A lot of questions surround the request by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, for a security bailout fund by the Federal Government.
The governors tabled the request before President Muhammadu Buhari during a virtual meeting at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, through Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Babagana Zulum of Borno.
In our view, the governors did not make a compelling enough case. They merely referred to the general insecurity in the country which they blamed on poverty and unemployment.
They also subtly reminded the president that they supported his request to withdraw $1bn from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, in April 2018 to procure weapons.
No Nigerian will deny that the entire country is engulfed in various degrees of insecurity. Apart from the Boko Haram, Islamic State/Al Qaeda, and Bandits terror networks in the North East and North West, the herdsmen militias which the Federal Government does not officially recognize as part of our security threats are wreaking havoc in all states in the South and North Central.
The governors appear to see the current situation as another convenient opportunity to wheedle bailout funds from a president who appears favorably disposed to such demands as he did in July 2015 when the recession set in. This is a re-enactment of the cap-in-hand syndrome of our federalism which has encouraged dependency, lack of initiative, and corruption.
Even if the president is able to fund such a bailout request, what is the guarantee that the governors will not squander it as they did the bailout of four years ago?
The security situation requires much more than throwing cash at it. President Buhari has not even given an account of how he spent the $1bn he took from the treasury without legislative approval.
The lack of adequate equipment for the military which led to it remains a reference point in military and security circles as our insecurity worsens.
The Governors’ Forum should close ranks with the security agencies in identifying the people in our society fueling and funding insecurity. Who is arming and sustaining the herdsmen, bandits, and insurgents?
Who are the saboteurs in the military that leak attack plans? Surely, the foot soldiers of terror, criminality, and banditry cannot operate at will to the point of defying our military and police forces unless there are fifth columnists backing them.
These people should be exposed and destroyed first. Without this, no amount of money thrown at our security challenges will make any positive impact.
Besides this, the governors should take more initiative and deploy their security votes for the purpose they are meant to serve.