Online Publishers’ Forum condemns spate of insecurity in Northern Nigeria.

PRESS RELEASE

NIGERIA’S SPATE OF INSECURITY NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE

The Arewa Online Publishers’ Forum condemns in the strongest term the spate of insecurity in the North and the nation at large where hundreds of law abiding citizens are daily being hewn down and killed with reckless abandon by an untrained ragtag army of hoodlums, and from all indication, the Federal Government is watching helplessly. What is more worrisome is the fact that our young Nigerian Army officers and soldiers are also not spared.

It is regrettable to observe that although the provision of Section 14 (b) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria which deals with the purpose for the existence of every government; which reads inter alia, “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,” it is becoming clear that the Federal Government is either overwhelmed or has totally lost track of what to do to address insecurity in the nation.

It is highly inexcusable and annoying that an army of hoodlums without any formal military training could assemble themselves, accumulate modern arms and ammunitions and possess the effrontery to lay siege, attack and kill defenceless citizens and our fine officers and men running into double digits on weekly basis. That this ragtag army of hoodlums could be allowed into our national territory in the midst of many paramilitary and intelligence gathering security organizations such as Customs, Immigration, SSS, DMI, NIA, CIB and others is unacceptable. It is a clear and unarguable sign of failure on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Major General and former Head of State who has the constitutional powers and commands the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Inspector General of Police, given the fact that national security is in the exclusive list.

It is unimaginable to watch these hoodlums brandishing highly sophisticated and controlled weapons like AK47, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), armoured cars, hand grenades, Rocket propeller launchers etc. The billion dollar questions begging for answers are: who supplied these insurgents and kidnappers these weapons that are not commonly sold in the market? If they bought them, who is funding them, where they buy them from, who issued them license to import and how did such weapons find their ways into the country with Customs, Immigration, Police and other security personnel at our borders?

These continued killings of defenceless citizens is not because our officers and men are incapable of handling the situation, but obviously because the fighting spirit of our officers and soldiers in the front has been badly battered. The law of diminishing return has since set in and is negatively affecting the top echelon of our military – the service chiefs. The aura of the State Power has seriously diminished, as the hoodlums ravaging our nation are no longer afraid to carry out their evil enterprise. This is because of expired ideas being daily churned out and deliberate loss of interest on the upcoming and middle cadre officers waiting to take over from the present top echelon of the military.

Many of the upcoming and middle cadre officers’ morale has been grossly depleted, as their future is being eaten into by the continuous retention of the current service chiefs who ought to have since retired both by age retirement and by years of service. It is certain that the retirement of the current service chiefs and many top echelons of the military shall be an integral part of the solution to the insecurity as it would pave the way for fresh blood and ideas to be injected in the service. That would certainly boost the morale of officers and also enhance their productivity.

While it is not possible to rule out the presence of black sheep in the fold of the Nigerian military who may be responsible for sabotage here and there, the consequence of the continuous retention of the current service chiefs is that these black sheep might be enjoying the shielding of some serving top echelon officers for financial gains. The recent Court Marshal trial of a Major General found to be in possession of hundreds of millions of naira is enough nexus to the possible nefarious activities of black sheep in the military. Also, frustration on the part of patriotic officers and men is equally capable of negatively affecting the performance of our officers and men.

The need for restructuring our security architecture as a nation has been long overdue. We have been doing the same thing security wise over the years while expecting a different result. That is not possible. There is the urgent need to reinvigorate, renew and introduce new strategies for intelligence gathering, detection of potential criminals and insurgents before they settle down to perpetuate their evil on the nation. We must intensively involve our traditional rulers (institutions) who are at the grassroots where these criminals take refuge.

On the so-called de-radicalization of repentant Boko Haram insurgents and their eventual absorption into the military, it is dangerous and a highly expensive move that Nigeria cannot afford. We in Arewa Online Publishers’ Forum do not support the absorption of de-radicalized insurgents into our military. The recent event of a de-radicalized insurgent who killed his father and stole his cow is enough lesson to prove that it is not safe to absorb them into our military.

They should at best be de-radicalized and sent back to their homes and be under close surveillance to ascertain the sincerity of their repentance and eligibility to be so trusted to serve in our nation’s military.

Federal Government Must Investigate Attack on Governor Zulum.

While we truly appreciate the sacrificial efforts of our gallant officers and soldiers in the battle front defending our nation, a situation where a serving governor who moves about with heavy security to protect him can be so easily attacked in the manner that Governor Babagana Umara Zulum was, is embarrassing and unacceptable.

These bandits, kidnappers and Boko Haram insurgents should not be allowed to continue to hold the nation captive.

One thing was obvious as monitored on ChannelsTV Sunrise discussion programme; when Governor Zulum was speaking following the aftermath of the failed attack, there are supposed to be hundreds of soldiers on ground in Baga, yet the attack which could be simply described as mischievous and probably malicious took place. If the attack was actually carried out by Boko Haram insurgents in Baga, a town that has over 170 soldiers on ground, then somebody in that command has failed woefully to discharge his responsibility effectively and efficiently? This is unacceptable!
Arewa Online Publishers’ Forum demands for a full blown independent investigation into the unwarranted attack of the indefatigable Governor Babagan Umara Zulum. We urge the Federal Government to set up a high powered independent investigative panel with a retried senior officer of the DMI, Military Police or Police as chairman and the membership of the panel comprising of SSS, NIA, Police and senior media officers to investigate the attack on the governor because from the video clips we watched of how Governor Zulum’s security men battled to save him from the attackers and the fact that there are over 170 soldiers located in Baga, there is more to this attack.

Arewa Online Publishers’ Forum is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to the expectations of Nigerians and his campaign promise to protect all Nigerians regardless of ethno-religious and political affiliations.

Nigerians must be made to enjoy the “primary purpose” of government, which was the reason why former President Goodluck Jonathan was voted out and he, President Muhammadu Buhari voted in as President and Commander-in-Chief in 2015 and re-elected in 2019.
Nigerians are tired of excuses and the shameless usage of the phrase, “We are on top of the situation,” whereas, we are continuously witnessing mindless killings and destruction of lives and property. If indeed, you are on top of the situation, these mindless killings and destruction should have stopped forthwith. We shall not continue to buy the much propaganda in circulation about military airstrikes and the killing of insurgents while our brothers, sisters and parents are daily being killed by the same insurgents. We have had enough of the ambush and annihilation of our youths who joined the military in their youthful years for no crime of theirs, but for lacking the necessary equipment and sufficient intelligence to deal with these enemies of Nigeria.

It is not a crime to volunteer to serve one’s father land. The insecurity situation of the country is made worse by the yearly budgetary provisions of billions of naira and dollar for the purchase of equipment, yet there is little commensurate to the yearly budgetary allocations. The spate of insecurity bedeviling the North in particular and the nation at large is highly suggestive that all the allocations to the military is not being put to judicious use for the benefit of tax payers. Enough is therefore, enough!

Mordecai Sunday Ibrahim
National Chairman

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