Remarks by President Muhammadu Buhari examines the various law and order issues confronting Nigeria, ranging from Boko Haram insurgency, to herdsmen-farmers’ clashes, cattle rustling and the Niger Delta campaign of sabotage of the oil infrastructure. The speech was delivered on 19 November at the graduation of Senior Executive Course 38 at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Kuru Jos, Plateau State
It is clear that a stable, safe and prosperous society must be the desire of every group of policy makers and executors. It is probably true to say also that the chief function of government is the protection and assurance of the security of lives, livelihoods and the properties of the citizenry.
Indeed at the conceptual level, it explains the reason why individuals and communities give over their right of self-help and self-protection and even vengeance to the state; and the state cannot afford to compromise these responsibilities in anyway. Indeed many nation-states in exercising that duty of ensuring security find themselves unfortunately prioritising the maintenance of law and order over individual and sometimes communal rights.
In recent years, Nigeria has had to deal with fairly significant and sustained breaches of the norms of law and order, these include the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, several cases of herdsmen and farmer clashes, and also cattle rustling, facility and pipeline sabotage in the Niger Delta, kidnappings for ransom and the Shiite-Army and Police clashes with pro-Biafra agitators in the southeast among others.
But beginning with the Boko Haram insurgency, although in the past year, the capacity of the Boko Haram as a military force and to hold territory has, to a level, been degraded, much laws and instability has resulted, and it is essentially a rag-tag left-over that still carry out the itinerant ambushes and raids especially in border territories.
But almost over two million people have been displaced in the Northeast, some in IDP camps, but most in host communities, with orphans in the tens of thousands. As the insurgents fled very many small border hamlets, they left behind women and children that they had held in captivity, in many cases badly malnourished.
Several local and international humanitarian organisations, working in the region have worked hard with the government to contain the large number of individuals of malnourished and dying children. I ordered the establishment of an inter-ministerial task-force of relevant line ministries to create more order and synergy with the humanitarian organisations, NGOs and the UN agencies. Barely two weeks ago, I also formally inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiatives (PCNI) headed by General T.Y. Danjuma, Rtd, to coordinate both official and private initiatives in the region and also ensure that the state governments have the same power to rehabilitate in a particular area where they have found their competence useful.
Only recently, Dikwa Local Government had some of the public buildings, schools, hospitals rebuilt, and the PCNI provided the material while the state government, the builders, artisans and labourers executed the job.
Still the humanitarian tragedies are immense and the losses are enormous.No farming has taken place in many of the villages and communities for over three years. Farmlands in many cases have been mined by the fleeing insurgents and because they are largely at various communities, the deprivation of livelihood and economic opportunities is big.
Invariably, this dents agriculture’s 32 percent contribution to our GDP. Although the terrorists still hold several persons captive, the nation recently received the cheering news of the rescue of 21 of the Chibok girls after practically two years in captivity. They were reunited with their families.