As Buhari prepared to leave office, killings and abductions surged especially after the 2023 elections in the North-central where three of the six states making up the region have persistently faced attacks from non-state actors. The states are Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue.
Gunmen stormed the Gitata district of Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa state on May 12 and mowed down about 40 farmers, including women and children.
Sources claimed the onslaught was an escalation of a similar attack on Tattara Mada and Angwan Barau communities in the Kokona local government area in the state in April, where 20 persons reportedly died and property worth millions were destroyed.
In Plateau state, a yet-to-be-arrested group pounced on the Bwoi District of Mangu local government area on May 16 and killed dozens of residents.
That tragedy adds to other villagers murdered the same day in Adaka village in Makurdi local government and in the Ijaha community of Apa local government area of Benue state where a report said nine people died.
Plateau and Benue states in the North-central as well as Kaduna, Katsina, and Zamfara states in the North-west have been killing fields where thousands of Nigerians have died from insecurity-related causes during the Buhari administration.
Parents besieged Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, after terrorists abducted over 300 school children in the school in December 2021.
The killings have negatively affected education in the states. In January 2022, report shows how parents withdrew their children from schools in Kaduna and Niger states because of insecurity.
In Zamfara state, it was also reported in October 2022 how 30 schools remained shut after one year. The government had opened 45 of the 75 schools it shut after a year.
Challenges such as these are part of the reasons Nigeria has 20 million out-of-school children, the highest number globally.
Hundreds of the nation’s security and paramilitary forces fighting to dislodge terrorists and other criminals also died. For instance, it is reported that 2,140 soldiers, police officers and others were killed during the former president’s tenure.
Insecurity took different forms under Buhari across the geo-political zones. Though he inherited the menace, many Nigerians believe the situation worsened during his tenure against their expectation that he would contain it as a retired military General and a former Head of State.
Banditry and kidnapping reigned in the North-west and North-central and there were still pockets of insurgency in the North-east as of 2022.
‘Unknown gunmen’ tool charge of the South-east, killing people and grounding businesses, while ritual killings surged in the South-west with the attendant human toll.
But there has been relative peace in the South-south where agitators for resource control had wreaked havoc in the past. The region has been largely peaceful because of the federal government’s empowerment programmes for the repentant militants. Ex-militants also secured juicy contracts from the Buhari government to monitor oil infrastructures.
In 2022, terrorists attacked 18 correctional centres and released inmates, including other terrorists across Nigeria, under the president’s watch.
In July 2022, suspected insurgents attacked the Presidential Guards Brigade in the nation’s capital, a situation that forced the National Assembly to threaten to impeach him.
Buhari recorded significant success in containing insurgency in North-east, but insecurity festers in other parts of Nigeria
He inherited a nation blanketed by terrorist attacks, especially in three North-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
In addition to the three states, the terrorists attacked Kano. They also struck the United Nations building in Abuja on August 27, 2011 and another barrage by the group consumed the Police Headquarters in the nation’s capital on July 16, 2012 killing many people, while many fires that erupted from the attack destroyed many assets.
The last major insurgent attack in Nigeria occurred around the Lake Chad region in March, where more than 30 civilians reportedly died.
But Buhari has arguably contained insurgency by the terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP), even if other forms of heinous criminality that consume lives have festered across the country.
As Buhari handed over to Bola Tinubu on May 29, parents of Chibok schoolgirls who are yet to have their children back from captivity are hopeless and sadder about how President Buhari has failed to make good his vow to rescue their children from their captors.