President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the continued onslaught of Boko Haram in the Northeastern Nigeria on the mismanagement of the anti-terrorism war by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari disclosed in an address to members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday that his government has uncovered that though, Jonathan regime spent billions of naira and hundreds of millions of dollars to equip the Nigerian military against the insurgents, its efforts was fraught with rampant “abuse of trust” with heavy loss of lives and equipment.
“There were abuses of trust and that cost Nigeria a lot of lives and a lot of goodwill’’ he said, urging the legislature to collaborate with the executive arm of government to secure the country and effectively manage it.
“There are a lot of obstacles to be crossed. The objectives we have are to secure this country and effectively manage it,” the president said.
According to him, the major challenge in the security of the country is the threat posed by the Boko Haram insurgency. He however said that the leadership of the country had set clear targets toward the re-organisation, retraining and re-equipping the military to neutralize Boko Haram.
He said his administration had hoped that at the end of the rainy season, organised attack would be launched against the insurgents, adding that government had also raised the morale of the soldiers to tackle the challenge.
Buhari observed that Nigeria, which had earned reputation in the fight against criminal activities and defence of territories abroad, found out that it could no longer defend a few local government areas occupied by insurgents. “I seek your understanding,” Buhari appealed.
He told the legislators to think about the consequences of not acting in tandem with the government, noting that Nigerians were wiser to know those who represent them well.
He noted that he took the initiative of seeking the collaboration of the international community to be able to win the war against terrorism.
According to President Buhari, the Boko Haram’s attempt to divide the country was a miscalculation, adding that their claim to be fighting for Islam was both misleading and working against.
Responding, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, said that the support of his colleagues would be total to ensure that the government bequeathed something meaningful to posterity. “What bothers me is the legacy we are leaving behind. After we have exited, what will our children and grandchildren say about us,’’ he said.
Dogara noted that there was bound to be disagreements between the executive and the legislature, beginning with the handling of the provisions of the 2016 appropriation bill but said the issue would be handled in the interest of the public.
“Your hosting us today shows that there will be a seamless interface between the three arms of government to deliver to the people.
“We support you like many Nigerians will support you because there is nobody that will be in doubt that you will rid this country of corruption,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)