President Muhammadu Buhari is in London today, having arrived from France, ostensibly for the “Supporting Syria and the Region” conference.
The blurb from the conference’s website says: “Syria is the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Billions of dollars in international aid are needed to support people caught up in the conflict.
“The Supporting Syria and the Region conference will bring together world leaders from around the globe to rise to the challenge of raising the money needed to help millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by the devastating civil war.
“The UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations will co-host the conference in London on 4 February 2016 to raise significant new funding to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of those affected.”
I’m sure that most Nigerians reading this would be asking: “what the heck has this got to do with Nigeria?” There doesn’t seem to be another ruler from sub-Saharan Africa at the conference. The Egyptian delegation was led by their foreign minister.
Mr President, do we not have our own humanitarian crisis from the war with Boko Haram? The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimated that “1,538,982 people forced to flee their homes in Nigeria were still living in internal displacement” as of April last year. There are possibly more today.
Mr President, as you were enjoying yourself celebrating Ogun State’s 40th birthday last week, Boko Haram struck in Dalori, just a few miles away from Maiduguri, killing up to 86 people. Your utter disregard for the victims was lampooned on Twitter by a guy called Mr. Aye Dee, countering celebratory pictures of you in Ogun State with ironic captions such as “A somber President Buhari waves at d people of Maiduguri as he concludes visit to the victims of the #Dalori Massacre”.
Mr President, you jetted off to France like this never happened.
Mr President, do you think French president Francois Hollande would fly out anywhere if 86 people were killed in France in a terror incident? Hollande knew what happened in Nigeria. He knew you didn’t bother visit the site of the atrocity, the wounded and relatives of the victims. He knew you flew out to France afterwards. And he knows that your endless globetrotting while ignoring the problems at home means that you can’t be taken seriously.
To rub your callous disregard for the victims of the Dalori attacks into the faces of their relatives and other Nigerians affected by Boko Haram terror, you then proceed from France to London for a conference about supporting Syria!
Your spokesman claimed that the trip to London was to “continue his push for more global understanding, collaboration and support for Nigeria and other countries in the front lines of the war against terrorism who are striving to overcome its very adverse effects on affected populations.” How about showing some understanding and support for millions of Nigerians in distress?
Mr President, when will you wake up to the reality that your insensitivity is echoing the same behaviour that led to your predecessor Goodluck Jonathan being voted out of office? When will you consider that if each of those trips cost about $500,000, as claimed by some sources, how many Nigerian schools, hospitals, roads, etc, would over 20 trips abroad in less than nine months bring into shape?
Mr President, I have been reliably informed that some senior figures in your party have advised you against your globetrotting and how it doesn’t play well with the Nigerian public, and you have ignored their advice.
Mr President you have now been to France three times in nine months. With your never-ending junketing and the aimless drifting of your administration, it appears most Nigerians have said au revoir to any hopes they had of you delivering the “change” you promised during the presidential campaign.