*Tell Buhari to immediately relieve service chiefs of positions
*All Nigerians must not be killed before you act right,they tell president
*Say 2nd attack within 2 months on Gov Zulum enough sign that no one safe
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-The killing of Nigerian Army Commandant coupled with the second attack on the convoy of Borno State governor,Babagana Zulum,Friday, by Boko Haram terrorists,have steered angry reaction from elders from the North East geopolitical zone,to reiterate their call on President Muhammad Buhari to immediately rejig security apparatus in the country.
The northern elders said the Nigerian Military has come to what they called “breaking point” and needed reactivation for better and more positive results in line with President Buhari’s vision of leaving Nigeria better than his administration met it.
The elders under the aegis of Coalition for North East Elders for Peace and Development (CNEEPD),in a statement titled, “Military Now At Breaking Point”, It’s Time For Change of Guard”, said they were worried at the events of the last few weeks in the North East,which they said,compelled them to believe that there was no other way of getting out of the security situation in the country than to immediately rejig the security apparatus.
In the statement signed by the group’s Chairman,Engr. Zana Goni and Secretary,Dr Muhammed Misua, the North East elder said:”We believe at this point that the military which is at the forefront of prosecuting the war against the adversaries in the two regions of the country has come to a breaking point.”
“We are worried at the ceaseless and relentless attacks on troops and civilian population resulting in heavy casualties in the North East despite repeated assurances from the service chiefs that the region has not only been cleared of insurgents and terrorists but also made safe for those displaced from their original communities to return,” the statement said.
They said:”As elders in the North West,we are worried over the state of insecurity which is not getting better in spite of the relentless efforts of the president to that effect.
“We had chosen to remain silence in the past even when there were compelling needs to speak out because of our conviction that the insecurity especially in the North East would get better. But events in recent weeks coupled with the brutal killings of some troops including a commander have forced us to open our lips once again.
“The attack on the convoy of the governor of Borno State,His Excellency,Babagana Zulum on Friday which left some soldiers and police officers dead with unspecified number of people injured is most disturbing especially coming just barely two months after the convoy of the governor suffered similar fate in the state.
“These developments have further given credence to belief we have long held that nobody is safe anymore in the country. Besides,this ugly security situation may not guarantee food security in the country before the next year.”
The group added that’”The continuous daily loss of lives of both security and civilians either by terrorists or bandits in spite of repeated assurances by the service chiefs has no doubt convinced us as close watchers of security situation in the North West and North East regions of the country that the military has come to a breaking point in the fight against insecurity in the region.”
“This could be as a result of low morale occasioned by fighting equipment and the long overdue retirement of those heading various branches of our armed forces. We strongly believe that the security heads are now bereft of ideas and need to go so that the younger and experienced officers can come on board with fresh ideas.
“We believe at this point that the military which is at the forefront of prosecuting the war against the adversaries in the two regions of the country has come to a breaking point,” the statement read.
The group in the statement, said,” To the best of our understanding, the unchangeable activation of same strategies in the prosecution of the war by our service chiefs coupled with career stagnation in the military thus weakening morale among officers and men in the services, are contributory factors to delay in ending the war against insecurity in the whole country.”
“To this end,we wish to hereby passionately appeal without bias or sentiment to President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the service chiefs of their positions. We believe strongly that it has reached a point for him to carry out the action to save the country of what has become embarrassment of his administration,” the statement read.
However,the elders said:”We are not unmindful of the sacrifices the service chiefs have so far made to get this country to this point. No doubt,they have recorded some successes in the security circles, especially by pushing insurgency to the fringes of the North East, stopping suicide bombings in the country and bringing some reforms to the Armed Forces of Nigeria.”
“The unabated insecurity situation resulting in daily loss of lives in the known regions has left us with no option than to join right thinking persons out there that since the nation’s security heads are not indispensable,our president should with any further delay,rejig the security architecture with a view to getting another and better result,” the statement read.
It further read:”We appeal to the president to at this time listen to the voice of majority that with the view that new hands are needed to pilot the affairs of the country’s security architecture.
“While we are aware that Mr president get daily briefings on the security situation in the country, most of those reports they are given him are not true reflection of the situation on ground. Most of the reports the president gets from the security chiefs are tailored to the benefits of the security heads.
“Already, there is low morale in the military over the continued stay of the service chiefs whose tenures in their various offices have since lapsed.
“Who knows if there are unseen hands out there in the service frustrating the fight against insurgency and insecurity in the country deliberately due to the continued stay of the service chiefs? This is why we appeal to the president to hearken to the call by majority of Nigerians as reflected in the country’s parliament recently that it’s time for him to do the needful.
“We are in a constitutional democracy where any decision of government or leaders is taken from the popular view and from our informed view,majority of Nigerians have since spoken in this regard and as a democrat, our president should listen.
“We wish to draw the attention to the fact that the service chiefs are not indispensable. Nobody knows it all.
“Mr President came to office to meet those he appointed as service chiefs and as such,there are others within the Armed Forces of Nigeria that may have experiences which the current service chiefs lack. Given this,we appeal that he relieve them of their positions and find new hands.
“Besides, the president’s action has caused serious career stagnation in the Nigeria Military. This should not be encouraged, not only in the military but also other government agencies.”