The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Tuesday took a swipe at the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd,), over his comment that only God could effectively supervise Nigeria’s border with Niger Republic.
The groups, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, said the President’s statement was not only an indication that he had failed, but also that he had been overwhelmed by insecurity and other problems in the country.
Buhari, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Tuesday said only God could effectively “supervise” Nigeria’s border with the Republic of Niger.
The President spoke while receiving in audience former Vice President Namadi Sambo, who heads ECOWAS Election Mission to the Republic of Niger.
The President spoke amid concerns about insecurity and influx of bandits into the country from Niger Republic and other neighbouring countries. Recall that two weeks ago, bandits kidnapped schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State.
But on Tuesday Buhari explained why Nigeria’s border with Niger Republic was difficult to man.
In the statement by Adesina titled, ‘President Buhari pledges support for polls in Republic of Niger, describes outgoing President as ‘very decent man,’ Buhari said, “I come from Daura, few kilometres to the Republic of Niger, so I should know a bit about that country.
“The President is quite decent, and we are regularly in touch. He is sticking to the maximum term prescribed by the constitution of his country.
“Also, we share more than 1,400 kilometres of border with that country, which can only be effectively supervised by God.
“I will speak with the President, and offer his country our support. We need to do all we can to help stabilise the Sahel region, which is also in our own interest.”
He was also said to have applauded President Mahamadou Issoufou for not attempting to tamper with the constitution of his country, and elongate his stay in power, after serving for the maximum two terms.
The statement quoted Sambo as congratulating Buhari on the successful return of abducted schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, and also his 78th birthday, last week.
He pledged that ECOWAS would ensure peaceful and fair elections in the Republic of Niger, despite current political, legal and security issues.
He added that meetings were already being held with the relevant stakeholders.
Berating the President, the PDP said his declaration was an admission of failure.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this in a telephone interview with The PUNCH in Abuja on Monday.
He explained that it was obvious that the President was deceiving Nigerians when “he claimed to have closed Nigeria’s land borders.”
Statement from Buhari, a commander-in-chief, is shocking – PDP
Ologbondiyan said, “Mr President has just confirmed what we knew all along that he had failed. How were our borders protected before he took power in 2015? It is shocking and appalling that the President, a retired general, who in his life time has been a military head of state and now a civilian president, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, will speak so loosely about a responsibility he was elected to discharge but has failed to. It has vindicated our position that no one is in charge of this regime.”