Demand immediate sack of service chiefs, restructuring of security architecture
*Ask UN security to sanction any member state that refuses selling arms to Nigeria
By Joseph Erunke
MOVED by the current state of insecurity in the country, some elders in the country under the aegis of Coalition of Nigeria Elders for Peace and Good Governance (CONEPAGG), have urged the federal government to seek foreign help to tackle the worsening situation.
The elders, whose call was necessitated by the latest killings of innocent farmers in Borno and Sokoto states by both insurgents and bandits, asked President Muhammad Buhari to save Nigeria of further loss of lives of its citizens by not only immediately removing the service chiefs but also completely rejigging the entire security architecture.
They equally appealed to the United Nations Security Council to intervene in Nigeria’s growing deteriorating security situation, asking the international security body to consider stiff sanctions against any member state that refuses to sell arms to the country.
They stated their positions in a statement issued Tuesday and signed by Engr. Zana Goni, National Coordinator, Prof. Adebola Adeboye, Coordinator South West, Dr. Ugwuanyi Emeka, Coordinator South East, Sheik Ibrahim Mohammed Coordinator North West, Barr. Peter Shima, as Coordinator North Central; Hajiya Zainab Bulama as Coordinator, North East, and Dr. Solomon Dagogo as Coordinator of South-South region, respectively.
The elders said their action followed an emergency meeting they convened to air out their feelings and present their demands to the Nigerian authorities as well as appeal to the necessary international bodies for possible intervention in the country’s worsening security situation.
“As concern Nigerians with love for our dear country, we had to urgently summon this emergency meeting to appraise the current security situation and proffer possible solution.
“Today, December 1, 2020, we are here in Abuja to appraise the security situation in the country, particularly in the North, and make some necessary and urgent demands on the President, Muhammadu Buhari, United Nations Security Council, and the Nigeria National Assembly,” the statement read.
They condemned the gruesome killing of farmers in Borno State by insurgents, describing the action as inhuman and barbaric.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms ever the barbaric, senseless, and gruesome killing of over 43 Nigeria farmers in Borno State”, they said, adding:” Our hearts are with the families and people of Borno State.”
The elders also took a swipe at the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu over a statement credited to him to the effect that the farmers died of carelessness, demanding that he be sacked immediately.
“We also described as unfortunate, the senseless, irresponsible and insensitive statement credited to Mallam Garba Shehu, the spokesman of the president who made a statement suggesting that the innocent farmers died out of their carelessness.
” Nothing can be more callous and insensitive as this statement at a time the whole country is mourning. We demand his immediate sack by Mr. President to serve as a deterrent to people who always put his government in a bad light,” the statement read.
According to them, “The insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the North, has taken an alarming and dangerous dimension and we strongly believe that now is the time to act swiftly or we will have ourselves to blame.”
Food security is already threatened, inflation and recession are already terribly with us. If nothing is done within these few days, we Nigeria may collapse totally,” they added.
They said: “Our demand as Nigerians with repute and equal stake like other well-meaning Nigerians in the country from the executive are: Immediate sack of the current service chiefs and replace them with younger generals with federal character coloration that have the zeal and commitment to change the game on insecurity immediately.”
The other demands, according to the elders, is “total overhaul of the entire intelligence and security architecture of the country for effective results; increase in the budgetary provision and early release of funds by the Federal Ministry of Finance to security sector because we discovered that lack of timely release of funds to all the security agencies has hampered operation and quick response.”
“Our police stations don’t even have fuel in their vehicles to respond to threats, allowances of troops in the North West and North East and Niger Delta have not been paid for months,” they claimed, asking: “How can we be that insensitive to the people on the front line? How can our security be active with an empty stomach and low motivation?”
Another demand, according to the elders is that “Mr. President commences an immediate national dialogue through town hall meetings that will capture all critical stakeholders of the Nigeria project.”
“Mr. President should as a matter of national urgency, put up programmes in collaboration with the private sector that will create at least 10 million jobs for our teeming youths in the country,” they added.
They called on the National Assembly to stop treatment of the 2021 Budget until President Buhari sacks the service chiefs, saying the president’s retention of the security chiefs in spite of the resolutions of both chambers, asking for change was an affront on the supremacy of the legislature.
“Our demand for the Legislative Arm is one: Stop every deliberation on the 2021 budget until Mr. President sacks the service chiefs and restructure the entire security architecture in accordance with the resolutions of the two chambers of the National Assembly to that effect. The action of the president is ignoring the resolutions is no doubt, an affront on the legislature,” they said.
The second demand from the elders, according to the statement is for the legislature to immediately commence debate on true federalism.
The elders called on the United Nations Security Council to “as a matter of urgency come to our aid in the fight against insurgence and banditry because the most powerful nations in Africa is about to be consumed with insecurity and hunger.”
“This may be worse if nothing is done within these days. Women and children are the worst hit.
“We demand that they sanction any member state that refuses to sell arms and military hardware to Nigeria going forward,” they said.
In the statement, the elders appealed to the youths to believe in Nigeria and continue to pursue their demands for a better Nigeria peacefully and legally without taking laws into their hands.
“Destroying government and private properties will only put them more in jeopardy and acute hunger,” the statement noted.