Groups To Military Chiefs: Desist From Using Jobless Nigerians To Launder Image

By Deborah MUSA, Abuja

In the face of growing insecurity across the country, occasioned by kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, separatist agitations, a prominent civil society organisations (CSO), and a security consulting organisation have cautioned the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor and other service chiefs  against using false narratives on the insecurity ravaging the nation.

The groups’ advice came in reaction to last week’s claim by an unknown civil society organisation, National Coalition of Concerned Citizens on Peace and Security, that the nation’s security situation had greatly abated even as it thanked the military high command for restoring peace in the country.

But specifically, the patriotic, non-profit organisation and the security consulting group maintained that, contrary to what the paid, inconsequential and non-existent civil society organisation, (CSO) National Coalition of Concerned Citizens on Peace and Security would want people to believe, insecurity is still rife in the country, and the minimum requirement is for the military and other security agencies to up their game, as that will naturally engender public confidence.

The two prominent groups operating under the aegis of Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners (SOKIPEP), and Conference of Security Consultants in Nigeria, identified the re-jigging of Defence, and security strategies as the launch-pad to securing maximum citizens’ support.

In a joint statement signed, Sunday, by Rev Dauda Fadia, National Coordinator of SOKIPEP and Prof. Hassan Ibrahim Daura, National Coordinator, Conference of Security Consultants in Nigeria, respectively, the groups wondered why Nigerians should believe the so-called ‘victory’ narrative pushed through cash-and-carry groups, when some territories in the North East, and North West have remained in the grip of enemies of state.

This was as they further expressed worries that the 2023 general elections may be imperiled, if the security situation in the country does not improve in the coming weeks and months.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for demonstrating noticeable commitment to a secure and peaceful Nigeria, the groups advised the Commander-in-Chief to, as a matter of urgent national priority sack all the Service Chiefs, to pave the way for a re-structured and re-organised defence/security architecture.

“By way of introduction, we state that we are distinguished members of the Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners (SOKIPEP), and

the Conference of Security Consultants in Nigeria, committed to a secure, peaceful and violence-free Nigeria.

“That said, we make bold to convey our dissatisfaction with recent outings by jobless persons, masquerading as CSOs.

“We categorically state that the narrative put out by the enemies of our nation, with the greatest sense of patriotism, is not a true reflection of what is happening across the six geo-political zones of the country.

 “Suffice to say that there has not been any significant improvement in the parlous state of affairs, as far as the security situation in the nation is concerned.

“We are at a loss as to why some Nigerians will be used to give the impression that all is well, even when facts on ground point to the contrary.

* Gen. Irabor

“For instance, many communities in the North West, and North East general areas, especially in Kaduna, and Zamfara states, are in the control of terrorists/bandits, who collect levies from the vulnerable residents, ostensibly to guarantee their security”, the groups said in the statement.

They further said: “For the cash-and-carry civil society group promoting the invisible successes of the military, we wish to remind them that just last  week, over 40 persons were mindlessly butchered unprovoked in their ancestral homes in malla gum in Kaura Local Government area of Kaduna State without military intervention despite earlier notice of the impending action by the attackers. We implore those promoting the success narrative just not only to hang on in  their offices but also continue to draw money from the federal government’s purse for selfish utilisation, to remember that they shall give account of their deeds before their creator, God Almighty one day.

“It is disheartening for a people to ignobly propagate a skewed success narrative even in the face of the unbearable security situation confronting a large part of the country which has resulted to several killings, destruction of property worth several billions of naira and displacement of many others from their original homes just for self gains.

“We wish to by this statement call on the general public to see the claim by this military-sponsored group as one laced with lies from their paymasters with sole intent to deceive them.”

Meanwhile, the pro-peace organisations have renewed call for the sack of all Service Chiefs, insisting that such was the only way out of the conundrum confronting the Nigerian state presently.

In the statement, they said: “We want to use this opportunity to renew our call for the immediate removal of the military high command who, though may have done their best, but whose efforts have not translated to tangible victory against retrogressive elements.

“We know as a fact that President Buhari has approved billions of naira – by way of budgetary proposals – to addressing national security concerns.

“What we do not understand, however, is the decision of Mr. President to retain the Service Chiefs, in the face of less than salutary performance(s).

“The President must take decisive actions if he really wants a secured environment for free and fair elections as well as bequeath a more secure nation to the next administration.

“Our investigations have so far revealed that pockets of electoral violence witnessed in some states of the federation, may worsen in the coming days leading to next years’ elections, unless urgent measures were put in the place, to redress the balance.

“Lastly, the echelon of the military and security agencies cannot justify the enormous amount of funds allocated to them with all these their comical shows on TV

“In any case, we cannot be celebrating performance, when some communities in the North West general area are still paying levies to bandits for their security and public safety.

“It may please the general public to know that weapon-welding gangs in some parts of the country, have continued to enjoy freedom of action, thereby leaving in their trails deaths and destruction of property.

“The ball, in the final analysis, is in the court of our amiable President, and to leave behind a lasting legacy, especially in the defence/security sector of the country, he must relieve the current service chiefs of their appointments”.