Ten months after grabbing power, Tinubu wobbles on security, leaves economy in tatters

TEN months after becoming Nigeria’s president, Mr Bola Tinubu has dashed the hopes of many Nigerians and left both the Nigerian security architecture and the economy in tatters.

Under Mr Tinubu, one of the biggest abduction incidents in Nigeria was reported on March 7 2023, as kidnappers invaded a Kuriga school in Kaduna, taking away over 250 pupils.

Parents, teachers and community residents are in shock, with many of them saying that security agencies have failed them.

Also, more than 100 women were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists on March 5. The kidnappers had razed 25 buildings meant for returnee internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Gajibo in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.

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There have been countless kidnap cases in several parts of Nigeria under Mr Tinubu, with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) emerging as a den of abductors in recent times.

Similarly, under Mr Tinubu, the Nigerian economy has gone from bad to worse, with inflation, naira depreciation, public debt, and poverty worsening in Africa’s biggest oil producer, which is often touted as the continent’s giant.

Economy in bad shape

The Nigerian economy is in tatters, say experts. Since Mr Tinubu’s announcement of petrol subsidy removal and floating of the foreign exchange market, prices of goods and services have skyrocketed, rising each week even as much as 30 percent.

Africa’s most populous nation is facing a galloping inflation, which is creating more poor people and beggars on the streets.

Since May 29, 2023 when President Bola Tinubu came to power, inflation has risen from 22.79 percent in June 2023 to 29.90 percent in January 2024, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Food inflation, which shows price movements of basic food items, stood at 35.41 percent in January 2024 as against 25.09 percent reported in June 2023, Economy Post had earlier reported.

A piece of furniture sold for N800,000 in May 2023 now costs between N1.9 million and N2.4 million, Economy Post found. A small-sized pack of baby diapers sold between N3,000-N3,200 in January 2024 now sells for N6,000. A bag of rice which cost N46,000 in December 2023 now sells between N70,000 and N80,000.

READ ALSO: Tinubu’s Lagos magic spreads hunger, dollar hits N1825

A dollar stood at less than N800 before May 2023 but it closed at N1,618 on March 8 in the parallel market. The dollar was priced at N1,602 in the official market on March 7. The British pound and euro stood at N2,050 and N1,725 respectively on Aboki Forex.

Similarly, a litre of petrol is sold between N605 and N680 at various filling stations across the country, shooting up transport and logistics costs for individuals and firms.

A combination of high petrol prices and naira devaluation/depreciation has driven up prices, weakened people’s wallets and pushed many into extreme poverty, economists say.

Tinubu has also borrowed from international agencies, raising public debt from N87.9 trillion in May 2023 to N107 trillion today.

An economics lecturer, Mr Tobias Etilokwu, said things had gone from bad to worse owing to Mr Tinubu’s policies, urging him to act fast to arrest the deteriorating situation.

“The economy is in tatters. The president should immediately provide some form of subsidies to farmers, manufacturers and players in the real sector. Part of the reasons for the high inflation today is because many of the things consumed here are imported and purchased with the dollar. It is important for us to now begin to think of producing what we use here locally. Secondly, I would like the government to suspend the petrol subsidy removal and the dollar float policies.

READ ALSO: Forget sentiments, Tinubu right to relocate CBN departments, FAAN to Lagos

“Suspend it first, plan better on how to remove the subsidies in phases over four years. Don’t be deceived, every country has some form of subsidies for its citizens. The United States spends billions of dollars to provide subsidies to its people.

“The United States has food assistance programme, provides money to those who cannot pay utility bills or pay house rents, and gives grants to businesses and households. Let us stop this ignorant way of thinking that citizens must provide everything they need. Why then do we have governments if they can’t support the citizens?” he asked.

Insecurity, a major problem

Before the kidnap of over 227 pupils on March 7, there had been cases of violent crimes under Mr Tinubu.

More than 40 persons persons were killed on November 1, 2023 by Boko Haram terrorists in Maiduguri, Borno State.

In 2024, kidnapping has risen in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. 

Economy Post had reported the kidnap of six sisters in the FCT in early days of 2024. One of the six sisters, identified as Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, was killed by the kidnappers, throwing the country into mourning.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Shettima fails to lead military against criminals as promised during 2023 campaign

The kidnappers had invaded the residence of the family in the Bwari area of Abuja and shot three police officers before kidnapping the sisters and their father. The kidnappers demanded N65 million ($81, 250) and threatened to unleash more mayhem if their demand was not met.

Another kidnap incident also occurred in the FCT on January 20 2023, with a man identified as Abdullahi Sabo being a victim. Kidnappers also abducted several travellers on January 20 at the boundary between Ondo and Ekiti states.

On February 10, a GUO bus was attacked by criminals, killing the driver and kidnapping all the passengers onboard the Lagos-Abuja road.

On March 5, Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists razed 25 buildings meant for returnee internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Gajibo in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State, kidnapping over 100 women.

“The more things change, the more they remain the same,” a security expert, Mr Maxwell Giadom, told Economy Post.

“Families are still paying ransoms, people are still being killed and there is yet no solution to insecurity in Nigeria.

“The president must overhaul his security architecture because it is not working. He must change the personnel there, use intelligence available to him to haunt down sponsors of terrorism and kidnapping.

READ ALSO: 2024 Budget: Agric research institutes to spend 65% allocation on salaries, allowances

Also, Nigeria must begin to use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to fight insecurity. We are in the 21st century and it is easy to track kidnappers with simple AI tools.”

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