President Muhammadu Buhari has made it clear that he had told the military and other security personnel to henceforth be brutal on all forces of disruption of the country’s march to progress.
“I have now told the military and the Police to be brutal. From now, we will speak the language they understand and in the coming weeks, you’ll get exactly what I am saying………”
President Buhari who featured in Arise Television programme in Lagos today, June 10, emphasized: “we have given the police and the military power to be ruthless and you watch it, in a few weeks time there will be difference.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they will understand.”
The President stressed that his statement about speaking the language the destructive would understand is very simple.
“It is meant for all criminals in Nigeria. What it means for the IPOB is that I will go after them through the military and police and rid them of their criminal tendencies. I have no regret whatsoever” (in saying so, leading to his removal from Twitter).”
Parts of the President’s response to the questions are reproduced here:
Would you go for state police as a way of addressing the current security challenges?
I have been reading it in the newspapers. In the past, traditional institutions were very effective.
”Two South West Governors came to me to say cattle rearers were destroying farms in their states. I asked them what happened to the grassroot security panels: from traditional rulers to Local Governments who meet regularly to identify the root of their problems and identify crooks within their environment and apprehend the criminals.
“Who destroyed this system? Go back and fix it, give your people sense of belongings.
“I don’t like it when people campaign to become Governors and people trusted them with their votes and after winning, they can’t perform. They would be trying to push responsibilities to others. ……..we have three tiers of Government Federal, State and Local.”
What is your position on the call for restructuring or devolution of powers?
Devolution of powers, you have to define it. Well, actually, the local government system has been killed. The federal, state and local government; if they agree to flow properly, we would not have all these problems. But the problem is that local government has been virtually killed and this is not good for this country.
Those who become local government chairmen have been compromised. If your local government is entitled to receive N300 million and later you are only given N100 million, the Chairman would keep quiet…..is that how we will continue?
On lopsided appointments
You are saying that someone who had gone through military and police training all his life should not be appointed to lead the military or police department he works with just because we must balance appointments?
What are you saying?
The system didn’t restrict anyone from joining the military or the police, and if you decided not to join, we would not force you but you too will not force us to bring someone who is not qualified in training and experience when it comes to leadership of these institutions just because we want to balance some appointments……..
So how can we reduce the powers of governors, President and give more powers to local governments by writing a new constitution
I think this question of accountability is very important. For example, our generation I spent nine years in boarding school and the teachers, if you do well you are brought in front of the classroom and praised. If you didn’t, you are flogged. But now, a friend (Bakare) who came back from the United States and visited his Alma Mater said he couldn’t differentiate between the teachers and the students. The teachers used to take students as their children and had all the time for them, but the standard has virtually collapsed.
Schools in Northern parts of the country have been subjects of attacks. If these schools are being attacked, how do you think you can lift 100 million people out of poverty.
Well try and appreciate what efforts the federal government has done. One, we have removed all the service chiefs and inspector general of police. We brought in new ones, we allowed them to go round and see the problem. They give feedback all the time, but now they are in charge. They accepted the responsibility of their offices, their priorities is to make sure they bring normalcy and are working very hard.
We can’t give you some information because we don’t want to give earlier warning to the real criminals. The ones from Northeast we know, ones from south south we know, the problem is the north west . The same people killing each other, stealing each other’s cattle.
On the rising corruption, how did we get here and what’s the way out?
When we came in, we closed the borders with Benin Republican and Niger Republic. We asked Nigerians to grow what they will eat, because the importation of rice and other food stuff we stopped it. We are impressed with the direction of Nigeria.
Would you say you are winning the battle against corruption?
Corruption is very difficult under this system. Even under the military system. But, I will not change. Whenever we have an intelligence of anyone that is being accountable, we ease him out. We don’t give too much publicity. I assure you that those who are responsible know that we don’t tolerate corruption.
The problem in the northeast is difficult. The present governor is working very hard. I asked him this Boko Haram is it Nigerians and he said yes. You can’t kill innocent people and say God’s great. I think we have a problem of unemployment, poverty. A lot of youths are basically looking for what to eat, not to talk of accommodation. The level of poverty is almost unimaginable and it’s a huge problem. Those who are keeping in touch with what we are doing, they know the difference between the time we came in and now. They know what they were in and they know the condition now.
The service Chiefs were changed, the ones that succeeded them are still part of the apparatus. We had series of meetings with them which lasted for hours. Last year I allowed them to go round and see the position on ground, they made changes in their offices and told them that what confidence did you rebate as you observed. I think that’s is being done, we are giving it less publicity because we don’t want to make them aware we are taking them head on. But I think those who are in the field know. For example we stop mining in Zamfara, we expelled foreigners and we are talking to the government, although he’s not in the federal government party. But we went to secure Zamfara , Sokoto and so on. But the question is our local security apparatus. We have police in every town, who are supposed to be there to ensure security. I too was overwhelmed with what was happening in the North East, but we are treating them as criminals now. They are experiencing a lot of casualties, you will not see it because they don’t want to demoralize their recruitments. But they are suffering a lot of casualties.
On the rail to Niger
If you recall, when I came, I went to Chad, I went to Niger, I went to Cameroon. Look at what happened with Boko Haram. If we were not in a good relationship with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, Boko Haram would have done worse things to us and you say I am going to Niger.
I told you the border between us and Niger is 1, 500km. I spoke to one French man and I had to tell him this. He spoke nonsense and I told him look, in 1885, you sat down and drew lines (boundaries). I said I have first cousins in Niger. There are Kanuris, there are Hausas, there are Fulanis in Niger Republic just as there are Yorubas in Benin. You can’t absolutely cut them off.”
On farmer/ herder conflicts, open grazing. What steps are you taking to put an end to farmers herders clash
I have asked to dig up gazettes of the First Republic. There are cattle routes and grazing areas. The routes and the areas are known. You have to stay there and if you allow your cattle to stray into another person’s farm you will be arrested.”
So the herders are limited, there route is known, grazing area is known. So I asked for the gazette to make sure that those who encroached on the cattle route and grazing areas will be dispossessed. There’s a cattle this thing between the Tivs and Fulanis so the governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom said I’m not disciplining the cattle rearers because I’m one of them. I cannot say I’m not one of them but Ortom was unfair to me and I told him that the Nigerian cattle rearer was not carrying anything more than a stick or machete to cut some trees. But those sophisticated ones are going with AK 47. Fulani from some parts of Africa looks the same. So they think they are the Nigerian ones, so I assure you we are trying to resuscitate these cattle routes and grazing areas and make them accountable.
When you look at NNPC, military, the people who have been there for 18 years or ten years, trained in Zaria, or Abeokuta. They came through the ranks and because they served under all the circumstances and they gradually rise to that status. Those positions have to be earned. There are people who have been there for 10 to 15 years. When you join you go through the program and you rise by the system.
On the Army Chief, you can’t just pick somebody because of seniority. You put somebody who has been in the mill, worked, and fought with the soldiers they know him.
On south east not feeling like they belong
Get list of civil servants, there are people from the south east.
On power rotation
My desire for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre to outlive his government after 2023.
It will be unfair for someone to sit in Lagos and dictate the party’s zoning formula for the 2023 general poll.
The hope of this administration is to see APC last beyond it. Therefore we should allow the party to decide. You cannot sit here in Lagos, for instance, and decide on the fate of APC on zoning. The restructuring of the party has begun from the bottom to the top with the membership card registration. Every member of the party must be involved.
We will soon conduct our convention. No single member of the party will be allowed to go against the wish of the party. We should allow the party to decide, We started from bottom up and I gave the …….chairman till the end of this month for the committee to develop terms on the convention that we are going to conduct and then arrange all the elections . We will start this from bottom up. The zoning depends on the party, the party sit and make it’s decision by the constituency and so on.
What can you do to make Nigeria more competitive for foreign investment
This question was answered when there was end SARS. My answer to that , we got the numbers of executive council …in the constitution every state must be represented. So I got them, I said each one should go to his state, speak to your traditional leaders, business people. The federal government no more vacancies, its full, go to any state governor and ask him to give you contract or job. He will tell you there’s no vacancy, same thing with local government.
Nobody is going to invest in an insecure environment. Tell the youths that if they want jobs they should behave themselves. Make sure Nigeria is secure. So that people can come in and invest. Nobody will invest in an unstable environment. So you behave yourselves, make Nigeria secure then foreigners will invest.