DESPITE $32.88BN DEFENCE BUDGET, JONATHAN CAN’T TAME BOKO HARAM, BUHARI TELLS WORKERS

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•No, we’ve done well in fight against terrorism —Anyim
PRESIDENTIAL candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, said on Monday, that despite the Federal Government’s defence budget of over $32.88 billion in the past five years, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has not been able to address the issue of Boko Haram.
Buhari spoke on Monday as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC took advantage of the Nigeria Labour Congress 11th Delegates Conference to campaign and canvass for workers’ votes.
He berated the PDP government’s inability to checkmate the activities of the Boko Haram, a little-known extremist group about five years ago, despite the huge budgetary allocation to defence.
According to him, Boko Haram had metamorphosed under the Jonathan-led government due to corruption and incompetence.
Buhari said: “In August 2011, a vehicle smashed through two security barriers at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Abuja just after 11.00 a.m. Its driver crashed the car into the reception area of the building which housed 26 different UN agencies and then detonated a bomb.
“Twenty-five people were killed; about 60 wounded. The then little-known extremist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack.
“Since then, Boko Haram has gained international notoriety and had become a major national menace – kidnapping girls from their schools and women from their homes; slaughtering boys in their dormitories and men in their farms; exploding bombs in public and private venues and taking town after town in the North-Eastern parts of Nigeria.
“And, for some reasons, our defence forces had been unable to cope and defend, despite the Federal Government’s defence budget of over $32.88 billion in the past five years.
“Our security situation in this country has never been so dire. Today, Nigerians have to endure, not just terrorist attacks in the North, but militancy in the Niger Delta; communal violence in the Middle Belt, cult wars in the South and kidnappings, robberies and acts of thuggery throughout the country.
“Many are left to fend for themselves. Those who turn to the police, the army or any other state security agencies usually have the means and personal connections to buy help and protection. Those who don’t simply move on, resigned to fate. The bitter ones may form vigilante groups, others join mobs that dispense jungle justice on suspects and scapegoats alike. Too many believe they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain and the most alienated are easy prey for terrorists, militants, and thugs. This must change.”
He accused the PDP of not doing enough to tackle insurgency, provide employment and curb corruption.
Buhari, therefore, appealed to the workers to give him the opportunity to play a part in bringing about a change the APC so strongly desired for Nigeria.
He added, however, that his desire to bring about change had earned him the wrath and vengeance of crooks and thieves.
He said: “Most of you know I am not a novice when it comes to participating in the struggle to deliver Nigeria from the power of darkness. Many times, my efforts have earned me the wrath and vengeance of crooks and thieves. What I want to assure everyone in this room and across the length and breadth of this vast country is that I will do my best for you.
Reacting, the PDP sharply disagreed with the opposition on the issues of insecurity, unemployment and power, insisting that it was doing very well in the fight against terrorism.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Ayim Pius Ayim, said the Federal Government had created jobs and improved power generation.
He assured workers that the government would continue to provide enabling working environment.
Source: Tribune

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