Afenifere Chides Buhari For Paying Lips Service To Insecurity……Reiterates Call For State Police

The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has described the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the army to confront “terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth and bring peace to our countries” in West Africa as a repetition of orders that has been given so often that it no longer evokes substance because it was not backed up with necessary wherewithal.

The President, while addressing the 247 graduating students of the Senior Course 44 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, last week Thursday, had said that “recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria bore the hallmark of national and trans-border insurgents trying to cause havoc in Nigeria as well as in neighbouring countries”.

He then charged the soldiers who were led by the Commandant of the College, Oluwarotimi Tuwase, to consider it as part of their duty “to confront these terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth”. Participants were from various countries in West Africa.

But in a release signed by Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, the group observed that 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 to 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. While appreciating President Buhari’s affirmation to give the military needed support, Ajayi submitted that this has been said several times over without backing it up with action. For example, it was 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) while briefing newsmen 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 controverted, yet no noticeable improvement had been seen since then.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”. Sub section (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 breach than in observance. But that is not of immediate concern here now. That the President understands the duty of the government should not be in doubt going by several statements he has made.

For example, while addressing the graduating students last Thursday, he also stated:“At the inception of this administration, I made three key promises to Nigerians. First is to address the various security challenges facing our country, second, to reposition our economy and third to fight the serious challenge of corruption which had eaten so deep into the very fabric that sustain our nation”.

“Unfortunately, in none of the three areas could Nigerians give the President kudos going by what they experience on a daily basis. The day after the President’s pledge in Abuja, chairman of Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), Ishaq Usman Kasai, disclosed that Ansaru terrorists group has tightened its grip on most of the communities where it currently holds sway in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State according to a report by Saturday Tribune of July 16th. The terrorists not only hold sway in the area, they now operate the Sharia Law in the place – seemingly a sovereign within the Nigerian sovereignty.On the same Friday, The Chancellor, Catholic Diocese of Kafancha, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okolo, said in a statement in Kaduna that bandits reportedly kidnapped two Catholic priests, Reverend Fathers John Cheitnum and Donatus Cleopas, on their way to a function in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State.This occured less than a week when the remains of the slain Reverend Father Vitus Borogo, also a Catholic priest, killed by terrorists on his farm, were buried in the state capital.The unprecedented inflation, shrinking of businesses, the value of Naira to a Dollar and quality of life of an average Nigerian are indices to use in determining how Buhari administration has fared on economy.The success of the steps taken by the administration on corruption can be judged by how low that scourge has gone in our country. In doing so, it is important to recall what happened to the man who headed the Pensions’ Board, the reason for the suspension of the Accountant General of the Federation and the vote-buying habit that has now been taken to an unprecedented level in the country. In recalling the suggestion of a former federal permanent secretary and spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed that the president can hand over governance to his Vice on the wake of the President’s declaration that he could hardly wait for May 29, 2023 to come, Afenifere spokesman came up with a modification of Ahmed’s view.

“They shared a joint ticket. All that the President needs to do is to delegate more powers to his Vice who would be carrying out state duties until May 29 next year when they will be handing over power. This, he would be doing still in the name of his principal who would be in the background. But the vice must be allowed to exercise authority fully. If this could be done, a new impetus would be brought into their administration and the primary credit would still go to the principal, President Muhammadu Buhari”.

In conclusion, Ajayi reiterated 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 mobilized adequately in a manner that would make them tower above the enemies they are supposed to confront, the terrorists etc.

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