The Economist, a London based news magazine has given a damning verdict of the Nigeria’s ruling, All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator.
The magazine described Buhari as inept and high-handed, adding that he had also failed to tackle corruption.
In an editorial titled ‘The Crime Scene at the Heart of Africa,’ the 178-year-old magazine gave the description in the editorial which was published in its October 23, 2021, issue.
According to the editorial, due to Buhari’s mismanagement of the economy, food prices had soared while life had become more miserable for Nigerians.
“Economic troubles are compounded by a government that is inept and heavy-handed. Mr Buhari, who was elected in 2015, turned an oil shock into a recession by propping up the naira and barring many imports in the hope this would spur domestic production.
“Instead he sent annual food inflation soaring above 20 per cent. He has failed to curb corruption, which breeds resentment. Many Nigerians are furious that they see so little benefit from the country’s billions of petrodollars, much of which their rulers have squandered or stolen,” the editorial read in part, “
The Economist noted that even before COVID-19 in 2020, Nigeria was already experincing unprecedented poverty, stressing that this economic hardship was fuelling the current insecurity in the country.
“Two factors help explain Nigeria’s increasing instability: a sick economy and a bumbling government. Slow growth and two recessions have made Nigerians poorer, on average, each year since oil prices fell in 2015.
“Before COVID-19, 40 per cent of them were below Nigeria’s extremely low poverty line of about $1 a day. If Nigeria’s 36 states were stand-alone countries, more than one-third would be categorised by the World Bank as “low-income” (less than $1,045 a head). Poverty combined with stagnation tends to increase the risk of civil conflict,” it posited.
The magazine gave also dragged the Nigerian Army in the mud, describing the military as only strong on paper, alleging that the army had ghost workers on its payroll and often sold equipment to insurgents who destabilise the nation.
For the Nigeria Police, it said the Nigeria Police Force was poorly trained and underpaid which it says explains why they rob innocent citizens in order to augment their salaries.
“When violence erupts, the government does nothing or crack heads almost indiscriminately. Nigeria’s Army is mighty on paper. But many of its soldiers are ‘ghosts’ who exist only on the payroll, and much of its equipment is stolen and sold to insurgents. The army is also stretched thin, having been deployed to all of Nigeria’s states.
“The police are understaffed, demoralised and poorly trained. Many supplement their low pay by robbing the public they have sworn to protect,” the editorial further read.
The Economist called on the Department of State Services to stop disobeying court orders and release all those being detained illegally, describing as scandalous the refusal of the Nigerian government to arrest and prosecute any of the security operatives that killed protesters in Lagos last year.
It called on the Nigerian government to stop the slide towards lawlessness and make its own forces obey the law.
The Economist stated; “Soldiers and police who murder or torture should be prosecuted. That no one has been held accountable for the slaughter of perhaps 15 peaceful demonstrators against police abuses in Lagos last year is a scandal. The secret police should stop ignoring court orders to release people who are being held illegally. This would not just be morally right, but also practical: young men who see or experience state brutality are more likely to join extremist groups.”
It described Nigeria was home to one of the largest film industries in the world and had the most successful start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa and argued that despite the great potential of the country, youths were beginning to emigrate in droves because of the sorry state of Nigeria.