Elders from the North East have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rejig the security apparatus in the country.
The leaders were reacting to the Friday’s attack on the convoy of Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum
They noted that events of the last few weeks in the zone have shown that there is no other way of getting out of the security situation in the country than to immediately rejig the security apparatus.
The elders said they 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.
Besides, they sounded the alarm that the country may face a food crisis next year if the security situation in the zone continues.
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 Coalition for North East Elders for Peace and Development (CNEEPD), in a statement entitled “Military Now At Breaking Point: It’s Time For Change of Guard”, called for the sack of service chiefs.
Chairman of the group, Engr Zana Goni, and Secretary, Dr Muhammed Misua, who signed the statement, said: “As elders in the North East, 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 silent 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.
“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 elders added: “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 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 the 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 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.
“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.
“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 without any further delay, rejig the security architecture with a view to getting another and better result.
“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.”