The Economist blasts Buhari, Army, says soldiers are ‘ghosts’, exist only on payroll

Accuses President of failing to curb corruption

A United Kingdom (UK)-based newspaper, The Economist, has criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the Nigerian Army over the poor state of the country.

In its editorial, titled: ‘The crime scene at the heart of Africa’ the paper took out time to analyse the socio-political-cum-economic state of Nigeria.

It equally specified reasons why Nigerian youths migrate to other countries, quering: “Why, then, do most young Nigerians want to emigrate? One reason is that they are scared. Jihadists are carving out a caliphate in the North-East region; gangs of kidnappers are terrorising the North-West; the fire of Biafran secessionism has been rekindled in the oil-rich South-East. The violence threatens not just Nigeria’s 200 million people, but also the stability of the entire region that surrounds them”.

Faulting Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, the paper, founded in 1843, said: “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 that this would spur domestic production.

“Instead, he sent annual food inflation rate soaring above 20%. 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 petro-dollars, much of which their rulers have squandered or stolen. Many politicians continue to blame rival ethnic or religious groups, claiming that they have taken more than their fair share. This wins votes, but makes Nigeria a tinderbox”.

“When violence erupts, the government does nothing or cracks heads almost indiscriminately. Nigeria’s army is mighty only on paper; 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”, it stated.

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