James Sowole in Akure
Disturbed by the killing of more than 100 soldiers by the terrorists group, Boko Haram in Metele, Borno State, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, yesterday called for the immediate sack of the service chiefs as a first step of addressing the level of insecurity in the country.
Afenifere made the call in a communique issued at the end of its general assembly, held at Ijapo. Akure, Ondo State residence of its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti.
In the communique read by its Publicity Secretary. Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the group said it was devastated by the killings, saying the massacre raised serious concerns about the state of Nigeria’s armed forces combat readiness.
Afenifere said the incident became worrisome because it came in spite of the $1billion the government claimed it disbursed months back to equip the nation’s military against insurgency.
“We were more pained at this tragic and monumental loss by the high insensitivity the federal government displayed on this matter.
“The government first kept quiet for six days after the incident and when it found its voice there were no soothing words for the bereaved families.
“It had hardly made the bland statements before descending into the gutter of political quarreling over the killings at a time a more sensitive leadership should have declared national mourning for the high casualties recorded which many countries never matched in wars that lasted for several years.
“Afenifere demands as a first step the immediate removal of the Service Chiefs who are already in their retirement years but are still kept in service by the President in what many have interpreted as partisan needs as we move towards the next elections
“Their illegal stay in spite of not being effective, has equally killed morale in the armed forces as three sets of officers have now had their careers stagnated,” Afenifere stated.
The group said the sack of the service chiefs should be followed with a probe of what has happened to defence allocations as the country cannot reconcile its extremely vulnerable troops and wailing soldiers in the forest with the heavy spendings the government claimed it has committed to security.
While commiserating with all the bereaved families and officers and men of the armed forces at this grievous moment, Afenifere prayed that God will comfort them and intervene in the affairs of Nigeria.
It also condemned the continuous insecurity, particularly kidnapping of innocent citizens in Nigeria and especially in the South-west by herdsmen.
The group specifically mentioned the kidnapping of six Ondo indigenes on November 14 as they were returning from Akure to Ikare Akoko.
“The people who were kidnapped at Ago Ajayi, a farm settlement between Ose and Ikare in Akokoland, included five men and woman snatched in two cars.
“They were released after three days in captivity after being subjected to life threatening experiences and ransom paid. Their abductors made them to view the horror of decapitated bodies of their previously killed victims as they wielded AK 47 rifles.
“These unhinged security challenges continue to daily show that the country’s security architecture has collapsed under the crushing weight of unitary arrangement that concentrate the country’s security apparatus only in the hands of the federal government.
Afenifere, therefore said Nigeria cannot continue without decentralising the police for proper security at state levels.