The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has blamed the insecurity situation in the country on the inability of late General Murtala Muhammed’s regime to carry on with its policy on compulsory free education for citizens born after 1970
Murtala Mohammed, who overthrew Yakubu Gowon’s regime, was Nigeria’s military ruler from July 1975 until when he was assassinated on February 13, 1976.
Featuring on a Channels TV programme on Monday, information minister Lai Mohammed says the nation’s current woes could be traced to the failings of the past military junta.
He said, “The fact is that in 1973, we were informed by the lead discussant and that the government of the day they had a retreat and said there must be a national pledge that what is that thing that we must do to ensure that we did not go through another civil war.
“The government of that day came out with a decision that what will prevent another civil war is to ensure that anybody born after January 1970 has free and compulsory primary education.”
The minister added that the incumbent government is suffering the consequences of the failed compulsory free education for citizens.
Before now, the minister had blamed insecurity on the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, which ruled the country for 16 years, absolving the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress party of responsibility.
He said Buhari’s government is confronted with issues associated with having over 13.2 million out-of-school children, who could be easily recruited for terrorism and banditry.
“Regrettably that administration was overthrown two years later and all the lofty ideas and all the preparations that were needed to ensure that every child of school age acquired free and compulsory education were jettisoned.
“And we are paying the price today because if you have 13.2 million children of school-age out of school that is the market which Boko Haram, bandits, IPOB and other militants, that is the market where they recruit people,” he said.
Mohammed’s admission of 13.2 million out-of-school children further counters claims on how the Buhari-led government has succeeded in returning many of the out-of-school children to school.
The Buhari administration which assumed office in 2015 has been characterised by worsening insecurity across the country, eliciting widespread apathy and confusion.
It has been an era of gunmen marauding every part of the country as terrorists, bandits, killer pastoralists, separatists and armed robbers.
On Tuesday, a senator of Buhari’s ruling APC, Smart Adeyemi said the country’s national security architecture had collapsed and called on the president to immediately seek help from other countries to prevent a civil war.