President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, June 24, 2016, begged the militants to “take it easy” in “the name of God Almighty.”
Buhari, on Friday, June 24, 2016, begged the militants to “take it easy” in “the name of God Almighty.”
“I honestly don’t know how many factions the militants are in the Niger Delta compared to the north-east where you have the Boko Haram,” the president said while hosting leaders of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) to dinner at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“The technology being deployed by the militants to destroy oil installations is high-tech, the way they can go on high sea and international waters and target oil installations is a national problem. It is affecting development.
“No insurance company will want to insure installations that will end up being blown up and no banks will want to finance such installations. Those of you who have friends among the leadership or even the militants themselves should plead with them in the name of God Almighty to take it easy,” he added.
The latest statement is a far cry from Buhari’s earlier threat to show the militants the fullness of his wrath and power. The president had warned the militants not to confront his government and vowed to deal with them like he dealt with Boko Haram.
"The government is still being dared, but those who are sensible should have learnt a lesson. Those who are mad, let them continue in their madness,” he said on April 13 while speaking to members of the Nigerian Community in Beijing, China.
“I hope this message will reach the vandals and saboteurs who are blowing up pipelines and installations. We will deal with them the way we dealt with Boko Haram,” he added.
Unfortunately, the story has changed and the Commander in Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces is now begging a group of miscreants to have mercy on him and his government.
Buhari’s plea to the militants was ill-advised because it has positioned him as a victim, and that is a terrible place for any president to be. One major problem of the Buhari administration is that words are uttered before their full import is understood and their consequences analysed. The president of Nigeria should not be begging anybody, especially not criminals who are just seeking a pay day in the name of fighting for their people’s rights.
There are legitimate grievances in the Niger Delta, but Buhari should tackle them through proper negotiation and mediation, not by first threatening hell on earth and then whimpering in a corner begging for mercy.
Most importantly, Buhari’s communications team should step up their game to ensure that whenever the president says anything less than presidential, it is not allowed to get out.
One major trait that attracted Nigerians to Buhari and won him the presidency was his apparent ability to stand strong and firm no matter the situation at hand, that’s the president we need now.