Dear Senate President,

I hope this meets you well. Over the last few days, the legislative arm which you lead has come under criticism for not refusing the N27bn ear marked by President Buhari for renovation of the National Assembly QComplex. As I am sure you must have heard or seen several people say on social media, that sum is enough to upgrade government hospitals to appreciable standards and ensure none of you panic when countries abroad lockdown.

In the heat of the outrage by Nigerians, you perhaps in a bid to reciprocate President Buhari’s generousity by taking some pressure off him, told the media that ‘International Politics’ was responsible for our security agencies’ inability to contain insecurity in the country. You said it was hard to buy what we needed from countries abroad and that while it takes others just 2 months, ours lasts 6-9 months. Let me start off with this question; did Buhari come into power 6-9 months ago?

Going by the duration you have put forth, we should at the very least have gotten a consignment of arms and other equipment once every year for the 5 years Buhari has been President. There are countries plagued with just as much security issues that haven’t bought anything for their military in 3 years. It is simply not possible to justify the dreadful handling of security with that explanation. If anything, it is an indictment on this government’s incompetence. In a nutshell, Boko Haram, bandits and killer herdsmen have operated unhindered over the years because the Buhari administration cannot equip the security agencies every 2 months. What sort of rubbish is that? The least you all can do is refrain from insulting our collective intelligence.

The reason why we are losing to terror and crime is simple-Government simply doesn’t want to tackle the problem head on. President Buhari unlawfully withdrew $496M from the Excess Crude Account without Senate approval to pay for 12 Super Tucano planes in the US because according to him, he wanted to beat a deadline. He notified the Senate of this in April 2018 but the contract for those planes wasn’t even awarded by the US Pentagon till November 2018 and it turned out the contract sum was $329M with an unequivocally clear not-too-exceed sum of $344M. Till date the man hasn’t told us where over $150M of our money is.

Those planes were originally scheduled to arrive this year but subsequent reports suggest the date has been pushed back. $496M is half of the $1bn he had the governors approve for him to tackle insecurity; a move many attributed to the need to have a financial war chest ready for the 2019 elections. Do you honestly think it was wise to spend that much on military hardware that won’t be available for use till 2, 3 or 4 years from the date of purchase? Will the animals killing Nigerians cease their dastardly acts till our security operatives are formidable enough to give them a good fight? Say it as it is, Buhari’s incompetent and corrupt government lack the will to tackle insecurity.

Some of your peers in the APC were very vocal about the theory that President Jonathan was sponsoring Boko Haram and didn’t want the war to end. It is very sad that they are now silent under a President that has provided justifiable reasons to be labelled a terrorist. Do you know what it does to the morale of the average soldier to know that government is setting free terrorists they are still in a war with in the name of ‘repentance’? Or that a Major General who made a video on how him and his troops were led into an ambush by bad intelligence ended up being punished for it?

There is also the issue of how the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces sat and looked the other way instead of liasing with Chad as the leader of the Joint task force set up by President Jonathan when they embarked on an onslaught against the sect to ensure they are no hiding places on our side of the border. Nigeria sat back and resorted to arguing whether Chad crossed our borders or not. The whole world; the US especially see all this and know our leaders are not committed to tackling insecurity. France moved down to Africa months ago to help their former colonies fight terrorism and as I write this, they are all celebrating the killing of the African leader of Al-Qaeda, Abdelmalek Droukdel in Mali. Countries don’t consider our arms purchase requests a priority because they know it really isn’t so. The least our colonial masters; the UK would do is help us fast track purchases but I doubt anyone has even asked them to talk more sending troops down here.’International Politics’ is not the problem, President Buhari’s lack of commitment to the cause is.

The Chadian President has promised never to allow any Chadian soldier fight outside their territory again. Maybe that is what Buhari wants. With a man like Idris Derby around to make a lot of noise, it is impossible to imagine Buhari being named ‘ECOWAS Covid-19 Champion’ without some sort of secret donation to member countries ahead of places like Senegal that not only have thrice as fewer cases despite testing more than twice as much but have also been profiled in the foreign media for producing $1 test kits & improvised ventilators.

Let me ask this Sir- How many boko haram members are being prosecuted in our courts today? How many killer herdsmen are being made to face the law as a deterrent to those out there? None we know of.Under Buhari, we assume they are all treated as ‘repentant’ souls. Please let us lick our wound in peace and stop rubbing salt on it by attributing our problems to ‘International Politics’ when we all have eyes and ears. Get Buhari to tackle insecurity. Thank you.
Concerned Nigerian

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano

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