By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE National Association of Seadogs, NAS, has warned security agencies against extra-judicial killing and harassment of innocent Nigerians in the course of fishing out those responsible for the killings of security personnel and attacks on security formations in the South East and South-South geopolitical zones.
The warning came on the heels of the approval of new security measures for Southeast and South-South by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday during the Security Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The National Security Adviser, NSA, to the President, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and the Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba alongside the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina briefed State House correspondents on the decisions reached at the end of the meeting.
They neither disclosed the nature of the new measures to be executed in the two zones of the old Eastern region nor the measures used to curtail the worsening security situation in the northern part of the country especially Kaduna and Niger State where bandits and kidnappers allegedly strike on regular basis.
In a statement titled, “The Growing Tempest in South-East and South-South” on Wednesday, President of NAS, Mr Abiola Owoaje, said it is important “that the security services do not engage in presumption group-blame, collective punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the course of investigating these crimes.”
Owoaje pointed out that such “unbridled illegalities and high-handedness will only go to further alienate local communities, and deepen the antipathy that already characterises the relationship between them and law enforcement agencies.”
While condemning the attacks and killing of security personnel, NAS condoled with families that lost loved ones and urged the government to do all within the confines of the law to get the perpetrators and make them face the full wrath of the law.
The NAS President said that the association was disturbed that the insecurity in the two zones has further exacerbated the deteriorating security situation in the country.
He called on the government to move swiftly, and with unaccustomed competence and diligence, to arrest the current climate of insecurity across the two zones.
The statement read in part “This gradual slide into anarchy in the South-East and South-South regions has the potential to expand the number of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, further, stretch our security apparatus, and engender devastating social and economic consequences for the country as a whole.
“We urge the security agencies in the two regions to resist the temptation of seeing themselves as a force of occupation out to subjugate the people and unleash terror among the teeming law-abiding citizens.
“They should approach their task with a sincerity of purpose, and rein in the criminal elements intent on foisting terror and bloodletting. Evidence abounds of previous overzealous interventions by security agencies that have aggravated insecurity in the two regions rather than contain the same.
“Unprofessional conduct and prejudice from those entrusted with such operations must not be tolerated.
“The government and security agencies have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the peace-loving residents of the two regions from harm. No innocent Nigerian should be harassed, intimidated, or made to suffer under any guise of combing for suspected criminal elements in the South-East and South-South regions.”