Concerned Northern elders under the aegis of North East Elders for Peace and Development (NEEPD) have described as “appalling” the deteriorating security situation in the country, saying the situation must be addressed urgently, to sustain the nation’s sovereignty.
They regretted that a country, acclaimed to be the “giant of Africa”, will degenerate to a level where non-state actors will develop the capacity to threaten the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the way and manner suspected bandits, kidnappers, insurgents, militiamen, armed robbers as well as other criminal elements have continued to carry on.
In their contention, the seeming free reign with which the enemies of the state operate may have created an impression in many quarters of failure of intelligence, which is the bedrock of national security and safety.
The patriots maintained that no stone should be left unturned, in an effort to ensure sanity was returned to all parts of the country.
Specifically, the elders, in a statement in Abuja by their National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni said no economic and sustainable development could thrive in the face of mounting insecurity.
While drawing parallels with the events in such African countries as Mali, Algeria, Western Sahara, Somalia, Sudan, and others, the patriots called for responsible and responsive leadership, to end the cycle of blood-letting across parts of the country.
It was on the basis of the manifest fear, that the elders lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to his Service Chiefs, to “secure Nigeria”, through the deployment of all available military assets.
The elder statesmen expressed satisfaction with the fact that President Buhari, after a period of perceived inertia, appeared on public space, to hand down such an order, which was long anticipated.
According to them, a dichotomy, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, must be drawn between the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – that was voted in by vote – and the presidency, which they argue, is the prerogative of the first citizen.
“Nigerians of Goodwill will support our condemnation of the growing spate of insecurity across parts of the country, more so that they are witnesses to the ugly development, which has, by all means, impacted negatively on the socio-economic lives of the citizenry”, the statement read in part.
The group, nonetheless, expressed the hope that Friday’s directive, coming at the time it did, may have a turn-around effect on the deplorable situation, which had led to the country’s third-place rating on the global terrorism index.
The Northern elders called out those that had sold the dummy that President Buhari was not in charge of affairs of the country, cautioning that his appearance over the weekend, should naturally put an end to the conspiracy theory.
“As elders that want to be on the positive side of history, we condemn, without equivocation, the growing, appalling security situation besetting our dear country, Nigeria.
“No doubt, these avoidable security challenges, attended by kidnapping, banditry, insurgency/terrorism, armed robbery, and the like, expose our country to vulnerability.
“In the face of this, however, we are consoled by Mr. President’s outing over the weekend which, to all intents and purposes, was not only firm and affirmative, but enough to douse tension, which was reaching a crescendo.
“To us at NEEPD, what our amiable President did, was to show that ‘I’m in charge’, regardless of whatever conspiracy theorist says.
“Lastly, we call on Mr. President to, as a matter of urgent national importance and priority, cause a review to the appointment of Service Chiefs, in obedience to the federal character principle; a mandatory constitutional provision to reflect the south East officers”. This we believe will further unite the country and reverse the negative impression about the administration.