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Opinions of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Columnist: Punch

Punch poll: Nigerians counter, Chief of Army Staff, Buratai, say insecurity worsening

Nigerians on social media have countered the claim of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, that the military had succeeded in bringing the level of insecurity in the country under control.

Buratai said this on Monday after he met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at the presidential villa.

The meeting came days after bandits ambushed troops in Faskari, Katsina State, and killed 15 soldiers. It was also reported that over 300 soldiers recently resigned from the Army citing loss of interest, a development that the House of Representatives found worrisome.

In another report, 20 soldiers who were returning from an operation were ambushed and killed by insurgents on the Maiduguri-Damboa Road on July 7.

But Buratai told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that he had succeeded in restoring normalcy in the North-West.

He said, “The security situation, I assure you, is under control and is not like what used to happen a month or two ago. We are working very hard and the troops are doing very well and I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far.”

However, not many Nigerians agree with the Army chief.

According to a poll conducted on The PUNCH social media pages, 88.3 per cent of respondents voted ‘No’ to the question; ‘The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on Monday, assessed the military’s operations against Boko Haram, bandits, others; and he says the situation is under control. Do you agree?’

8.8 per cent of those who participated in the poll agreed with Buratai’s claim, while 2.9 per cent of the voters said they didn’t know.

A breakdown of the votes is as follows; seven per cent of those who voted on Facebook voted ‘Yes’, while 93 per cent, voted ‘No’.

5.4 per cent on Twitter voted ‘Yes’, while 85.9 per cent voted ‘No’, while 8.6 per cent said they didn’t know.

On Punch Instagram, those who voted ‘No’ were 86 per cent, while 14 per cent voted ‘Yes’.

A total of 11,801 voters participated in the poll.

A twitter user, Abioye Babatunde, while reacting to the poll said, “Situation always under control yet no positive results. If these service chiefs still manage security affairs for the country, situation will always be under (c)ontrol even after 50 years. We need better and new hands on desk (sic).”

Stars tweeted, “The 6% who agreed with Buratai are the recently released so-called repentant Boko Haram members, the 9% who don’t know are those who are still benefiting from the killings but have been overwhelmed by the thickness of the blood flowing which will consume all of them soon.”

Ubong Edet Ekoi asked, “Why do we still have bandits operating in Zamfara State? Why do we still have kidnappings along Kaduna Abuja expressway…?”

Timi Lewis Afolabi on Facebook said, “Don’t the service Chiefs have sense of honour to bow out? Nigerians are fed up with them. They have failed and yet they keep staying in office to give excuses for their poor performance.

“I pity the war-devasted Northern Nigeria and the poor Southerners whose resources they’re wasting to prosecute an endless useless war.”

On his part, Sadiq Mustapha Muhammad, also on Facebook stated that his confidence in the Buhari regime has been punctured. He wrote, “My confidence in Buhari has been punctured. I no longer feel Nigeria has a future. There is not a single reason to believe otherwise.”

Oyebade Tominsin Felix wondered, “Despite the everyday killings, what situation exactly is under control?

Meanwhile, the Senate at the plenary on Tuesday had asked the service chiefs to step aside following the killings of soldiers, and many of them demoralised.

The motion was brought to the floor of the Senate via a point of order, moved by the Chairman of its Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume.

In response, the Presidency said that only Buhari can determine the sacking of the service chiefs.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement titled, ‘Service chiefs: Position of Presidency on resolution by the Senate’, said, “The Presidency notes the resolution and reiterates that appointment or sacking of service chiefs is a presidential prerogative, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.”

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