By Our Correspondents
There is unanimity in the opinion of President Muhammadu Buhari and cross-section of Nigerians on the state of security and performance of Service Chiefs in safeguarding the country.
The common agreement is: Insecurity has worsened and the Security Chiefs have performed below par.
However, that is where the consensus ends. If the President believes the best of the Service Chiefs is not good enough, as he pointedly told them on Thursday, he should sack them immediately, some eminent Nigerians and groups urged.
Indeed, some of them told Sunday Vanguard, yesterday, that it is sad that Buhari is just realising the non-performance of security heads five years after.
It’s a slap on the wrist — NEF
Describing the President’s rebuke as a slap on the wrist, spokesman for the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, said: “In principle, we commend any effort to improve the manner Nigerians are secured and protected. Northerners in particular are desperately in need of relief that can only come from stronger political will and enhanced capacity of defence, security, and law and order.
“We will reserve jugdement on the value of the President’s slap on the wrist. We expect a dramatic improvement in the manner Nigerians are protected, or penalties for failure. Apperently the President still believes Service Chiefs can do better than their best.
“We hope they can improve because our communities are tired of being slaughtered.”
Service Chiefs overdue for sack — Afenifere
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, described the chastisement of the Service Chiefs by Buhari as a welcome development, saying their sack is long overdue.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: “We are in more trouble than we may ever imagine if it has taken the President five years and protest in his home state to realize that the service chiefs are ineffective.
“And to continue keeping them after thousands of lives have been lost to insecurity in the land is the height of it. What can these people do after his warning which they have not been able to do in five years?”
Rebuke not enough- National President, MBF
National President of Middle Belt Forum, MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, in his reaction, said: “It is a welcome development. It means that the man has suddenly woken up to the reality on the ground.
“Nigerians have continually told him that the Service Chiefs are not performing and there is need for him to change them. The calls have been on for over two years now and for him to now realise that they are not performing is good news.
“The rebuke is not enough, we want him to take the next step which is changing them and bringing in new hands with new ideas.’’
Rebuke too long in coming — Ohanaeze, ASETU, MASSOB, others
Umbrella body of Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the Association of South-East Town Unions, ASETU, said the rebuke was too long in coming while the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, described it as mere deceit.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said if
Buhari had said so three years ago when the clamour for change of the Service Chiefs started, a lot of lives would have been saved.
Nwodo, reacting through his Personal Assistant on Media, Emeka Attama,said: “The President’s rebuke took too long in coming. If he had said this three years ago or done the needful in changing the Service Chiefs when the clamour started, a lot of lives of Nigerians would have been saved.
“His intransigence by refusing to listen to the voice of the majority of Nigerians and various groups is inexplicable and smirks of crime against humanity. He should be held accountable for the avoidable deaths of thousands of Nigerians.”
On his part, ASETU President General, Chief Emeka Diwe, said Buhari’s rebuke came pretty too late. He said: “Buhari’s belated rebuke is also not good enough. He needs to put up a serious, not pretended action against the insurgency. Boko Haram is nothing to Nigeria’s military strength if they are serious”.
Igbo elite group, Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, also urged the President to go beyond rebuke and replace the service chiefs with new and vibrant officers.
MASSOB said the rebuke was just deceitful.
According to its leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu: “The leadership of the Movement for
the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra is not surprised that President Buhari will continue in his antics of deceiving the people of Nigeria.
“To the people of Nigeria, Buhari is a monumental failure and disappointment.’’
The Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, urged the President to stop the blame game, and remove the Service Chiefs.
Buhari has prerogative to fire service chiefs—Bode George
Former Military Governor of old Ondo State, Commodore Bode Olabode, retd, said the President has the prerogative to fire the Service Chiefs if he is tired of their performance.
George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, said: “When you stay too long on a seat, you get tired, perhaps they are tired. It is Buhari’s prerogative to keep them. If they have been there since he got there for over five years now, it is his prerogative.
“For me, if he is not satisfied with them, it is not for public consumption, he should just take appropriate action. There is so much insecurity in the northern part of the country and it is coming to the South.”
Rebuke shows Buhari is not in charge – Arewa youths
President, Arewa Youth Forum, AYF, Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, said: “Like many other Nigerians, what President Buhari said as regards the service chiefs, clearly showed he is not fully in charge as Commander-in-Chief.
It was a sign of weakness. Majority of Nigerians are agitating for their removal and it has to be unconditional because of their inability to succeed in their assignment over the years. Our expectation is for the president to relieve them of their positions.”
Ijaw professionals, Bayelsa CAN, others speak
President Ijaw Professionals Association, Iniruo Wills, said: “The President’s rebuke is overdue but not satisfactory. The rebuke is not enough. “
Reverend Father Joseph Opelema, Vicar General Catholic Diocese of Bomadi and Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Bayelsa State chapter, said: “The service chiefs are behaving like politicians who sit tight in office even when the entire system is crumbling.’’