President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 10, granted an interview with Arise TV.
During the revealing interview, President Buhari publicly addressed subjects such as the IPOB, insecurity, economy, and corruption in Nigeria.
Buhari analysed the following issues and clarified some of his recent comments and decisions.
On reference to Civil War
“My statement about speaking language 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.”
”We have changed Service Chiefs, who were also part of the system during previous tenures, and tasked them to go round the country and make changes where necessary. We can’t divulge what they are doing so as not to make the bandits aware of our strategy. However, the important thing is local security operations. We have police in every town and I’ve been pushing them to sustain their work. Bandits are experiencing heavy casualties.”
On Border Closure & Corruption
”We are impressed with Nigerians who went back to the farm. We made sure our neighbours especially the Niger Republic understand it. The Niger government cooperated with us. (Fighting) corruption is very difficult under this system (and even under the military system). But in this system, doing things with immediate effect is not possible because those who have the money can hire first-class lawyers and cases may take 10 years. I, Buhari assure you, despite the problem with the system, if we have correct intelligence that someone is not accountable, we ease them out. Those in top positions in my government know this.”
On Alleged Lopsided Appointments into the Security Architecture
”You’re saying 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 will 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.”
On Open Grazing
”What I did was ask governors to go and dig the gazette of the First Republic. There are cattle routes and grazing areas. If you allow your cattle to stray into any farm, you are arrested. The problem is trying to understand the culture of the cattle rearers. The Nigerian cattle rearer has nothing else about from machetes and sticks to cut trees for cattle. Fulani herders from outside Nigeria (who look the same as Nigerians) move to Nigeria and they look like they are from Nigeria and some of them carry AK 47.”
South East Security Crises
”IPOB is like a dot in a circle, if they want to exist, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having business and property, I think IPOB doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Anyway, we’ve said we’ll talk to them in the language they understand, we’ll organise the police and military to pursue them, that’s what we can do and we’ll do it.”
On Shekau’s Death & Security in North East
”Governor Zulum of Borno told me Boko Haram are Nigerians. You can’t kill innocent people and say “God is Great”. We have a problem of unemployment. The level of poverty is almost unimaginable. Those who are really keeping in touch with what we are doing, know the difference between when we came in and now. The people in North East and South-South can tell you the difference.”
On State Police
”I’ve told governors who came to me to complain about herders and farmers crises to go back to the old system where traditional leaders, police, traders, and elders meet regularly to discuss the security situation in their localities and solve them. And if it is above them, they pass it on. Governors can’t go round and win elections and then sit tight and wait for somebody to do their jobs for them.”
Infrastructure to the Niger Republic
”How many neighbours do we have? You have to cultivate your relationship with your neighbours, if you don’t, you are in trouble. Nigerians have first cousins and relatives in Nigeria, Benin Republic. Also, Niger has discovered oil. We want them to transport their products through Nigeria instead of Benin by building rail (to Maradi) and good roads.”