PEEVED by the continuous killings of Nigerians by armed bandits across the country, some Civil Society Organizations in the country have called on the National Assembly not to accede to the request for release of more funds by service chiefs.
The organisations which chided the service chiefs for the spate insecurity in the country despite huge appropriation of funds by the federal government, insisted that the best thing the National Assembly can do for the nation at this point was to insist that the service chiefs be relieved of their positions for their incompetence in handling Nigeria’s security sector.
In a statement released to the media, the groups under the umbrella of Conference of Harmonised Civil Society Organizations, said there was no justification for the release of additional funds for the service chiefs in the face of the country’s security problems even as it posited that the security chiefs lied when they claimed that inadequate funding the major reasons for their inability to arrest the nation’s security problems.
Convener of the group, Iwen Daniel- Golozo, who signed the statement, said their position was a fallout of the conference review report of the groups on the Senate’s resolve to grant further financial support to current service chiefs “despite gross failure to protect lives and property of Nigerians.”
” Our attention was drawn to an interface between the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the service chiefs where, insecurity of course, was discussed.
“Further intelligence report at our disposal reveals that the Senate in a desperate attempt to forestall further attacks on Nigerians sought to have an explanation on the porous security situation in the country.
“Behold and surprisingly, or rather disappointed, the service chiefs were heard to have presented lack of adequate funding as the most glaring challenge militating against their effective performance.
“Our organization believes that above submission by the service chiefs before the Senate is blackmail taken too far and it is quite frankly unfortunate and condemnable.
” It is yet unclear if the service chiefs understand the enormity of their submissions and it’s implications on the confidence of Nigerians in this country, “it said.
The organisation said while being appreciative of the Senate and the National Assembly’s curiosity to intervene in the security situation in the country, it was constrained to caution that no further funding should be obliged to the service chiefs as requested.
“While being appreciative of the Senate and National Assembly curiosity to intervene in the security situation in the country, we are constrained to caution that no further funding should be obliged to the service chiefs as requested other than an outright recommendation for their imminent sack.
” We further implore the leadership of the Senate to take up and ensure the sack of the service chiefs with the president. This is the only way that security of lives and property would be guaranteed.
“This is the only way that confidence will be restored in the country, “the statement said.
The group, according to the statement insisted that the legislature takes up the issue of sack of the nation’s security chiefs with President Muhammadu Buhari just as it tasked the president to know that good governance was beyond individuals.
The statement read:”The president is also further counseled to understand that good governance is beyond individuals and rather than promote particular individuals who have failed in their responsibility, government should build institutions to ensure sustainability and effectiveness.
“The president is invited to agree that beyond sentiments, and personal relationship, the lives of Nigerians and other inhabitants of this great country should be paramount.
“He should be reminded that no single individual or group of individuals are indispensable. He should be reminded that effective leadership is not tied to certain personalities but through a systemic implementation of standards and ethics and procedure which by all standard has evaded the current service chiefs.
“The president is assured that until and unless, the security of lives and property is guaranteed, no developmental indices would be felt by Nigerians.”
While it said it was not against adequate funding for security sector, the group, according to the statement, said it was “important to differentiate when the challenge is lack of capacity rather than actual lack of funding as portrayed by the service chiefs.”
“As we journey towards the next general election, we are calling on the president and Nigerians that only an outright sack of the service chiefs can salvage the country’s security in the present circumstances.
“While not supporting fund withholding for security logistics, it is important to differentiate when the challenge is lack of capacity rather than actual lack of funding as portrayed by the service chiefs.
“We are constrained to state categorically and put it on record that no amount of money and grumbling and blackmail can salvage the precarious security situation in the country rather than an outright sack and immediate replacement of service chiefs.
“Until the federal government and the president is inclined towards this patriotic suggestion, Nigerians will have no rest in the hands of armed bandits, insurgents and terrorists, “it said.
It added:” With above nightmares envisaged, we are on record here that should our advise be neglected, and a solution is yet not provided in the few weeks ahead, we shall mobilize Nigerians home and abroad to occupy the presidency, the National Assembly until the needful is done. Nigerians deserve more responsive service chiefs and indeed we demand for it for the good and grandest benefit of our country and her citizens.”
The groups which had earlier given the president ultimatum to sack the service chiefs for displaying incompetence in handling the nation’s security problems, regretted that the president failed to act, saying the development was a sign that they were being retained in office to carry out an ulterior motive.
“We had earlier called on president Buhari and the federal government to Sack the service chiefs following the expiration of their service years.
“Yet to our greatest dismay and bewildered consternation, the president decided to illegally extend their tenure by one year without recourse to the law requirements.
“You will agree with me that during the period under review of this illegal extension of tenure of service chiefs, insecurity of lives and property has gone to an all time high such as has never been expected or experienced in this country.
” We are further inclined to state categorically that, the service chiefs have been overwhelmed either by lack of capacity or it is a coordinated conspiracy to enforce a certain agenda upon the country.
“We are particularly worried that despite having tremendous financial and moral support from the president and Nigerians, the service chiefs are unable to deliver.
“We are further disturbed that in view of the established fact that the government has insisted on working with particular individuals as service chiefs despite the expiration of their service years, no progress has been made, rather unfortunately, more avoidable losses of lives and property have become the nightmare of Nigerians.”
The statement further read:”We are particularly distressed by such events that have led to the current security lapses in the country which has left us not only vulnerable but perpetually susceptible to coordinated attacks from various sources, ranging from Boko Haram insurgents, armed herdsmen, armed bandits, the ever growing highly deadly kidnappers activities.
” This is very disheartening perhaps because the current administration of President Buhari has demonstrated tremendous support to the military and other security agencies in the country.
“It is therefore incumbent on the security service chiefs and those responsible for security to give us effective leadership to justify the the huge funds so far committed in their trust.
“We are distressed that despite the glaring failure of the security chiefs to provide leadership and give direction and enhance security of lives and property, given the moral and financial support at their disposal, we are rather disappointed confronted by a deteriorating situation as can be experienced in unabated killings and blood letting in all parts of the country.
“We are constrained to state as of fact, that gory statistics of avoidable deaths of farmers, clergymen by armed herdsmen in Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states in the recent weeks have become almost predictable.
“This is especially so as the armed bandits usually strike with adequate prior warnings to the public and sometimes with daring media statements available to security agencies Intel sections .
” In spite of all this, the security agencies have continued to watch the other way as Nigerians are exterminated in their own country.
“Then the recent killings in kaduna state where over 80 lives of Nigerians were lost in gruesome and terrible situations remains unpardonable much less unforgettable and particularly unfortunate.
” The new year killings in Benue and the more gruesome and recent killings of two Catholic priests on the alter as well as 17 worshipers in church in Benue State has not only degraded our confidence in the capacity of the current service chiefs but also adequately confirmed that our earlier calls for their sack was justified.
“We are constrained to assert that the embarrassment this spate of killings in the country has brought upon the nation in the international community suffice to warrant a total review of the continued stay of the current service chiefs in office.”
Insisting that the service chiefs were not economical with truth when the cited inadequate funding as bane of fight against insecurity, it said:”How does a president who is determined to work with particular individuals against the law requirement turn around to starve same of funding?
“How can a president who would go against the Constitution and risk impeachment to spend money to make provision for security hardware turn around on the other hand to starve the security agencies of funding?
” How can a president and federal government who have chosen to violate Nigerian Constitution just to retain certain individuals as service chiefs turn around to starve them of funding? Clearly this doesn’t add up.”
“Clearly, this explanation can only but be explained under one subhead, which of course remains the glaring incompetence of the current service chiefs.
” It also points to the positive direction that until and unless the president is advised according to law to sack forthwith all Service Chiefs, security of lives and property would continue to be a mirage before Nigerians, “it noted.