By Joseph Erunke
Northern elders have blamed failure of intelligence on the part of Service Chiefs for the rising spate of insecurity in the South West and other geo-political zones in the country.
Reports of suspected terrorists taking over some forests in Oyo State, have heightened tension, with many fearing that the situation has the potential of spiraling beyond control if not urgently checked.
According to the elders, the failure of intelligence was largely responsible for the inability of the military and other security agencies to put measures in place to check the criminal activities of some marauding foreign militias occupying forest reserves in the South West. The obvious gap in security gave room for some people to turn to violence to secure themselves consequently leading to attacks on innocent Fulanis like the Sarikin Fulani of Oyo State, Alh. Saliu Abdulkadri, by some youths allegedly led by one Sunday Adeyemo (aka Igboho).
It was the elders’ considered view that, had the Service Chiefs been proactive in the discharge of their duties, the situation wouldn’t have gotten this bad and the home and other valuables of the Sarkin would not have been burnt by the protesting youths.
Consequently, the elders, who operate under the auspices of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD), have reiterated their call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the present crop of Service Chiefs, to pave the way for the appointment of new officers with fresh ideas and perspectives.
In a statement, Monday, by the National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, the coalition said the world over, intelligence-led law enforcement was the way out of security challenges.
The group alleged that insecurity had continued to worsen across the country as a result of the seeming lack of capacity on the military high command to evolve new operational strategies that will deal with contemporary security challenges confronting the nation.
The CNEPD has, however, appealed to Hausa/Fulani youths across the country to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands, promising to continue to press for justice for the Sarkin Fulani in Oyo, and all others that may have been affected by the act of arson.
“In continuation of our intervention in the burning of Sarkin Fulani’s house and other assets, we make bold to say that the evil act resulted from failure of intelligence and lack of proactiveness on the part of our battle-weary Service Chiefs who, obviously, have lost touch with the realities of the time”, the elders said in the statement.
While wondering why actions that threaten security and public safety should not be nipped in the bud before they are executed, the elders warn that unless the security architecture of the nation was rejigged, non-state actors will continue to disturb peaceful co-existence among citizens.
The statement read: “Military and security agencies in the country must leave their comfort zones, and find contemporary solutions to confront security challenges, which have become rather intricate in nature.
“We challenge security heads across the thirty-six states of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to adopt intelligence-based strategies in their daily operations, as this will go a long way in forestalling the occupation of forest reserves by marauding militias and wicked acts such as the attack on the Sarkin Fulani and other innocent citizens.
“We are aware that this reprehensible action by the few deviant youths did not just manifest, as news that same may happen had been in the public space for a while, before it happened.
“Ordinarily, apart from bringing perpetrators of the bestial conduct to book, we thought that by now, appointing authorities would have shown some people the way out.
“It is our humble submission that what happened to the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo and others is, without mincing words, a clear case of dereliction of duty.
“As it is, the possibility of reprisals may not be ruled out, and we will not be surprised if that happens, since our military heads are not proactive in their handling of security concerns.
“It is shocking that the presidential aide’s, who are always quick to defend the retention of these over-due Generals, have not said anything on this otherwise avoidable attacks on a harmless citizens on their farms and the recent attack on the Sarkin, who has continued to work for the peace and stability of Oyo State in particular,and the country in general.
It concluded thus: “It is against this backdrop, therefore, that we renew our passionate call to our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari, to set aside whatever sentimental attachment there is to the Service Chiefs, and assemble a fresh next level team of officers,as demanded by Nigerians.
“From empirical evidence available to us, we think Nigerians are running out of patience with the decision of Mr. President to continue to keep these failed crop of security heads, under whose watch insecurity has gone from bad to worse.