Former President Goodluck Jonathan has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying insecurity is getting worse under his administration.
The ex-President stated this on Tuesday when he paid a condolence visit to the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, whose daughter, Mrs Funke Olakunri, was killed by suspected herdsmen along the Ore-Sagamu Expressway on Friday.
But in an apparent response to his critics including Jonathan, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, Buhari on Tuesday said those who were criticising his handling of security in the country were not patriotic.
Although Jonathan did not mention Buhari during the condolence visit to Fasoranti, he called on the federal and state governments to be more proactive on the issue of insecurity in the country.
The former President made the comment a day after Obasanjo in a letter to Buhari warned of a Rwanda-like genocide in Nigeria.
Soyinka, on Sunday, during his 85th birthday, pointedly stated that the Buhari government had “failed” in addressing insecurity in the country.
Expressing concern about insecurity in the country, Jonathan on Tuesday stated, “The Federal Government in conjunction with the state government must design a different approach to this issue. I was there as president and security challenge was there, but now it is getting worse every day and we can’t continue to use the same old method.”
According to the ex-President, every generation of human beings faces problems and that generation must find ways of solving those problems.
He added, “Every government faces some unique problems. Insecurity has been with us immediately after the civil war. That was the first time we experienced armed robbery in Lagos. From armed robbery it graduated to kidnapping.
“The first major kidnapping was described as commercial kidnapping because some money exchanged hands which happened in 2006 when I was also a governor of Bayelsa State. From commercial kidnapping, it moved to terrorism in the North and now some kind of terrorist attacks all over the country, when people will just come out of the road and spray bullets on innocent people; that is a terrorist attack. You have no reason to attack somebody you don’t even know; that is terrorism.”
While calling on the Federal Government to implement the report of the 2014 National Conference, Jonathan said some of the recommendations in the report dealt with the issue of security and the government should apply the recommendations.
The former President stated, “A lot of things were discussed during the national conference organised during my time as President. The issues of security, state and community policing were discussed. I always believe that the government should look at that report, it was not written by me.
“We should not play politics with a serious national issue. If we look at that report, there are recommendations that bother on security and if there is an area that needs to be expanded because I believe every day new idea comes, it should be updated.
“There is nothing wrong holding a specific meeting to look at the issue of security. I believe in the federal and state governments having a new approach, deploying technology and having more money to protect our people.”
Those who politicise isolated incidents, not patriotic, Buhari replies OBJ, Jonathan, Soyinka
But the President in response to his critics said those faulting his administration’s handling of the worsening insecurity in the country were not “patriotic Nigerians.”
He argued that his critics chose “isolated incidents” in assessing the administration, adding that such cases were being politicised.
Speaking at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday when he received the National Executive members of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Buhari accused his critics of not being patriotic.
The President argued that insecurity was a global issue, with governments seeking measures to address the new dimensions to insurgency, kidnapping and banditry.
Buhari stated, “Every country has security challenges; while we have made significant progress in fighting against terrorism, we acknowledge that there are new and emerging challenges of kidnapping and banditry. I assure you that we will not relent in our efforts to secure the country from criminal activities.
“Those who politicise the isolated incidents of insecurity are not patriotic Nigerians. I am confident that this administration will use all the resources at its disposal to protect the lives of all Nigerians and not just prominent Nigerians but all.”
Buhari also used the opportunity to restate the commitment of his administration to fight the “cancer of corruption” and strengthen the country’s economy.
The President added, “As you may be aware, the African Union at its deliberations last year, appointed me as the African Anti- Corruption Champion for the continent.
“This is because other countries have seen our dedication to the fight against corruption and they are keying in to emulate our approach.”
At a separate meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association, Buhari said that his administration planned to extend the method it used in combating insurgency in the North-East to other parts of the country where bandits and kidnappers were attacking defenceless citizens.
The NMA was led by its President, Dr Francis Adedayo-Faduyile, to see Buhari at the State House.
He told the members of the NMA, “If you cannot secure a country or institution, you cannot manage it.”
He also stated that health, education, unemployment and the economy were being given adequate attention.
“The issues of health and education are constitutional. If there are too many almajiris in a state, then the government is not following the constitution.
“The states also have the elite who are educated enough to remind their governments about their responsibility to almajiris”, the President stated.
The Presidency, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said the NMA leadership raised a number of issues with Buhari, including asking for an increase in the health sector budget from 4 per cent to 15 per cent.
It stated, “The President of the NMA congratulated President Buhari for winning a second term in office, attributing his return to efforts made by the government to reposition the country, especially in the health sector, like the establishment of a cancer centre at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital.
“Dr Adedayo-Faduyile commended the President for always looking towards the NMA to appoint competent members for positions in the health sector, assuring him that the medical association would continue to partner the government to bring good health services to Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, a former Governor of Bauchi State, Mr Isa Yuguda, defended Buhari on Tuesday, claiming that insecurity in the country did not start with his administration.
Yuguda, who was a governor between 2007 and 2015, had also served as the Minister of Aviation from May 2003 to June 2005.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after he visited Buhari, Yuguda recalled that Boko Haram actually started in Bauchi State before the group migrated to Borno State.