By Chukwudi Nweje
Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday tackled President Muhammadu Buhari over his directive to the army to confront and neutralise all terrorists and insurgents.
President Buhari in his address to the 247 graduating students of the Senior Course 44 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, last week Thursday, charged the military to confront “terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth and bring peace to our countries.”
But, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, on Sunday, Afenifere described Buhari’s charge as a repetition of orders that no longer evokes substance as it was never backed up with necessary wherewithal.
It said, “Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, states unambiguously that ‘The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Subsection (c) of the same section 14(2)(c) goes on to make it mandatory for the government to ensure the participation of the people in the governance of the country. As is known, this aspect is observed more in the breach than in the observance.”
The organisation said that Nigeria would not have been overrun by insurgency if the government lived up to its responsibilities.
It charged the government to legalise State police to enable state and local governments to secure the people at the grassroots.
“Insurgency ought not to have occurred at all in the first place were the government up to its responsibility. And since it began, the kid-glove treatment being meted out to the terrorists was what made them grow to the point of taking over territories in some states in the northern part of the country notably Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Niger, Zamfara among others.
“A position that Afenifere has always been pushing on security, to wit: state and community policing system must be allowed with all the necessary powers while the national security agencies are equipped, motivated and mobilised adequately in a manner that would make them tower above the enemies, the terrorists and other criminal elements they are supposed to confront.”
The directive to the army has been issued several times over without backing it up with action. It is on record that men of the Armed Forces had, at different times, complained that they do not have the kind of fire-power possessed by the terrorists they were supposed to confront and overcome. This much was stated as one of the reasons why those who attacked Kuje Correctional Centre on July 6, this year, succeeded in their dastardly mission. Minister of Defence, General Bashir Magashi (rtd), in his address after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on June 3, 2020, said that the Nigerian Army lacks requisite manpower and funding. And that the fact was presented at the meeting they just concluded. The Minister’s submission was not refuted, yet no noticeable improvement had been seen since then”, Afenifere noted.