By John Ikani
President Buhari has granted an interview with a private television network, Arise TV, addressing the country’s security crisis and other issues.
A brief statement posted on the official Facebook page of the presidency, Aso Rock Villa, had earlier urged all Nigerians to watch the interview on all Arise News platforms.
In the pre-recorded interview, the Nigerian leader addressed several issues revolving around the nation’s economy and security challenges confronting it.
President Buhari also spoke on what he plans to do after leaving the Aso Villa when his tenure expires in 2023.
1. On banditry and Boko Haram insurgency
Buhari said he has ordered the military and the police to deal with bandits terrorizing the north-west region of the country.
He said bandits would be treated in the language they understand and there will be difference in few weeks.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages. Like I said , we are going to treat them in the language they understand. We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
While noting that the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria is largely fuelled by youth unemployment and poverty, President Buhari said he believes his government has done a lot to fight the terrorists but the problem in the “North-east is very difficult.”
2. On Unemployment and dearth of foreign investment
Buhari, said youths must behave themselves and ensure the nation is strong if they want jobs.
He said: “Tell the youths that if they want jobs, they should behave themselves. Make sure Nigeria is strong. Nigeria is resourceful and people know that.”
The president also lamented that protests – particularly EndSARS – has made the country insecure and scared away investors.
“Who will go and invest his money in an unstable environment? Nobody will. It’s just common sense.
“So, you behave yourself, you make Nigeria secure, and people will invest,” he said.
3. On herders-farmers conflict in Nigeria
Buhari insisted that governors complaining of herdmen attacks in their states should find a lasting solution to the problem.
while answering a question on state police. He said two Southwest governors recently visited him to complain about herdsmen encroaching on farmers’ lands in their regions.
“You know these people more than I do, and you are democratically elected to protect your people. Don’t sit idly expecting me to do everything, take action,” he asserted.
4. On Twitter ban
When asked about the suspension of Twitter and its operations in Nigeria, Buhari responded by saying that he will keep that to himself. He ended his statement with a great laughter.
He says: “That, I will keep to myself.”
5. Illegal sale of Petroleum
Buhari said some Nigerians are still selling petroleum products to neighbouring countries despite the stiff measures in place to curtail the act.
“Nigerians go as far as taking bikes to other neighbouring countries like Ghana, Benin Republic and others to sell the country’s fuel illegally,” Buhari uttered.
He added that despite the security men on patrol, they beat them to export what is meant for the country to benefit.
6. On perceived lopsided appointments
Contrary to the allegation that his administration has appointed more people from a particular region of the country, the President insisted that he has only appointed people that have risen through the ranks.
“The people we have appointed have paid their prices and also earned the positions. They were not appointed based on where they come from but all worked to earn their status.”
He further explained that Major General Farouk Yahaya was appointed as the Chief of army staff ahead of other superiors because of his experience fighting Boko Haram in the North-east.
7. On legacy and retirement plans
Asked about his legacy during an AriseTV interview, the president said he would leave that to Nigerians.
“I hope Nigerians will be fair to me. I will let them decide (on my legacy),” Buhari said, adding that he has done his best to fix an ailing economy, deal with escalating insecurity and provide infrastructure.
Buhari said when he retires, he would return to his farm to spend time with his cattle.
Asked about whether he has thought about a successor, the president said his political party, APC, would decide all of that.