After 8 years in the saddle, President Muhammadu Buhari will exit the stage and hand over to Bola Tinubu on May 29.
Supporters of the President describe him as the “greatest President,” while his critics have more unflattering words to describe him.
This report reviews the most controversial moments under President Buhari in the past 8 years.
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For over six months, Nigerians depended on VPN to access Twitter following the controversial ban of the platform by President Buhari.
Twitter had deleted a post by Buhari which many, particularly from the Southeast, deemed offensive.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” Buhari had said in reference to agitators in the Southeast.
The six months ban was tough for many that relied on the platform for economic activities, and even journalists that use it for gathering news.
EndSARS- Lekki Toll Gate
October 20 Lekki Toll gate event is perhaps the most controversial moment in the country. To some, a massacre was carried out by the military against young Nigerians protesting police brutality.
The EndSARS protesters have since transformed into a powerful movement that played a significant role in the just concluded election.
Whereas, there are government supporters that believe the shooting was a hoax by critics to discredit the government. This event ranks highest on the list of controversial issues.
Invasion of judges’ houses
On the 6th of March 2016, men of Nigeria’s secret police invaded the homes of several senior judicial officers in a Gestapo manner.
During the invasion, the houses of two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Walter Onnoghen and Sylvester Ngwuta were invaded, while the Houses of two federal High Court Justices, Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba were also invaded with the arrest of the former.
While the administration tagged it as a fight against corruption in the judiciary, the backlash was loud from Nigerians, who saw the move as clamping down on the judiciary.
Shutdown of border
About three months after the commencement of the second term of his administration, President Buhari ordered the shutdown of the nation’s land borders; his reason was to curb the smuggling of produce from neighbouring countries.
This policy had an instant impact on the prices of food, particularly rice, and cars. While the administration credits the policy for the “rice revolution”, however, to many Nigerians, the policy is tagged “anti-trade” policy.
Invasion of Nnamdi Kanu House
In the Southeast zone, the government is sharing its authority with non-state actors that have successfully made Mondays a “public holiday”. The region has become a killing field and a gigantic kidnappers’ den.
The origin of the situation in the Southeast could be traced to the invasion of the house of Nnamdi Kanu in 2017.
The invasion happened barely 24 hours after the Nigerian Army announced the start of its second phase of Operation Python Dance II in the South-Eastern states.
Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), subsequently eloped and the crisis in the region increased. His forced reparation and incarceration have exacerbated the insecurity in the region. President Buhari has rejected every plea for the release of Kanu.
Nomination of dead people
In 2017, Buhari nominated about six dead persons for appointments— perhaps a possible record.
Some of the persons nominated include— Francis Okpozo, a senator in the second republic; Donald Ugbaja, a retired deputy inspector-general of police; and Ahmed Bunza, former sole administrator of Jega Local Government Area of Kebbi state.
Others were Christopher Utov, a former proprietor of Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko; and Kabir Umar, a former emir of Katagum in Bauchi state.
An incident involving the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai’s convoy reportedly left over 1,000 Shi’a members dead and the arrest of Its leader, Ibrahim Elzakzaky and his wife.
The controversial Elzakzaky reportedly lost some of his children to the confrontation.
For years, he was detained alongside his wife, leading to protests by his followers, and sometimes confrontation with the police operatives.
Invasion of National Assembly by DSS
Once upon a time, the DSS was headed by the powerful Lawal Daura, who ordered a siege of the National Assembly complex in Abuja, an event that even the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo was not aware of.
To many, the invasion was aimed at undermining Osinbajo; however, Daura was subsequently arrested and removed from office by Osinbajo.
Despite the action taken by Osinbajo, the daring move by the secret police was a direct affront to the legislature.
For about two months, Nigerians grappled with crippling Naira scarcity caused by the redesigning of the Naira embarked upon by the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The epic failure of the policy almost crippled the economy— some Nigerians died, banks were burnt and almost led to a violent uprising.
The Nation was tense, even the Supreme Court had to make a pronouncement on the policy.
The policy even divided the ruling party, with speculation that deep state actors were planning a hostile takeover of the government. Within this period, Nigerians experienced hardship.