Enraged by the latest attacks on Borno and Yobe communities by Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday vowed to crush members of the terrorist sect to the last man.
In what appears to be his toughest expressions of outrage, Buhari reminded the terrorists of his uncompromising resolve to tackle them with all the resources at the disposal of his government.
“They are cowards who lack any moral inhibition and any iota of humanity to reason compassionately,” Buhari insisted, adding that they would not find a safe haven in Nigeria because “they would be “hunted down without mercy and compromise.”
In a statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, the President “condemned in the strongest language” the latest terrorist attacks.
He said Buhari extended his sympathy to the families of the victims and reassured all Nigerians that his government “would never tolerate the terrorists’ blackmail, and our security forces would confront the Boko Haram bandits to the last man.
“Make no mistake about it: This government is ever determined to discharge its fundamental duty of protecting the life of its citizens from physical threats from any group bent on creating chaos, confusion, and destroying social and economic life of the people.”
Buhari said he was deeply touched by these mindless incidents of violence against innocent people during the month of Ramadan and declared the terrorists enemies of humanity everywhere.
“No sane people who believes in any god would be destroying the lives of innocent people in cold blood,” he said, adding that terrorists do not represent any religion.
“The President said the pattern of their indiscriminate violence against innocent people shows that they represent nothing else but anarchy and devilry.
“The terrorists are enemies of religion and humanity. No true believers in any God would target worshippers, holy places, or people who are fasting and other innocent Nigerians,” he declared.
The President advised Nigerians to show more vigilance and be alert to the presence of suspicious people around them.
Why Buhari may not appoint ministers for now
There are indications that it may still take some weeks before President Muhammadu Buhari finally releases the list of his ministers and other cabinet members to the National Assembly for screening.
The seeming delay in the appointment of cabinet members is as a result of the President’s disinclination to build on the “rotten foundation” bequeathed to him by the PDP administration.
Besides, the ongoing leadership crisis rocking the National Assembly is another reason why constituting a cabinet for the new government is taking longer than necessary.
In the past few days, there has been growing concern among Nigerians that it is now more than three months since Buhari was elected, and a month since his inauguration, yet the President is yet to announce ministerial appointments.
But a top Presidency source who is close to the President said that he is taking his time to mop up the rot he inherited from the PDP government before appointing credible persons as members of his cabinet.
According to the source, who chose not to be named in print since he is not a spokesperson for the Presidency, President Buhari’s plan of action is akin to that of a doctor who must first of all break a poorly set bone afresh before resetting it, to allow for smooth and proper healing.
“You cannot even begin to imagine the situation we met on ground. Almost everything is in a state of decay. There is absolutely no way the new government can hope to achieve anything long-lasting without first building a new foundation,” he stated.
The source noted that it would be impossible to appoint ministers to portfolios without knowing which portfolios should exist and which should be scrapped.
He pointed out that there was no way President Buhari could practically commence the process without first receiving the full report of the transition committee and be sure of the true position of the things he inherited.
He said, “The President plans to cut down the number of ministries and parastatals. He wants to cut down the cost of running government. He wants to make sure that all the loopholes that enable corruption to thrive are blocked.
“All these are procedures that require time and careful planning. You cannot do it in a rush. Remember that he has to make sure that all this is done without any job losses or mass retrenchments. All this is not a day’s or a one month’s job.”
The further refuted media reports suggesting that the inability of Buhari to make cabinet appointments had ground government to a halt, insisting that civil servants have been supervising the day-to-day running of ministries.
Insisting that permanent secretaries of the various ministries all have full access to the President, the source cautioned the media not to fall for the old tricks and manoeuverings of mischievous politicians.
“All these reports and agitations are being fuelled by politicians who want to put pressure on the President. They have tried doing it other ways and those haven’t worked. Now, they are trying to use the media. They only want their cronies appointed to ministerial posts anyhow and they are fuelling the agitation through newspapers,” he said.
The source also listed the current crisis in the National Assembly as yet another reason for delay in constituting a new cabinet.
When reminded that the Senate had agreed to reconvene to consider the president’s ministerial nominees as soon as such a list was ready, the source said Nigerians must wait for the president’s long-awaited intervention in the crisis between the party and the National Assembly.
“Look at how they are fighting among themselves. The Senate has now adjourned till July 21. That means no one to scrutinise or approve any ministerial list until the end of July. The President wants to walk his talk on stable politics and being a leader for all, he has a plan for the National Assembly,” he added.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, and the Senior Special Assistant, Mallam Garba Shehu described the above explanations as close to the truth than all that were being peddled by many others.