Bandits, terrorists planning attacks on Lagos, FCT, Katsina, 3 others — NSCDC

• FG should seek foreign help – Ex Envoy
• Results not matching security spending – Capt Umar
• FG should hand over security to states —Sen Ohuabunwa

By Henry Umoru; Dirisu Yakubu & Steve Oko

It will appear that terrorists are now in power in Nigeria while our elected representatives are merely in authority. From North to South, and East to West of the country, terrorists almost on a daily basis, kill at will, kidnap for huge ransom and visit destruction on the populace. The government can neither carry the fight to the known forests where these terrorists are located in order to liberate hundreds of abducted students and other Nigerians nor can they secure the Correctional Centres where arrested terrorists are remanded. Only few days ago, a self-confessed bandit kingpin, Abu Sani, in a BBC documentary declared that insecurity has become a business which everyone including government officials benefit from.

In its response to these unchallenged killings and abductions by terrorists, the presidency said some days ago that President Muhammadu Buhari had done all and even more than what was expected of him as Commander-in-Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military. This appeared more or less an admission by government that there was nothing more it could do to fight terrorism.

Eminent Nigerians including lawmakers expressed disgust at the presidency’s statement describing it as insensitive. They declared unequivocally that President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government had failed woefully especially on the security sector and knocked him for his administration’s inability to contain the worsening insecurity in the country amid fresh threats by terrorists.

Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Argentina, Ambassador Empire Kanu, said that the Buhari-led Government had failed woefully especially on the security sector. He said that all the funds budgeted for security had not been properly utilised, accusing the Federal Government and Heads of Security agencies of playing on the intelligence of Nigerians under the guise of fighting insecurity.

He said, “as far as I’m concerned, the President has failed. He has not been able to deliver on his campaign promises. Without security you can’t talk about economy. Nigeria is moving towards total system collapse. No foreign investor is ready to come in and invest. Even the local inventors are afraid to put in their money.”

The former Envoy accused Government of using security as conduit pipe to syphon public funds.

According to him, “when they need money to do other things politically, they say, release money for security, and when the money is released, it is tempered with. Nigeria has failed completely. If you want to address it now, you have to look for independent security companies abroad and contract it to them.

“If you give the money we spend on security to a private foreign security company, it will smoke out the perpetrators of insecurity in Nigeria. Even if they keep pumping money to security agencies they will still fail because they have compromised and they are inefficient. For us to arrest the situation government should contract out security to foreign private security company. After all, they contract everything. Once we contract out security, foreign investors will start coming and local investors will have confidence to invest

Similarly, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa who represented Abia North in the eight senate told Vanguard in Abia that Buhari’s Government had run out of ideas on how to tackle the menace of terrorists now at the verge of overrunning the country. The former Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament, who said that the Buhari-led Federal Government was already overwhelmed, urged the President to quickly declare a state of emergency on security and ask governors to fully take charge of their respective states.

His words:”It’s very clear that this government is overwhelmed and bereft of ideas of what to do. Every day the President meets with the Heads of security agencies and they come up with decisions but we don’t see any action or effect.

“Every day the President will say he has given the security agencies ultimatum, but nothing is happening. The confession by the National Security Adviser that Nigerians are gravitating towards self help shows a total collapse of our security architecture. When the security chiefs say they are going to do this or that it exposes their inadequacies. That means all the things they have been saying are lip services. When they talk about equipment, all it means is that their demands are not met. So, if I take a cue from what the NSA said, it just means that this Government cannot handle security anymore. It’s just very clear that they are overwhelmed. I don’t know what else we are waiting for.

“There are two things: Either the President declares a state of emergency on security and ask the state governors to be fully in charge of their states or the National Assembly should impeach him. Even the impeachment is coming so late.

“He should simply declare state of emergency on security and let the governors be in charge. This is why we have been pushing for restructuring. If we had restructured this country, by now states would have taken care of their security.”

The former Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament said that protection of lives and property was the primary function of government, arguing that any government that abdicated such constitutional responsibility had overstayed its welcome.

“If any government fails to the extent it cannot protect lives and property, it means it’s not existing. It is short of saying there is no government really. This APC Government has nothing left to do. Let them hand over security to states and the federal government will concentrate in Abuja.

“But even Abuja, how sure are we that the Federal Government can secure it? If terrorists can attack Brigade of Guards which is the security of Mr President, attack his convoy, went to Kuje prison without any resistance, then we are finished. We are almost at the point of, ‘there was a country’. If you cannot protect your citizens what are you there for?”

Also speaking with Saturday Vanguard, Capt. Umar Aliyu said the resources sunk into the fight against terrorism in the past seven years have not been matched by the results on ground. According to him, President Buhari and his cabinet have not demonstrated sufficient capacity to tame the monster, adding that in saner climes, the service chiefs would have been fired continuously until a competent set takes over.

“Much has been spent on security in the past seven years but the results we have are in no way commensurate with the expenses. The expenses incurred have not been justified by the results. Let us face the reality: Our President is overwhelmed by the security situation in the country. It is either he is only as good as his cabinet or his security chiefs are not sincere with him. It is sad for him to tell us that he has done enough. Look, he can keep firing the Generals until we have the results to match the humongous amount of money we have sunk into security,” he noted.

Umar then questioned the role of para-military agencies such as the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service, saying “they have no blueprint in the fight against insecurity. The military has decided to fight this alone but they are overwhelmed.”

On his part, Human Rights lawyer, Abdul Mahmud argued that as long as Buhari remains Nigeria’s President, the security situation will not get any better.

“My take is that we have clueless and inept people in government who, like Nero, fiddle while Nigeria burns. With Buhari in the saddle, insecurity will continue to strive,” he said.

In the words of security expert, Jackson Ojo, President Buhari ought to resign by now rather than wait for commencement of impeachment proceedings against him.

His words: “How can the Presidency say Buhari has done enough when we have achieved less than 20 per cent success rate in this war against criminal elements? Instead of staying on, he should resign.

“On the other hand, he should be fired. Who can fire the President? The National Assembly which is the voice of Nigerians.”

Ojo also advocated the convocation of a national security summit “where retired and serving military officers, traditional rulers, Professors of Security Studies and the clergy would share their perspectives on the way forward.”

He continued: “For that bandit kingpin, Abu Sani to tell us that government is profiting from this madness, we have to believe him. We need to ask ourselves? How are these bandits getting their arms and ammunition? If they buy in the black market, how do they cross the borders without some collaborations? It is a huge business.

“Since they have been fighting Boko Haram, how many of them have been prosecuted and jailed? Those they arrested have now been freed when the Kuje Prison was broken into a few weeks ago but why did they put the terrorists in one prison? The six weeks the lawmakers gave Mr. President is laughable because if they couldn’t fight the menace in seven years, how can they do it in seven months?”

Senators have also taken a swipe at the Presidency over its comment saying the presidents has failed in all aspects of the society. Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu North said, “I don’t understand why the Presidency will claim that they have done everything. If they have done everything and the problem persists, it means they have not done enough, it means what they have done is not good enough for the country.

“You can’t do enough and today the bandits are everywhere, you can’t do enough and the kidnappings are going on, you can’t do enough when the head of the bandit leader is being given a title publicly and nothing happens. You can’t do enough when the price of diesel has hit the roof tops. You can’t do enough when the prices of things have gone out of hand, you can’t do enough when the Federal Government is requiring schools to be closed down in anticipation of attacks everywhere including the Federal Capital territory.

“You can’t do enough when even the bandits are threatening to kidnap our President and Governor Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna State and every other person. So how can you do enough.? This is just the situation.

“They really have to sit up to do the job or you give way, it is not a must. If you have done your best and it is not enough, in civilized democracy, what is obtainable is that you hands off and give way for another person to try his hands on the same issue.

“That is just the situation and that is why we are standing with Nigerians to say enough is enough. Let there be change, the mantle of this government is change, so let us have the change in the positive sense, not in the negative.

On his part, Senator Danjuma La’ah, PDP, Kaduna South said, “Why is it that the military are not efficient in all their things. If at all they have done everything possible for the military to do what they are supposed to do in the country, why is it that they are found wanting in securing the citizens? What he was supposed to do was to remove all those who did not do well.

“Come to think of it, even the other Service Chiefs who were removed, all of them were given other higher postings as they were posted outside the country. To go and do what? They are supposed to be removed immediately when they have done something wrong. But besides what they were doing, the president kept promoting them, giving them fair treatment as if they have done very well. At least we know those that are very good. If you understand that people are not performing, remove them and bring another person.

A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Umar Barde said almost on a daily basis, people of his constituency live in the fear of bandits, who kill and maim for fun.

Barde who spoke as guest of Arise Television Morning Show added that despite the cooperation of the National Assembly, not much has been achieved in the fight against insurgency since the Buhari-led administration came on board in 2015.

He said: “My people are supportive of the move to impeach the President. They live daily in the fear of bandits who kidnap and kill people without any form of restraint.

“We have never had it so bad but the National Assembly has done its part. We have approved more money for the military but how have they used these monies?”

The lawmaker who represents Chikun/Kajuru Federal Constituency, Kaduna state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also faulted the military strategy deployed against the criminal elements, saying, “are we saying we don’t have the technology to handle this challenges? Why do we have to wait for them to attack before we react?”

Taking a different stand, Anthony Sani, former Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, argued that though the challenges are herculean, the President Buhari-led government was doing its best to bring the situation under control.

He said: “When I read the comments credited to the government that the regime has done its best by way of provision of moral and material support for the fight against terrorism and banditry as well as kidnapping, I understood the government to mean that within the limit of resources at its disposal, it has done its best.

“The government does not intend to suggest there is nothing more it can do in the campaign against insecurity. After all, the security personnel are still in the trenches against insecurity posed by insurgence, banditry, kidnapping, armed robberies, militant activism, ritual killing and cultism.

“We have all known that most of the insecurity across the country are inspired by economic consideration stoked mostly by poverty that comes with ignorance and unemployment. Such consideration has attracted many people, including foreigners to troop into Nigeria, to partake in the lucrative business. That was what informed the UN Resolution 1966 of 2010 which advises affected nations to address the underlying causes.

“Therefore, the ways of confronting the menace are for the government to scale down some of their programmes and free some resources for the training and equipping of enough number of security personnel. They should be motivated enough to secure the nation by taking the campaigns against insecurity to the forests. Effort should also be made to inspire cultural renaissance so that Nigerians can come together and address the security challenges.

“If animals can hibernate to contain winter and if shrubs can defoliate to withstand fraught, Nigerians with intellect, should be able to navigate and overcome the myriad of challenges. The situation is never beyond redemption,” he added.

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