*Charges president to be ruthless with bandits,insurgents if he wants peace to reign
*Says president’s body language to criminals must clearly indicate intolerance
*Fears worsening insecurity may escalate to fatal dimensions unless…
*Hold state govts,police, military accountable where there are obvious lapses,negligence,it tells president
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–A peace advocacy organization has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to concentrate only on solving the security problems at the moment.
The group asked the president to be ruthless with perpetrators not minding what they seem to be projecting.
This came against the backdrop of increasing cases of abductions and kidnappings occasioned by worsening insecurity in the country.
The group, Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative,GOPRI, particularly charged the president to clearly and actionably indicate intolerance for the activities of bandits and perpetrators of similar criminal activities in the country.
Reacting to the current state of the nation in a statement through its Executive Director and rights activist, Amb. Melvin Ejeh, GOPRI warned that unless the president’s body language to criminals completely changes to that of intolerance, perpetrators could mistake him for being in support of their activities, thereby heightening their acts, the result of which it feared,could be catastrophic for the country.
The organization, according to Amb. Ejeh, wants the president and his administration not only to be audacious but also unambiguous in dealing with the security problems of the country with a view to nipping it in the bud before it gets to an irreversible point.
Expressing its regret that insecurity in the country was getting to the point where citizens can no longer sleep with their eyes closed, the organization insisted that “a lot more can be done both at the government and security agencies’ level.
“The body language of the President and indeed the Government should clearly and actionably indicate intolerance for the activities of these bandits and similar criminals. It should be audacious and unambiguous,” it said.
Noting that,”The security situation in the country is really bad and has tendency to escalate to a more fatal dimensions if not tackled seriously and urgently”,it tasked the government to sit up.
“Addressing the security challenges should be the Government’s topmost priority now, any other thing can follow,” it urged.
GOPRI, while noting that,”The security situation has direct impact on other aspects of our nation especially the economy, insisted that government must give priority to it.
” It should be given priority in terms of adequate, timely funding and other necessary support as well as strong political will,”it said.
“The President should hold the state governments, Police, security agencies and military accountable where there are obvious lapses and negligence,” the group urged the president.
Noting that the president was not getting it right in the security subsector because, according to him, he was not being told the true situation of the developments in the country, Amb Ejeh said:”Principal staff and aides to the President should support him by telling him the whole truth always.”
“There is no need to hide under all these nepotism and selfishness. It is our country and we all have a stake and have to play our parts sincerely for the overall good of the nation and the future of the youths and our children,” he reiterated.
Also advising security agencies on the way forward, the rights activist while noting that the police needed adequate funding to enable it confront insecurity headlong, however, observed that “most of them have not shown enough commitment to justify previous investments and support given to them by the Government ( including state governments) and private individuals ( like Dangote and others).”
” It’s either they are deliberately trying to sabotage the efforts of the IGP or most of them are just not committed,”he said, adding: “I admit that we have some very fine and committed police officers who are doing very well despite the shortfalls (like DCP Abba Kyary, DCP Kolo and others).”
” But majority are not committed, we still have a lot of policemen and women paid regularly from tax payers’ money and our common wealth without rendering commensurate services to the people. So what are most of them doing, hanging around on our major roads and cannot prevent most crimes?”He asked.
“I can’t imagine gunmen moving freely in towns and attacking police stations; carting away weapons and burning the stations. If the police can’t defend their police stations, how can they defend the people. What do the gunmen use that our policemen don’t have? Weapons? I think the DPOs of such stations should be held accountable. Scare funds will now be used to rebuild such police stations and procure weapons only for the gunmen to return again. It is unacceptable. We must say the truth.
“The Police have to sit up, train and work assiduously with what is available as governments ( federal and state) make effort to provide necessary logistics. Also the hard working and committed policemen should be commended and adequately compensated, while the erring ones should be appropriately sanctioned,” he said.
Commenting on the military’s efforts in tackling insecurity, Ejeh, while admitting that “they have made visible efforts and are still doing so”, however said “they can still do a lot more.”
“I don’t subscribe to this idea of hyping the capabilities of these bandits and making them look invincible and super heroes . What weapons and logistics do they have that our troops don’t have more? Even most of the weapons and platforms used by Boko Haram terrorists were the ones abandoned by our troops.
“I urge the military commanders and troops to do more. Show more commitment and go beyond the normal call of duty. Yes, there are serious and worrisome deficits in funding, manpower and equipment but we cannot afford the luxury of being overwhelmed and watch these bad guys overrun our country,” he said.
Going further, Amb. Ejeh said: “The military can continue to do more with available weapons and platforms/logistics while the government makes effort to provide the necessary funds and support. ”
“These bandits do not have this kind of freedom of action in smaller neighboring countries like Ghana, Togo and Benin,etc. The military just have to be more decisive and put these guys under pressure and not just waiting to react to situations.
” I don’t want to believe that the Government puts restrictions on their operations as some people think. It’s a time we all have to sacrifice and be committed to solve this problem.
“We must also apply technology where necessary and available. The non kinetic approach is also good and proven to be effective sometimes. But non kinetic approach can only be effective when we have robust Kinetic lines of operations and capabilities.
” In the cause of my work, I have come in contact with some military commanders who have shown unusual commitment in carrying out their duties and the troops follow suit. We also have several courageous and committed soldiers in the field who can do a lot better if well motivated. Let’s all do our best. What we are doing now is not enough. The truth be told. If we put the required effort we can reverse this situation in a few months,”he stressed.
He also tasked other security agencies to enhance their synergy and collaboration with the military.
“I’m aware that the intelligence agencies provide information on some of these attacks but the problem has always been the inability to respond promptly and appropriately. They should all continue to do more. It’s not time for inter-agency rivalry. If one fails, all of us have failed and will suffer the consequences,” he charged.
The activist charged the citizens to close ranks.
“This situation is beyond all these our ethnic fault lines. These bandits and criminals are exploiting our fault lines to perpetuate their criminality unchecked. Let’s come together and support our military and security agencies to fight these guys,” he said.
Advising the people to be wary of their comments on social media, he urged them to genuinely seek peace and security as according to him,” that is the only way we can survive as individuals and as a nation.”
” The path of war and destruction is not good for us, the consequences will be grave. Except you have not experienced war,”he warned.
While noting that “the obvious fact is that after the war and destruction the belligerents still come to the table to discuss for enduring peace to reign”. Ejeh further started that “there must be give and take.”
“Let me add here quickly that I’m a core supporter of President Muhammad Buhari and must commend him greatly for his developmental strides across the country. I know he means well for our country. However, the best way to love someone is to give him true counsel all the time even if it inconveniences his or your personal interest. This is why I appeal to all his aides, high and low to speak for us to achieve a stable and prosperous Nigeria.
“They must give him good counsel concerning the state of security all the time, they must go extra miles to add value to his government by being committed to their assignments. If Nigeria is unstable today, we cannot sit in that office they love so much.
“We may not get all our requests but we can reach workable and just agreements to make this nation work. We are not the only diverse country. We can maximize our diversity for progress and development to the glory of God ( our creator),” he opined.