Afenifere, PANDEF Fault FG’s Plan to Deploy Military in Highways

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and its Niger Delta counterpart, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), have faulted the planned deployment of military to major highways to stem the high level of insecurity in the country, saying the proposal which they described as outdated won’t solve the problem.

The two groups yesterday expressed deep concern with the rising wave of insecurity in the country and the glaring inability of the federal government to tackle the problem.

Spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, told THISDAY that the government proposal won’t solve the insecurity problem.

According to him, the military is already overstretched “with the Chief of Army Staff openly complaining that the soldiers are not doing enough against the insurgents in the Northeast.”

Odumakin wondered “where do you want to get the number of soldiers to deploy in the highways?” Besides, you are sending coded message to the military about who should govern when you hand over police duties to them all over the country.”

He therefore said what Afenifere believes would solve the problem is the creation of state police to compliment the activities of the Nigeria Police Force in addressing the overwhelming insecurity challenge.

“What we need now is a state police system because we cannot continue to run a multi-ethnic country with a single police,” he stated.

On its part, PANDEF urged the federal government to wake up to its responsibility of curbing the alarming insecurity situation in the country which he said has already risen to an unspeakable dimension.

Its National Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, stated that the group was right to conclude “that we are in a state of an orchestrated and systematic war wrecked on the South and middle belt by dissident elements effectively demonstrated by Fulani herdsmen militias surreptitiously supported and encouraged by the federal government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, through obnoxious policies.”

He said the planned use of military to solve security problem is out of place, saying: “On the surface, it might appear as if they are doing so much, but clearly, it is grossly inadequate and out of pattern, as the government cannot be saying one thing while it’s doing another thing altogether.”

The PANDEF statement which was signed by its Scribe stated that “the government has by its action encouraged criminality, insecurity, banditry and kidnappings in the country, particularly in the South area and Middle Belt, when it cannot arrest or refuse to arrest and prosecute any of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.

“It is appalling and against rationality that up till now, the security agencies have not made any arrest of any Fulani herdsman, kidnapper or bandit ravaging the Southern and Middle Belt regions. How are we sure that the same soldiers that are being deployed would summon the courage to curb the insecurity situation that is being wrecked on the Southern and Middle Belt areas of the country by Fulani herdsmen?

“To fuel our curiosity, when certain northern elements issued ultimatum to compel the government to unilaterally implement Ruga policies, and even went ahead to call southern governors and leaders unprintable names, an action which portends danger for this country, still the government has not reacted reassuringly.

“If we had a serious government, these northern elements, who had the guts to give ultimatum to the government on this kind of serious issue capable of setting the country on fire, should have been arrested and prosecuted.

“We are persuaded to align with the recent letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Muhammad Buhari. The inferences and conclusions arrived at in the letter and the advice proffered in it make the message a rehash of what the Southern and Middle leaders have been advocating, which forms the core of panacea for a secure and peaceful coexistence.

“We therefore which to advise the government that security knows no ethnic or political or religious barrier. It is at the core of human existence, and so should be handled as an existential issue. “Hence, the essence and primary responsibility of a government is to provide security for its citizenry, without which, no government has the legitimacy to exist.”