how he achieved the stability in the affected areas
Porgu, who spoke with in Jos, maintained that the reality on the ground in Borno with regard to security situation was at variance with Buhari’s position.
The Middle Belt leader recounted many incidents of killings, abductions and attacks by Boko Haram, which occurred in Borno communities in recent times, including Chibok, Michika, Gwoza, Askira, Maiduguri-Damaturu road, among others.
Porgu said, “Boko Haram has been killing people in these areas nearly every day. Up till now, many people in Gwoza and Michika, who ran for their safety to Cameroun, have yet to return to their ancestral homes due to the presence of Boko Haram.”
No stability in North-East, ACF insists
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, noted with shock what the President meant by saying the Nigerian security agencies had stabilised Borno, Adamawa and Yobe; the three states considered as the epicentre of the Boko Haram attacks.
Yawe told one of our correspondents in Kaduna that the President’s claim came on the heels of the slaughtering of over 40 farmers at Zarbarmari in Borno State by insurgents, saying, “This is not stability.”
Nigerians have lost confidence in President– CNG
On its part, CNG’s spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said, “The Nigerian public has for long lost confidence in the ability of the President and his men to tell even simple thing as the truth.
“In any case, a government that is infested with such grandmasters of half and untruth, propaganda and uncouth lies as the Information Minister and the two presidential media aides cannot expect to be taken seriously.
“In a region where farmers are prohibited from accessing their farms, motorways cannot be passed, schools are attended at personal risk and policing has become a major problem generally, no leader can boast of success in restoration of stability.
“Obviously, the presidency is coming up with this fresh gaffe to distract attention from the nationwide concern over the Financial Times report that Nigeria under the current administration (regime) is at the brinks of becoming a failed state.”