Nigeria Opposition Leader Vows to Improve Security - News Hunter Magazine


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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Nigeria Opposition Leader Vows to Improve Security

The newly elected presidential candidate of Nigeria's main opposition
All Progressives Congress (APC) said Friday that if he won February's
general election, he would resolve the country's security failures.

General Muhammadu Buhari said among the main challenges would be
improving intelligence gathering, which repeatedly has been found
wanting in the face of terrorist attacks.

Buhari is a former Nigerian head of state. He seized power in a coup
in 1983 and ruled as head of a military junta until he was overthrown
by another general, Ibrahim Babangida, in 1985. He had earlier served
as the country's federal commissioner for petroleum.

After being nominated to run this time, Buhari expressed concern that
some politicians could undermine the Independent National Electoral
Commission's ability to administer a credible and transparent vote.

"We think it will be the last thing that the PDP [People's Democratic
Party] government will allow a free, fair and credible election. The
examples in Ekiti and Osun [states] this year proved us right," said

Nigeria has a history of controversial elections, with observers
repeatedly reporting large-scale fraud, disorganization and
intimidation of voters.

Disputed election results have often set off violence. According to
Human Rights Watch, up to 800 people were killed in violence after the
2011 polls, which saw President Goodluck Jonathan elected to his first
full term.

Jonathan and members of his administration have pledged several times
that the February election would be credible and transparent despite
the criticisms.

Concern about corruption
In an interview with VOA, Buhari said the governing PDP was to blame
for corruption, which he contended has become institutionalized in

"People have expressed extreme concern about corruption in the
country. We have to develop a way to stop corruption. If we don't stop
corruption, as some of the feature article writers say in Nigeria,
corruption will kill Nigeria," said Buhari.

He said corruption had rendered government institutions unable to
address the needs of the people.

"From that day we are sworn in, anybody that is responsible for state
resources or the treasury and at the local government, there would be
proper auditing according to financial instructions," and those found
wanting would be prosecuted, Buhari said.

PDP officials have strongly denied graft accusations against the
government. They said Jonathan's administration has been at the
forefront of combating graft.

Political observers have often accused politicians of taking advantage
of ethnic and religious differences to win elections. Buhari said
conditions could get worse if not addressed.

"This extreme religious problem in Nigeria is a recent phenomenon and
is very unfortunate, because capable people may be denied
participation at the expense of government efficiency because they
belong to one religion or the other," said Buhari.

Fighting Boko Haram

The government has waged a five-year battle against the Islamist
insurgent militant group Boko Haram. In April, the militants kidnapped
more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in northern Nigeria. Their
whereabouts remain unknown.

In July, the militants also attacked Buhari's convoy, killing several
of his aides.

Buhari said military and security agencies had been ineffective in
combating Boko Haram violence. He also said the administration had
failed to provide security agencies with the weapons they need to
carry out their mission successfully.

Buhari outlined measures that he said could resolve the country's
security challenges.

"Intelligence gathering has to be improved," he said. "Specifically,
what came out of the inefficient way the military is conducting
operations against Boko Haram is extreme corruption in the system.
… The soldiers could not travel, not because they were afraid of the
insurgents, but because they cannot face the insurgents with inferior
weapons, or without ammunition."

Credit: VOA News

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