The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said what is needed to effectively tackle the Boko Haram menace is new and imaginative thinking, instead of sticking to the same old way of doing things, which is what the FG’s US$1 billion loan request represents.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said while no reasonable person will argue against procuring modern weapons and other needs for the military, it is absolutely important to complement the military campaign against Boko Haram with political, social and economic measures, especially because a sustained military campaign dating back to 2009 has failed to end the crisis.
“Between 2010 and 2014, a total of US$14 billion has been allocated for Defence, Security and the Police. This year alone, the total sum is US$4 billion. Now, if US$14 billion has not clipped the wings of Boko Haram in five years, what difference can US$1 billion make if thrown into the crisis in the same old way?”, APC argued.
“If the FG has not accounted for how it spent US$14 billion allocated to the security, defence and police in the past five years, why should it be given the green-light to borrow another US$1 billion? If the said US$14 billion has not done much in upgrading military and security facilities in five years, what impact can US$1 billion suddenly make? These are some of the questions we want the National Assembly to ask before giving the FG the go ahead to plunge Nigeria into another round of external debts.” The party said.
“Talking of new and imaginative thinking, it is generally agreed that the root causes of the Boko Haram crisis are deep in the years of bad governance, that created an army of unemployed youths in the
North-east, which is the epicentre of the crisis; that have resulted in dilapidated infrastructure, lack of social amenities, inadequate schools and a total disconnect between the government and the governed.
“Yet, the FG that has only allocated a paltry, insulting 2 billion Naira (US$12.2 million) for its misguided ‘Marshall plan’ for the North-east is asking for US$1 billion to buy new weapons to fight Boko Haram!, put children back to school, give the youths life-enhancing training and put them out of the reach of the extremists who recruit and indoctrinate them to kill, maim and destroy?”, APC said.
APC also warned that by continuing to put undue emphasis on military campaign alone, the FG is signalling a hardening of position, indicating that the crisis can only be resolved by a military campaign and foreclosing negotiation.
The party noted that nowhere in the world has insurgency been defeated purely by military campaign, not even by the world’s most powerful militaries.