After the 2015 presidential election, Nigeria returned to what appear to be days of brutal military rule, but in a modernized form.
Corruption, insecurity and crisis have worsen in the oil-rich African giant under the new government of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim and former military head of State who overthrew the elected government of Shehu Shagari in 1983 and served from 1983 to 1985.
In 2015, President Buhari and his party – the All Progressive Congress (APC), described the government led by former President Goodluck Jonathan as “corrupt,” and promised to deliver “change” to Nigerians, who as of today are entangled.
After the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Goodluck Jonathan, the former Nigerian president, lost the 2015 elections, Jonathan said in a speech; “I am the most abused and insulted president in the world, but when I leave office you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed under my government.” It seems that this is being played out as Nigerians begin to miss the human rights they enjoyed during his administration.
Whenever the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari disobeys a court order or go after vocal citizens as it did in the case of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu (the leader of the Nigerian separatist group, Indigeneous People of Biafra), Omoyele Sowore (journalist and organizer of #Revolution, a group protesting against bad government), and the arrest and murder of peaceful demonstrators; Nigerians are quick to regret and refer to the above quote from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
— Corruption Became Worse —
Although several efforts have been made to prosecute corrupt individuals and those who have stolen public funds, the fight has suffered many setbacks and corruption has increased by 40% compared to the previous administration.
Observers and many Nigerians have criticized the “fight against corruption”, accusing the government of using it to hunt down “perceived enemies”.
A critical examination of corruption cases by 9africa.com of Africa Guardian has shown that the Buhari administration allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment. It is like the case of Bola Tinubu and other leaders of his party whose cases of corruption are ignored.
The U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in its ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018’ states among others that “there is a climate of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari government that allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment.” The agency also said, “In their prosecution of corruption cases, law enforcement and intelligence agencies often failed to follow due process and arrested suspects without appropriate arrest and search warrants.”
Femi Aribisala, scholar and international affairs expert had criticized President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war, he said at a round table organized by the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law in the University of Lagos; “There is no fight against corruption in Nigeria. “You cannot fight corruption with corruption.
“Corruption is more than just the stealing of money. If you disobey the rule of law, you have corrupted the system. If you create an avenue where you have a big margin between the official foreign exchange rate and the parallel market rate, there’s going to be corruption. If you have children of the rich getting into the CBN on nepotistic grounds, the corruption is still with you.
“If you have a budget that is padded left right and centre, and after this was revealed you passed it and say only a small amount changed in it, and we do not know what is in the new budget, you can’t say you are against corruption. There is no transparency in any of these things”
— Insecurity Became Worse —
Another challenge that Nigeria faces is the increasing insecurity. The activities of the Islamic terrorist group – Boko Haram, which President Buhari’s administration had promised to end, have worsened, mainly in northern parts of the country. Residents report that terrorists seized their community, erected roadblocks and collect taxes, but the Nigerian military continued to oppose the information.
Despite the efforts of the military, attacks and deaths are recorded every day. Most worrisome is the burning of churches and the massacre of Christians which have worsened since November 2019.
— Fulani Herders Another Terrorist Group? —
In addition to the killings perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists, violence and killings have also intensified in the southern part of Nigeria following the attacks by Fulani herders (herders from the President’s ethnic group). Farm produce are destroyed, villages are looted and razed, and people are killed daily by the herders. The government has described it as a clash between herders and farmers, but the affected communities have said “it is not true”.
In many reports, residents have accused security agents of helping herders carry out attacks. The governor of Delta State in the southern part of the country, Ifeanyi Okowa, had also accused the security agents of aiding the herders to attack the communities of his state. The Nigerian federal government and government forces have yet to deny it or make tangible comments on it.
“We’ve turned security issues into matters that we politic about, not knowing that none of us is safe as long as these things are not tackled headlong. There are too many questions to be asked. It looks like this is now becoming a clever ploy to manipulate the polity in a particular way; that’s what it seems to people. We have put cats in charge of our meat and we are having ourselves to blame,” The Senior Pastor of The Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare said in an interview in 2018.
— ‘They Want To Take Over Our Land And Islamize Nigeria’ —
Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the leading Nigerian separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, has repeatedly stated that President Muhammadu Buhari and his kinsmen – the Fulani, wanted to conquer southern Nigeria and Islamize the whole country.
Kanu, whose home was unlawfully raided in Umuahia after being released on bail by the Abuja High Court, said that the attacks by herders, the government’s refusal to outlaw and declare the herders and their leaders as terrorist group, prove that the government is sponsoring them to actualize what he describe as “Islamization agenda”. He calls Nigeria “a damnable zoological republic”.
Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo stated that the deadly activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen in the country is no longer as a result of lack of education or employment. He said it is as a result of “West African Fulanisation and African Islamisation agenda.”
“It is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” he said.
Current situations have led to asking President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, but the president says he will not resign.
Meanwhile, while some see disintegration as a solution to the challenges in Nigeria, others think that restructuring will bring a lasting solution to the problems.
• Report by Julia Silvester with contribution from Adamu Peter Adamu.