A presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday in Jigawa State said the extremist group, Boko Haram, was taking back Nigerian territories hitherto recovered by troops.
The former vice president spoke after a closed-door meeting with a fellow Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Sule Lamido, at the latter’s home in Bamaina, Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of the state.
“In terms of security whether south or north, there’s no where that is secure. In the north we have kidnapping, fight between farmers/herdsmen, all kind of things.
“If you look at also the security, even the Boko Haram that they said they are going to defeat, they haven’t defeated Boko Haram, Boko Haram have started retaking territories. So this is the worst administration since the return of democracy from 1999 in the country,”: Mr Abubakar said.
The presidential aspirant did not elaborate on the new territories allegedly retaken by the terror group.
Although, the federal government has repeatedly said the Boko Haram no longer controls any Nigerian territory, the group has been able to carry our major attacks on military bases and civilian communities despite security presence.
One of such attacks occurred on Saturday when Boko Haram members attacked a military base and neigbouring communities in Guzamala Local Government Area. Hundreds of residents of the affected communities have since moved to other areas including the Borno State capital, Maiduguri; although the military said it has retaken the attacked towns.
The Boko Haram insurgency has caused about 100,000 deaths since 2009, according to the Borno State Government. The insurgents have, since the Muhammadu Buhari administration assumed office in 2015, been largely limited to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states in North-eastern Nigeria. Before then, they freely carried out attacks in Abuja, Kaduna, Niger and other Northern Nigerian states.
Mr Abubakar is from Adamawa State where he owns a private university, a radio station and several other businesses.
ATIKU’S JIGAWA CAMPAIGN
On Monday, Mr Abubakar was in Jigawa primarily to woo delegates ahead of the PDP primaries.
Before his meeting with Mr Lamido, Mr Abubakar had met with Jigawa PDP leaders at the party secretariat in Dutse. At that meeting, not attended by Mr Lamido, Mr Abubakar said he believed the ex-Jigawa governor would step down for him to become the PDP presidential aspirant.
Messrs Abubakar and Lamido are among a dozen presidential aspirants of the opposition party.
After his meeting with the former governor, Mr Abubakar said the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) administration has failed to secure Nigeria as promised during its campaign in 2015.
He also said the government had failed to lift the nation out of economic crises since it assumed power.
”The APC administration inherited an economy that was growing at about seven per cent but crashed it into recession in their first year in office. Currently, we’re still operating at less than two per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. The country is terribly bad economically,” he said.
He castigated the APC administration for allegedly disuniting Nigerians, noting that most parts of the country are excluded in the management of the country.
”This is federation, it’s shouldn’t be like that. That has affected the unity and pulled the various parts of the country apart,” he said.
He urged the people of Jigawa State to vote out the APC administration in the state.
“There’s no single physical developmental project, school, hospital or roads. None of these has been done in Jigawa. I’m begging you (people of Jigawa) for God’s sake and for the interest of development, vote out All Progressive Congress in state,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Lamido said Mr Abubakar was in the state ”because Jigawa is a home for him and we’re happy to see him today in the state.”
Mr Abubakar has recently been engaged in media battles with the APC administration and its officials on crucial development issues including the need to restructure Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES published media exchanges between Mr Abubakar and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the issue of restructuring Nigeria.
Mr Abubakar’s latest attack on the APC administration on the management of the economy and security situation is yet to be responded to by the presidency or the ruling party.
A presidential aide, Garba Shehu, did not pick his calls or respond to text messages when PREMIUM TIMES sought his comments.
But Bello Zaki, spokesperson for APC’s Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa in his response said “Atiku, being a ‘nomadic politician’ can’t be graced with an answer.”