By Joseph Erunke
Elders from the North East have expressed worries over the worsening security situation in the country, saying excuses by service chiefs are no longer tenable.
The elders, who expressed their concerns in a statement yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, listen to the voice of the majority of Nigerians by implementing the recent resolution of both chambers of the National Assembly which asked him to rejig the country’s security architecture, with a view to improving the security of Nigeria.
In the statement, tagged “We are tired of excuses, sack service chiefs now”, signed by the chairman, Mr. Zana Goni, the North East elders, under the aegis of Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development, CNEEPD, said they were compelled to speak out, following what they decsribed as growing security problems in the country.
The elders regretted that their silence before now was misconstrued by some people and sections of the country because of the geographical background of the security chiefs, explaining that their action was nothing close to that.
Noting that they exhibited silence for some time in the belief that things would get better, especially with the assurance of the security heads and the President, the North East elders said: “But we have seen that in spite of the funding of the military by our dear President and the assurances by our service chiefs that things would change, nothing seems to have happened in that direction. This is regrettable.
“The worsening security situation in the country is further reinforcing the urgent need to inject new hands with fresh ideas to handle the nation’s security architecture. We have seen that the security situation under the current service chiefs has reached an unbearable state.
“There is no denying the fact that at this moment, the entire nation is distressed by the incessant mindless killing of our citizens and pillaging of defenseless communities by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers. ”There is no denying the fact also that these have resulted in indescribable agony, anguish and torment to the Nigerian citizens.
”Following these,we, the Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development, in the strongest terms, restate the call to President Muhammadu Buhari to honor the resolution of the National Assembly and positions of majority of Nigerians to immediately remove the service chiefs and bring in new hands to effectively confront the security challenges starring us in our face as a nation.”
The elders also noted that the current service chiefs are the longest serving in Nigeria’s history, since the President has extended their tenures three times. They said the military chiefs have become war-weary and bereft of new ideas to tackle insecurity bedeviling the country.
“We are stating our position this day with deep and unbearable pains, given the lingering and unabated insecurity on our land. There is no doubt that ten years down the line, the situation is worsening by the day. This is unacceptable, considering the efforts the President has put in so far to arrest the situation.
“While we sincerely appreciate the President’s efforts in trying to secure our land and the country at large, we must be bold to state the obvious that his service chiefs who are the drivers of his vision on security have run out of ideas to end the war, and need to be shown the way out.
“As elders, we can no longer sit on the fence over the issue which is the nightmare of every Nigerian. We wonder why the President is still keeping the service chiefs, despite calls from every quarter for them to go.
“We wish to remind our dear President that Nigerians are so tired of excuses of insecurity. They want to see changes.
“Nigerians voted for you massively because of your vast experience in security but as it stands today, they are fed up and want to see a secured North East and Nigeria.
“Mr president sir, sacking the chiefs and appointing new and younger officers into the system will naturally restore lost morale,zeal, hope and confidence in the Armed Forces and the entire security architecture of the country.
“It is obvious that the current crop of service chiefs have over stayed and have run out of ideas to win the war against insurgents.
“Mr president must show them the way out, our ways of livelihood in the North East have been destroyed by the insurgents, the poverty level in our zone now is so high. It is on these premise that we are calling on President Muhammedu Buhari to sack the service chiefs without further delay.”