President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest caution to bandits terrorizing Nigerian communities has drawn public backlash.
On Thursday, Buhari condemned the killing of scores of civilians by gunmen in Zamfara.
The state is one of the most hit in recent years.
Countless abduction and murder have also been recorded in Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, among others. Yet, the bandits continue to wreak havoc.
In his reaction, the President, expected to reiterate his order for a major crackdown, seemed to threaten the outlaws.
“These criminals should stop pushing their luck too far by believing that the government lacks the capacity to crush them”, he warned.
A cross-section of Nigerians were amazed by the warning. They lambasted the President for not doing enough to wipe out banditry.
In replies understory, respondents expressed dismay about Buhari’s pronouncement.
Leye Isaac: “You mean you still have extra limit for the killings of innocent citizens?”
Deborah Julius: “Our president that is always shocked, wants to crush bandits? For how many years?”
Shuaibu Gana: “What are you waiting for? The people that are crushing the country, you are still looking for a reason to crush them.”
Murtadoh: “Just talking as if he is talking to his kids. I hope the bandits are listening.”
Azuka Ebeh: “Stop warning them, crush them all! We lose our men in the Army on daily basis. We have also lost our jet bomber. This should push you to crush them all and safe the country from banditry and bokonism.”
However, Matthew Page, a former U.S. intelligence community expert, said that the President must understand that actions speak louder than words.
“Hardened bandits and other violence entrepreneurs are not going to be deterred by tough talk, but by more effective, better equipped, and more trusted and respected law enforcement”, said Page, an associate fellow at Chatham House.
Festus Ogun, a lawyer and human rights, noted that the Nigeria leader’s “recurrent rhetorics is becoming stale and boring”.
“He issues empty threats every now and then without any visible result. Apparently, the words are not enough. What Nigerians really need is a President that with put actions to his words.
“President Buhari cannot fight terror by mere words of mouth without a commitment to really win the fight. The failure is getting too embarrassing”, Ogun added.
Currently, the four Zamfara villages in Magami district of Gusau Local Government Area, where the bandits stormed on Wednesday, are empty.
The indigenes insist their homes are no longer safe for them to remain. One of them, Ibrahim Mohammed described the situation as “terrible”.
He said no one was prepared to return to the communities until the federal and state governments address the killings and kidnappings.
“I am from Magami district and I ran to Gusau, the state capital, when I got the chance to escape after the terror attacks on the four villages.
“These communities have been deserted and nobody is willing to go back there for the fear of the unknown”, he said.