By Emmanuel Addeh
Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, at the weekend described those calling for the sack of Nigeria’s Service Chiefs as armchair critics.
Akume stated this in Abuja when he received the Chairman, Ned Nwoko Foundation, Mr. Ned Nwoko, who had paid him a courtesy call to intimate the minister with his foundation’s plan to fund the fumigation of the entire country against malaria.
The minister, a former governor of Benue State, added that only President Muhammadu Buhari knows the right time to fire Nigeria’s security heads.
There has recently been a groundswell of calls for the removal of the heads of the country’s security architecture, following what appeared to be worsening insecurity in parts of Nigeria.
But Akume said being a former army general in the Nigerian military, Buhari alone could rightly choose when to do away with the services of the security heads, given the benefit of his professional background as a soldier.
“The Nigeria Police is a great institution. The personnel have come a long way and I can vouch for them. The head of the Nigeria police today was one of the greatest police Interpol officers. You must understand that the man who is leading us today is a military general.
“He’s a general, just like Eisenhower (Dwight, former United States President) who oversaw the destruction of the Germans in Europe which marked the end of the war. He was one of the most celebrated leaders in the USA.
“The truth is that Buhari has brought his background to bear on the security situation in Nigeria. To the best of my knowledge, he has all the parameters to know when to say goodbye and when to retain them.
“For those of us who are armchair critics, don’t forget that these were the same people who destroyed Boko Haram and restored sanity,” the minister
He argued that the deadly sect was in charge of a large part of Borno State before Buhari took over power in 2015 and urged Nigerians to be patient with the president.
He added: “Don’t forget that Boko Haram already occupied two thirds of Borno and other areas in the North-east. Sometimes, I wonder whether we are living in a fool’s paradise. Nigerians must learn to have patience. Buhari is a fighter, I have had discussion with him and he loves this country.”
On the eradication of malaria in the country, Akume promised that the federal government would support the project as a way to finally end the menace in the country.
“If we have more people like you contributing towards the development of this country, the sky would be the limit.
“Nigeria is highly endowed with human and material resources. Let me assure you that I will take up this matter with the president and you will get a positive response,” he assured.
Earlier, Nwoko promised to fund the research that would lead to the discovery of malaria vaccines and recounted his journey to Antarctica, where he said he met with scientists without any representation from Nigeria.
He appealed to the government to sign the 1971 treaty for Nigeria to have a place in Antarctica as a global player.
“We need to establish a scientific research centre in Antarctica. We need a global presence. The malaria project is very important to me.
“In Nigeria, we suffer more deaths from malaria. It must not be so. We have come to accept that malaria is part of us which should not be so.
“I want to fund research to produce vaccines. All we take every day are anti-malarial drugs. I have put together some experts who will do it.
“The other aspect is the sanitation of malaria. We must clean up Nigeria; from offices to residential homes. And the government should implement the Antarctica Treaty of 1971. We behave as if we are not part of the world,” Nwoko said.