By Dirisu Yakubu & Fortune Eromonsele, Abuja
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the aegis of Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria, yesterday kicked against the call for the sack of all Security Chiefs, saying relieving them of their duties is not likely to address the situation.
There have been calls from well-meaning Nigerians and groups including the legislature for President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the Service Chiefs of their jobs given the spates of killings and kidnappings across the country.
Addressing a joint press conference at the secretariat of the Abuja Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalist, Chairperson of Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria (Civil Society Centre for Leadership and Followership), Comrade Adams Otakwu, noted that “even if you change and replace a hundred Service Chiefs without strengthening the security infrastructure and addressing the challenges in a holistic manner the insecurity will subsist.”
They urged the government to procure more military equipment to enable the armed forces to prosecute the war against all forms of insurgency.
They also called for cooperation among the military, the civil society and the general public “as these terrorists are faceless and live among the people.”
According to them, “maintaining this internal security is basically the role of the police force, but the police seemed overstretched and that resulted in the intervention by the military in what is otherwise known as military aid to the civil populace.
“Members of these terrorist groups are faceless and sometimes dwell within this civil populace, therefore making the war very unconventional and irregular for the Military
“This theatre of operation is very vast, and has very poor roads and communication infrastructure, which greatly encumber the success of security operations, hence the need for equipment to put the military in top shape.”
While calling on all and sundry to cooperate with the government in the fight against insecurity, Otaku noted that terrorism and insurgency have become global industries from which many groups and non-state actors finance and extend their activities to countries that are vulnerable to their operations.
“In Nigeria, owing to many years of poor leadership and followership, corruption and poor governance, our economy deteriorated and created huge unemployment. Despite efforts by the current government to ameliorate the situation, some jobless citizens still find trade-in terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping that place a serious burden on internal security.”
“In the midst of all these innocent lives are being lost while some persons are busy politicizing the situation, others are inciting the public and recently some began to call for removal of Service Chiefs forgetting that the service Chiefs are individuals and even if you change and replace a hundred Service Chiefs without strengthening the security infrastructure and addressing the challenges in a holistic manner the insecurity will subsist.
“Nigerians must acknowledge that security is our collective responsibility; the government, the military and all citizens must demonstrate more sincerity of purpose and commitment to ending this insecurity.”
He added that “there must be increased civil-military cooperation in the areas of intelligence gathering, identity information networking, lockdown surveillance and reward system for CSO Actors who achieve success in this cooperation like the whistleblowing actions.”