With the sudden outcry against the poor handling of the fight against insurgency and the increased wave of kidnapping, banditry and extra-judicial killings across the country, which is a clear departure from the usual stance of self-denial, the federal government may be compelled to review the national security architecture and for once, take the issue of national security more seriously for the benefit of Nigerians and foreigners in the country
By Anayo Ezugwu
THE message is now clear. For once Nigerians seem to be speaking with one voice that the country is at the verge of collapse as a result of insecurity. Even the All Progressives Congress, APC-led National Assembly has joined the masses in crying for help from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmakers are saying that the current security situation in the country has deteriorated and the attendant loss of lives on daily bases cannot be allowed to continue. Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, on Monday, January 27, called for restructuring of the security architecture in the fight against insecurity in the country.
He said the security architecture should be restructured as the present system appear not to give Nigeria the type of outcome that is needed. “Whether it is the federal, state or local government; even the traditional rulers or others, the most important thing is to secure the lives and property of Nigerians and we will do that,” he said.
On Wednesday, January 29, other members of the Senate joined Lawan in calling for the restructuring of the security system in the country. But the height of their concern was the call by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe for Buhari to resign over growing insecurity.
“All the time that we wasted in Nigeria trying to find all these excuses for non-performance has now come to stare us in the face. Reality is no respecter of persons. It is that reality we are facing now. Senator Sani Musa is shouting every day his people are being killed in Niger. We just took one (a motion) from Jos; a student who was murdered in the full view of everybody with a pistol. Yet, we are being told that they (Boko Haram terrorists) have been defeated.
“Nigerians did not elect the Inspector General of Police. We did not elect the Chief of Staff. We did not elect the service chiefs. We did not elect the National Security Adviser. We elected the government of the APC in 2015 and reelected them in 2019. The reason we reelected them was that they continued to tell us they had a key to security.
“When you want to deal with a matter, you go with the head, so we will go with the government and ask this government to resign because they can no longer do anything. Yes, the Nigerians voted a government into power and that government even said, ‘if we don’t perform, stone us, we are going with the stones to stone them now because they are no longer performing,” he said.
As a result of this, the Senate has urged the president to declare a national security emergency to address growing concerns across the country. After extensive deliberation on the issue, the Red Chamber resolved that: “Mr. President should declare a national security emergency and set up an ad-hoc committee to engage the security agencies and report to the Senate, as well as engage the national security institution to discuss their operational structures, funding, equipment, and staff in position with a view to reviewing the national security architecture to make it more responsive in tackling the myriad security challenges facing the nations and the people.”
Other resolutions include to have the committee produce a draft implementation modality on ways and means of tackling the current security challenges for the consideration of the Senate and to invite the Inspector General of Police to appear before the plenary and brief the Senate on the concept and the practical implementation of state policing and policies on Wednesday, February 5.
Apart from the Senate, the House of Representatives also called on the service chiefs to resign their positions. The house resolved that the service chiefs had outlived their usefulness.
“It will be to the detriment of the country if these men keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result in tackling the security challenges Nigeria is grappling with. There is need for the service chiefs to resign since President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to sack them.”
They called for the redeployment of soldiers serving in various theatres of war in the Northeast, saying that the soldiers have stayed too long at the war front and were exhausted. “The soldiers should be replaced to improve the onslaught against insurgents in the region.”
Despite the National Assembly accepting that the time to play the Ostrich has gone, the fact remains that they have a big work to do in convincing President Buhari that the security situation has really deteriorated.
A trip with Abuja-Kaduna rail tells the story that the rich with their bullet-proof SUVs have abandoned the roads for the masses. But even those, who make use of the railway are no longer safe. Again, moving across the country from northeast, northwest, north central, southwest, southeast and south-south, the story is the same. Evidence on ground shows that in present day Nigeria, life has become brutish and short.
No day passes without report of killings, adoption or beheading of Nigerians by either Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, bandits or kidnappers. Boko Haram has advanced in northeast, from bombing and adoption of people to beheading of citizens. They are also taking over northwest and north-central with renewed attacks in Kaduna, Niger, Plateau and Benue states in form of herdsmen and bandits. In southern Nigeria, armed robbers, herdsmen and kidnappers are running amok. They have taken over many highways, especially at the damaged portions, which are too many on almost all the roads in the country kidnapping people for ransom.
All these justify the report of the 2019 Global Terrorism Index that Nigeria ranks the third most impacted country in the world by terrorism. The report shows that only Iraq and Afghanistan are ranked worse than Africa’s most populous country, which has been dealing with violent insurgency in its northeastern region since 2009. Nigeria featured on the Global Terrorism Index due to incessant activities of the Fulani militant group, which was tagged the fourth deadliest terror group in the world.
According to the Expat Insider Survey of 2019 by InterNations, Nigeria has been adjudged the third most dangerous country in the world. It outlined poor governance, mismanagement of resources, widespread corruption and insecurity as the factors contributing to the sustained proliferation of terrorist activities, poverty, infrastructural deficits, militancy, religious unrest, insurgency and kidnapping.
In order to address these obvious challenges, governors are now setting up regional security outfits to protect lives and properties in their regions. For instance, the southwest governors recently inaugurated the Operation Amotekun for policing of the region.
Likewise, southeast governors are planning to set up its security outfit. Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State said a regional security outfit has been formed to protect lives and properties in the southeast, Umahi, who broke the news in his capacity as the chairman of the Southeast Governors’
Forum on Wednesday, January 29, said the need for total re-evaluation of the security architecture in the region informed the formation of the joint security to ensure adequate security.
Umahi said that southeast governors have written to the federal government on the joint security taskforce in the zone and that they are putting things together on the outfits launched to strengthen security in the region.
The moves by the National Assembly and some state governors to check insecurity has actually raised doubts over the sincerity of President Buhari-led administration in fighting those killing and running riot in the country. The National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, said that the president was not sincere in the fight against insecurity.
The NCEF in a statement noted that Buhari should be held responsible for the audacity, expansion, and unbridled atrocities of ISWAP, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria. Elder Solomon Asemota, national chairman, NCEF, said while Buhari appropriately described the Islamic terrorists, one would, however, require a lot of hope before attaching any sincerity to his statement given the excessive pro-Islamic direction of his government since 2015. “President Buhari not only deliberately created the atmosphere for Islamic insurgency to thrive in Nigeria, but has equally adopted repentant terrorists into the Nigerian Army,” he said.
But in the face of obvious disaster befalling the nation, special adviser on media and publicity to the president, said despite the growing insecurity in the country, security has improved under the Buhari administration. He said the recent bomb blast in Borno mosque was regrettable, Nigeria used to experience as many as 10 bombings in a day before President Buhari took over from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The situation is not as bad as you are making it seem. The president’s promise is well alive and the work continues. There are many redeeming sides to the country’s security situation when compared to how it was before Buhari assumed office. We know what the situation was as at 2015 and we know what it is today. Despite the reversals in security, it is still not as bad as it used to be in this country.
“There was a bombing or two today, there was a time there were five, six, ten bombings in a day in this country. It is very bad to lose even a single soul in the country. But when we begin to make it seem it is all bad and bad, and no redeeming side to it, then it’s not proper. There are many redeeming sides to the security situation in the country compared to how president Buhari met it in 2015 and it is those who are affected most who can tell you, particularly, those who live in the northeast,” he said.
These-not-withstanding, what is President Buhari really waiting for before proscribing the armed herdsmen terrorists and possibly decimate and defeat Boko Haram, bandits and others?
– Jan. 31, 2020 @ 19:15 GMT |