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Insight & Analysis - February 16, 2023

5 Most Controversial Policies of the Buhari Administration

The Buhari government has barely 4 months to wind down, and what a ride it has been these past 8 years.

From his famous inaugural speech of “I am for everybody and for nobody,” to keeping Nigerians waiting for several months before constituting his cabinet, and then pardoning convicted political characters in sharp contrast to his anti-corruption posture, Buhari’s tenure has been nothing short of dramatic. In this review, we take a look at some of the most controversial policies of the Buhari administration

The Introduction of Ruga Settlement Policy

The introduction of Ruga by the Buhari government barely months into his first tenure as president threatened to set the nation on fire. This was because southerners perceived the policy as being directly programmed to favour northerners. The policy, will go down as one of the most controversial policies of the Buhari administration.

Ruga, a Fulani word meaning “human settlement” and also an acronym for “rural grazing area,” was developed by the National Livestock Transformation Plan under the Nigeria Economy Council.

It was a policy that sought to automatically allocate portions of land in every state of the federation for the exclusive use as cattle settlement. The Idea which was conceived to resolve the continuous farmer-herders crisis was however sternly rejected by most state governors.

Lopsided appointment favouring the North 

All through President Buhari’s two term tenure, many have criticised the obvious lopsidedness in appointment into strategic ministries and parastatals.

An analysis carried out by The ICIR shows that of the 40 senior management positions with the NNPC, 24 are occupied by Nigerians from the north while only 16 are from the south.

In 2017, a report by BusinessDay revealed that 81 of Buhari’s 100 political appointees were Northerners. They were either from the northeast, north-west or north central.

Appointments into the military, NNPC, and Court of Appeal have also been hugely lopsided in favour of the north.

Appointment into Nigeria’s security services so far has also been lopsided, as between 2015 and 2020, only two of the eight security chiefs were from the south.

Also, according to ICIR, a regional analysis of the heads of security agencies, including paramilitary and anti graft agencies of the leaders based on their state of origin shows that 12 out of 16 which comes to 75 per cent are from the north while just four, 25 percent are from the southern part of the country.

Controversial deal with Turkey in exchange for military support

In 2021, President Buhari entered into an agreement with the Turkish president to keep surveillance on some Turkey-linked businesses in Nigeria in exchange for intelligence and military support against terrorists.

The move, however, was seen by many as one that held no potential good for Nigeria as it was seen as a potential means of Islamising the country.

Approval of the purchase of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles for Niger Republic

In August 2022, when the news filtered out of President Buahari’s approval of the sum of N1,145,000,000 for the purchase of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to be donated to the neighbouring Niger Republic, many Nigerians were aghast. The reason? to help the country fight insurgency.

Many wondered what the relationship was that necessitated such a big brother gift when the nation itself was struggling to keep up with the activities of bandits and terrorists.

It should be noted that Buhari performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Maradi rail project in February 2021, a 284-kilometer-long rail project connecting Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic. Indeed, one wonders what really lies behind Buhari’s affinity for the Niger Republic.

Naira redesign and cash swap programme

The naira redesign program, which began a few months back and barely five months before the general elections, is arguably by far the most contentious and controversial of the policies introduced by the Buhari administration. The reason for this isn’t far-fetched. It has had the most direct impact on the daily lives of Nigerians.

NEXT: New Naira: President Buhari Blames Banks, Extends Deadline to April 10

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