Otunba Benji Oloye is a progressive Community leader in Ondo State. A leading voice and advocate of good governance in Nigeria. He speaks with the PATH on the country’s insecurity, economy, Akeredolu’s effort in tackling security menace in Ondo State among other national issues.

What is your general assessment of the APC led government in the last 7 years as regard waging war against insecurity in Nigeria?

To be factual, I don’t subscribe to the ideal of trading blames of insecurity at the door step of the ruling APC; the current government inherited the menace from the People Democratic Party, but it is unfortunate that rather than solving it as promised in 2015, it is more tense now, with no solution. The notorious Fulani bandits have said it severally that they wanted to take over every land in the country, claiming Nigeria land belong to them. The ethnicity you belong to notwithstanding, provided you are not of Fulani extraction, they are determined to flush us out and take over our inheritance. It is very unfortunate that President Buhari is an APC man and more unfortunate that he is the president of Nigeria at this time but I want everyone to know that, Fulanis are not only in APC but in PDP, LP, SDP and other parties; and if will continue to blame APC for the security collapsed, we are going to remain in one spot and never move forward.

Are you saying it requires collective efforts to tackle the dreaded bandits and terrorists?

Exactly, we must all come together to fight the common enemy disturbing the peaceful existence of this nation. It is a pity that many Nigerians that campaigned and supported Buhari aspiration are regretting it today, we all thought what he was able to achieve as a military officer would be replicated, mostly during the menace of Boko Haram in 2015, but unfortunately, the Retired General could not do anything, probably because of his sympathy for the Fulanis. Truly speaking, Nigeria should be fighting war against Fulani militias who are head bent in taking over the country. It is a known fact that, Nigerian army is one of the best in the Africa, in spite of the high rating, they are losing the war against insecurity because some top military personnel who should provide logistics, equipment and classified information are sympathetic with the bandits, putting tribal sentiment above national interest. Prioritizing ethnicity and political party above national interest will not end insecurity in Nigeria. We must see insecurity as a war that everybody must fight to a standstill and not trading blames.

From the point of view that Mr. President is a Fulani man, are you of the opinion that President Buhari is not doing enough to fight insurgents?

If you say Mr. President is sympathetic with the Fulani extraction, you are mild with your choice of word, he is not fighting the bandit as a president of Nigeria and Retired General but only pretending as if the government is working, whereas his body language is in contrast. Every of his policy is against us as a nation but in favour of the Fulani, like RUGA, Grazing Routes, Open Grazing among others. The effort of the army is being sabotage which is more reason, the country is losing its fine Army officers to terrorists. To conquer terrorists and bandits as Nigeria government wants to refer to them, the authority must be sincere and see the country first before considering their ethnic background. Crime has no coloration and anybody that is threatening the existence of Nigeria must be flushed out and make to face the law. Then, we can decide to remain together or not if every attempt to unite us fail but there is nothing as good as unity in diversity.

If you are to juxtaposed Nigeria security situation in 2015 and today’s reality, are we progressing or retrogressing as a nation?

If I understand what Governor El Rufai said long time ago, the fact remains that, Boko Haram and the likes came to Nigeria on the invitation of some people before the 2015 General Election. At a point, these criminal elements have disagreement with their invitees and they became factionalized, some Boko Haram, ISWAP, and their aims and objectives are still the same. They were allegedly brought to the country to take over government from the incumbent, having finished their assignment, they refused to go back and the results are threat to lives and property of innocent Nigeria. It was said their refusal to return to base was as a result of breach of agreement by whoever might brought them to the country. The various groups of bandit have weapon with them but to survive, they resulted into kidnapping and started stealing from Nigerians.

Some Officials of Government have been allegedly fingered in sabotaging the effort of the security agencies in the fight again insurgent, what is your thought on the silent approach of government to this allegation?

We are all living witness to the turbaning of a wanted criminal in Zamfara State. As a concern Nigeria, though not a security expert, the turbaned of Aliero as Sarkin Fulani by the Emir is more of a monarch that was between two rocks- the government and dreaded bandit whose trade is killing. I believe the turbaning was done to pacify the bandit kingpin and also protect his subjects from serial attack. The emir is afraid of the government reaction towards the installation and at the other hand scare of the bandits’ attack. No responsible leader will fold his hands and watch his women being raped and wanton destruction of means of livelihood of his subjects; installing Aliero as Sarkin Fulani is a way of freeing his people and community from bandits’ attack. If our government is working and ensure lives and property of its citizens are protected, there won’t be need to approach a notorious bandit for chieftaincy title. The late Sani Abacha once said, ” if security challenges lasted for more than 48 hours, it means government has hand in it”. For more than a decade now, Nigeria government is just dancing around the menace with no clear cut solution. Those that accused the government of compromise might be right; are we saying Terrorists are more than Nigeria Security Agencies? We have moles and spy within the government circle and security architecture, that is why we are losing our soldiers to ambush. In spite of this outcry from every angle, government is not paying attention to it.

In the last 7 years of President Buhari administration, the country’s economy has been nose diving. Dollar is rising every day. Where did government got it wrong?

Without being sentimental, security play major a role in the growth of any economy. Having said that, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has no solution to Nigeria economy problem. He has no clue and short of ideas on how to turn around the economy fortune of Nigeria. Ordinarily, the Minister of Finance, President and CBN Governor should call a meeting of financial experts and past CBN Governors to chart ways out of the economy conundrum. Since the coming of President Buhari, our naira has continually losing value; exchange rate is rising every day. Emefiele Monetary Policy since assumption of office at the Apex Bank has not in any way solve our economy problem. Within the few months remaining, President Buhari can still set up Economy Think Tank involving financial gurus both in public and private sectors to review the present failed economy policies that lead us to nowhere.We need to invest more on industries, creation of jobs, encouraging export and discouraging import, all these will grow the country’s GDP. The bitter truth is that, Emefiele knows nothing as regard finding a solution to the collapsed economy and returning Nigeria to the economy hub of Africa. To get it right, we need a lot of surgical operations on the economy and we can’t get it with Emefiele’s approach that is not yielding positive result. We must stop being a consuming nation but endeavors to start exporting, this will help in reviving our comatose economy.

In spite of Governor Akeredolu efforts in curbing insecurity in Ondo State, the state is still facing security challenges. What do you think is the way out?

Amotekun is no doubt a mini State Police and we should applaud the governor for the good initiatives in the South West Nigeria. Akeredolu is passionate about security matters, that is why the governor is spending huge amount of money on security. Not quite long, he purchased 50 vehicles for security agencies in the state, that’s the level of his commitment in securing lives and property of the resident of the state. Having said this, Amotekun needs to be coordinated very well for effective performance. We could recall the killings at Catholic church in Owo, while the community is still mourning the loss of their love ones, a construction company was attacked, living several people wounded. The Craneburg Company attack was in the night, one will expect Amotekun and Police to act fast and mobilize to the scene, but it is unfortunate that the perpetrators operated successfully without any resistance from the security personnel.Amotekun who many people of the state are looking up to must re- strategize for successful operation and always act fast on information at their disposal. They must work on their information technique and employ more manpower, which l learnt the governor is doing already. If terrorists could be courageous to openly threatened to kidnap the president and governor, we have to be on red alert and be security conscious at all times. No place is safe in Nigeria again; with the ongoing training of new recruitment of Amotekun personnel, it will further fortify the security architecture of the state.

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