A pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, yesterday, warned that failure by President Muhammadu Buhari to deal decisively with insurgents setting up camps across the country may put the country at the precipice.
The Yoruba group expressed worry over the growing reports of how much terrorists are gaining grounds in Nigeria.
Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi said President Buhari is much aware of the security challenges facing the country as well as the way out.
The statement reads: “The reports of how gunmen overran the police divisional headquarters in Umulokpa, Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu state on Friday, October 9, 2021, in broad day light and abducted a police officer and the abduction of seven inmates of St Albert the Great Institute of Philosophy, a Catholic seminary in Fayit, Kaduna State on Monday, October 11, 2021 are the latest of instances epitomizing the level of how the government is failing in the most basic of its responsibilities – protection of the citizens.
“They added to the list of reports of terrorists overrunning military formations and police stations particularly in the northern part of the country.
“Only last week, unrefuted reports had it that bandits suspected to be remnants of Boko Haram terrorists were setting up camps in villages in Kuje Area Council of Abuja Municipality. Penultimate week, the chairman of Shiroro local government area of Niger State, Hon Suleiman Chukuba, disclosed that insurgents had taken over about 500 communities in his local government area.
“According to him, the insurgents were forcing the residents of the communities into becoming Boko Haram members and equipping them to fight against the government.
“The Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello earlier in August had announced that Boko Haram terrorists had captured some areas in the state and had even hoisted their flags in those communities. Before then, Nassarawa State Governor Abdullah Sule had made a similar declaration. He even went further to remind the federal government and security agencies that Nassarawa is very close to Aso Rock, the country’s seat of power.
As such, allowing the terrorists to establish in the state can be dangerous not only to his state but also to the country. Not long after he sounded the warning, the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan – to the chagrin of virtually the whole world.
“Niger and Nassarawa are not the only states that terrorists have set up camps in. Zamfara, Borno, Kaduna, Benue, Yobe have cache of lands where bandits have established themselves from which they unleash terror on the people and government interests.
“In the South West, Ibadan to Ijebu-Ode highway, parts of Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Osun States posted cases of armed attacks and abductions almost on a daily basis. “The same way it is happening in Edo State among others.
“In the South East, besides frequent killings by gunmen, the effectiveness of the ‘stay-at-home’ order being given by a non-state actor, IPOB, is an indication of how much governments seem to have been consigned to feebleness by insurgents that kept getting emboldened by the day.
“The foregoing was exclusive of many areas in the North East and North West of the country where the indigenous people have been displaced. Indeed, reports have it that some residents in parts of Sokoto State have been forced to flee into Mali. The situation was that bad.
“President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said that those wreaking havoc in Nigeria were from outside the country. He hinted again at this in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last Tuesday during his meeting with President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan when he attributed the proliferation of arms in this part of the world to the instability in Libya.
“From all indications, President Buhari is very much aware of the security challenges facing the country as well as the way out. For, as far back as 2011, during his campaign for presidency under the banner of CPC, he promised that the policing system in the country would be decentralized such that the state, local governments and the communities would have their own police.
“Of course he did not win in 2011. But he has been president since 2015 and the said promise has not been fulfilled despite the fact that his current party, the APC, has not openly expressed aversion to the idea of ensuring security at all levels of government and in every part of the country.
“Indeed, going by a number of statements that had come from the President, he is very much aware of the challenges. What is lacking is the will and determination to confront the challenges headlong. We would not be uncharitable to raise the issue of capability as the government is in possession – or should be – of all that is needed to tackle such challenges.
“Where it does not readily have it, it is within its power to seek the needed capacity and capability from both within and without.
During the electioneering campaigns, the president went round various parts of the country. But having consolidated after the electoral victory, the president has not found it necessary to tour the country. Indeed, there are some areas that governors are not so enthusiastic to visit within their own states because of insecurity occasioned by insurgents in those areas. The situation was so bad.
“So, bad that the two chambers of the National Assembly has called on the President to declare bandits who are committing the horrendous atrocities as terrorists so that the security agencies could deal with them more decisively. Why the presidency has been reluctant to do this is confounding.
“The failure of government to act decisively on security challenges confronting Nigerians has imperiled the social and economic activities in various parts of the country. This is not only deepening the poverty and despondence in the land, it is heightening the loss of trust and confidence in government by the people.
Unfortunately, there is no more time.
“Failure to snuff life out of insurgency now is putting the fate of the country on the tenterhook. It is still possible to reverse the trend.”
On ways to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country, Afenifere urged the President take drastic steps.
It said: “Some of the ways to do this include the following: Do away with primordial cleavages, equipping security agencies, particularly the army and the police, and boost their morale with good pay and good welfare packages.
“Let perpetrators of banditry face the full wrath of the law without let or hindrance. Impunity must stop now.
“Allowing state governors to truly become the chief security officers of their respective states by letting them have their own policing system with all the powers they need to operate with.
“Convey meetings of all, or virtually, all ethnic nationalities across the country. The meetings should include various interest groups and stakeholders.
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These must be done urgently as the country is bleeding too seriously from various arteries.”