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The Economist Describes Buharis’s Nigeria As ‘The Crime Scene At The Heart of Africa’

London-based news magazine, The Economist, has described the government of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as inept and high-handed, adding that he had also failed to tackle corruption.

The 178-year-old magazine said this in an editorial titled, ‘The Crime Scene at the Heart of Africa,’ which was published in its October 23, 2021, issue.

It said due to Buhari’s mismanagement of the economy, food prices had soared while life had become more difficult for Nigerians.

The editorial read in part, “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 this would spur domestic production.

“Instead he sent annual food inflation soaring above 20 per cent. 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 petrodollars, much of which their rulers have squandered or stolen.”

The Economist stated that even before COVID-19 last year, Nigeria was already witnessing unprecedented poverty.

The news magazine opined that this economic hardship was fuelling the current insecurity in the country.

“Two factors help explain Nigeria’s increasing instability: a sick economy and a bumbling government. Slow growth and two recessions have made Nigerians poorer, on average, each year since oil prices fell in 2015.

“Before COVID-19, 40 per cent of them were below Nigeria’s extremely low poverty line of about $1 a day. If Nigeria’s 36 states were stand-alone countries, more than one-third would be categorised by the World Bank as “low-income” (less than $1,045 a head). Poverty combined with stagnation tends to increase the risk of civil conflict,” it argued.

The Economist gave the Nigerian Army a dressing down, describing the military organisation as only strong on paper.

It alleged that the army had ghost workers on its payroll and often sold equipment to insurgents who destabilise the nation.

The news magazine said the Nigeria Police Force was poorly trained and underpaid hence they rob innocent citizens in order to augment their salaries.

The editorial further read, “When violence erupts, the government does nothing or crack heads almost indiscriminately. Nigeria’s Army is mighty on paper. But 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.

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