PRESIDENCY officials are searching for a face-saving way out of a message mix-up after presidential spokesman Femi Adesina inadvertently conceded that the government had failed when it comes to providing security and is now dependent on regional outfits.
Over the last months, the federal government has been caught up in a war of words with the governors of the six states of southwest Nigeria after they floated a regional security operation called Amotekun. After it was created last months, the attorney-general Abubakar Malami called it illegal but faced with the huge popularity of the project, he backed down, saying he was misquoted.
Consequently, the governors met with Mr Malami and the inspector-general of police at the presidential villa at a meeting presided over by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo and agreed to work on a way forward. Given the popularity of Amotekun, a fringe body called the Coalition of Northern Groups launched a similar outfit in Kaduna called Shege Ka Fasa in Kaduna, although it does not enjoy the backing of any governors.
Over the weekend, Mr Adesina inadvertently backed Amotekun, to the embarrassment of presidency officials in an article, he penned and entitled Insecurity: What Buhari has done, and is doing. In the piece, Mr Adesina pointed out that national security is a collective responsibility, adding that the army, police and the other forces cannot do it alone, so the people must be involved in securing their communities and country.
Mr Adesina wrote: “If there was efficiency, why is there a proliferation of regional security outfits like Amotekun in the southwest, Shege-Ka-Fasa in the north and with other parts of the country warming up to set up their own? It is a collaboration between the government and the people and those who heap all the blame on government for political capital, are missing the point.
“The people must be involved in securing their communities and country but within the bounds of the law.” According to Mr Adesina, the actions of the government against the insurgents, bandits and kidnappers are visible to all and with the support of groups like Amotekun things would only get better.
He went on to add that the Multinational Joint Task Force, established by Nigeria and her neighbours to combat insurgency, led to improved security. According to Mr Adesina, military operations such as Lafiya Dole has recorded remarkable successes against Boko Haram with roads and schools abandoned for many years reopened.