The Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday in Abuja that security agencies in the country had not been able to tame the Boko Haram challenge despite the fact that the Federal Government had spent $32.88bn on defence in the past five years.
Buhari who spoke at the 11th Delegate Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress for votes in Abuja, said the Boko Haram sect snowballed into a national menace after the August 2011 attack on the United Nations Building in Abuja, which resulted in the death of 26 persons with 60 others injured.
The APC candidate added that there was the need for change politically because the nation’s security situation had become precarious.
“In August 2011, a vehicle smashed through two security barriers at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja just after 11am. 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; around 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 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 towns in the North-East of Nigeria.
“And, for some reasons, our defence forces are unable to cope and unable to defend despite the Federal Government’s defence budget that has gulped over$32.88bn 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, armed robberies, and common acts of thuggery throughout the country,” he said.
However, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan at the event, said he was under instruction not to make political statements at the conference because of the sensitive nature of the audience.
He said the President was of the opinion that the audience comprised workers from federal and state governments, who could feature as ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the forthcoming elections.
He gave the assurance that the Boko Haram insurgency, which had been agitating the minds of Nigerians, would soon be brought under control.
Anyim also conveyed the assurance of the President to the NLC delegates that the forthcoming elections would be better than the 2011 polls.
Speaking also on the state of the economy, Anyim, noted that he Federal Government was focussing attention on the creation of business that could generate employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Governor of Edo State, Oshiomhole, a former President of the NLC, who spoke earlier, condemned the continued importation of refined petroleum products into the country and said it was shameful that the nation’s refineries, established by the military and were functional then, were not working in a democracy.
He urged workers in the oil sector to look beyond their plum jobs to insist that the crude oil resources were refined in the nation’s refineries.