Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG) has solicited the support of the United States of America, United Kingdom and Israel in Nigeria’s fight against terrorism.
The group, which also passed a vote of confidence on the service chiefs, military high command and the entire Nigerian military for the successes recorded so far in the anti-terrorism effort, said the confidence vote followed a careful appraisal of the whole terrorism fight in the country in almost a decade.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Monday, which was well attended by delegates of the coalition, its President, Mr. Etuk Bassey Williams, said the group had thrown its weight behind the service chiefs because they have bettered the situation from where it was.
Noting that much still needed to be done, Williams said this prompted the group’s formal request for the assistance of the United States, United Kingdom and Israel to support Nigeria with technology in a bid to completely annihilate terrorists and insurgents in the country.
He said: “The unanimous position of over 500 representatives of various civil societies at a meeting to appraise the situation surrounding the call for the relieve of the service chiefs in the ongoing fight against the Insurgents, particularly in the North-east. The meeting was attended by over 500 representatives from all the states of the federation and the crux of deliberation was the call for replacement of the service chiefs and restructuring of the military architecture for performance enhancement.
“We observed that the dexterity with which the military is curbing insecurity in the North-east and other parts of the country has yielded laudable achievements. Today, incidences of bombs detonating at our worship centres, market, motor parks, government buildings and other strategic places have disappeared and is no more a recurring event except for very few insignificant cases.”
He cited among others, cases like the Abuja Police Headquarters bombing, which was believed to be the first suicide bombing of June 16, 2011; the bomb explosion on Friday, August 26, 2011 at the United Nations building in Abuja which killed at least 21 and wounded 60 as well as the April 14, 2014 bomb explosions at a crowded bus station in Nyanya, Abuja, killing no fewer than 88 people and injuring no fewer than 200 others.
Also speaking at the press conference, the Secretary of the Coalition, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim, claimed that the obvious fact was that the ugly incidences that overwhelmed Nigerians have ceased and that Nigeria was happy for it.
Ibrahim said: “The frequency of attacks was phenomenal in the past but that has become a history today since the coming of the present service chiefs.
“It was observed that Nigerians in the city centres are no more keeping vigil in anticipation of a likely attack by the Boko Haram terrorist, the agony of insecurity and fear of the unknown has eluded the major cities except the fringes of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
“It is true that a lot has been achieved by the present crop of service chiefs, not just in the battle field but also in disabusing the forcefully recruited members of the Boko Haram as many have repented and have willingly surrendered to the Nigerian Army.”
Ibrahim also argued that unlike before, the Nigerian military has prioritised training and equipping of its soldiers with modern military hardware. More than ever before, the welfare of the military personnel has gained more attention.
At the briefing, the Coalition released its communique at the end of its delegates convention, stating: “For us in the civil society, it is gratifying to observe the many progress of our gallant troops as they match towards total victory against the insurgents. We must not fail to appreciate and commend the service chiefs and the entire military for their successes.
“We salute the courageous effort of the military, and call on Nigerians to pray and wish that the enthusiasm to make Nigeria great will not be in vain. We mourn with the bereaved and salute the sacrifices made by the gallant soldiers who laid their lives for our comfort.
“We celebrate your gallantry, commitment and patriotism to your fatherland; the successes against the insurgent are testament to the capacity of the service chiefs, especially Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of the Army Staff.”