•Worries lives no longer matter in Nigeria
•Advises Buhari to convene conference of past security chiefs
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
Except something urgent and drastic is done to control the current wave of insecurity in Nigeria, resort to self-help by the citizens may be inevitable, and that would be too dangerous for the country to deal with, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned. CAN, which is the apex umbrella body for Nigerian Christians, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari had been unwilling to accept counsel on how to tackle the raging of insecurity. It advised Buhari to, as a matter of urgent national importance, convoke a conference on security, which would bring together critical stakeholders, including former service chiefs, to deliberate on the way forward.
Special Assistant to the CAN president on Media and Strategic Communication, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, who spoke to THISDAY yesterday on behalf of the association, said the situation was so bad that everywhere appeared to be unsafe. Oladeji said criminals now operated as though the country’s security operatives were on holiday. He said CAN had been consistent and persistent in calling on Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to overhaul the security agencies for effective and efficient service delivery.
Oladeji said the president had consistently turned a deaf ear to “the godly and patriotic counsel”.
Oladeji stated that CAN was worried that the situation had begun to assume a more dangerous dimension, with some people already advocating self-defence mechanisms.
He said, “What is going on? Let President Muhammadu Buhari organise a national conference of well meaning Nigerians, including serving and retired military and police officers, before the situation snowballs into civil war. Some people are already advocating self-defence, state police and regional security agencies. Yet, the government appears uninterested.”
On the performance of the security agencies in the fight against insurgency, the CAN spokesman said the association had advised time and time again that the security agencies should be overhauled to inject fresh blood and make their operations more efficient and result-oriented. He lamented that various promises of new weapons, ammunitions, and fighting jets being made by the federal government were not bringing hope.
According to Christian body, “We have been hearing cases of sabotage and poor remunerations. It is unbelievable that countries like Chad and Cameroon are overcoming their security challenges.
“CAN has been consistently and persistently calling on President Buhari, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to overhaul the security agencies in the country for effective and efficient service delivery. But the presidency has done nothing to this godly and patriotic counsel.
“Turning a deaf ear to this voice of reason is why there have been unending killings in the land by criminals parading themselves as terrorists, herdsmen killers, bandits, kidnappers and others. The menace is unprecedented, unfortunate and unacceptable.
“We call on the government to overhaul the entire security agencies with a view to injecting new officers with new visions and new ideas. We can’t be doing the same thing and expect to see different results.”
Oladeji said the CAN president, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, who are co-Chairmen of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), had jointly made similar calls to the president, but to no avail.
CAN said, “Not only that, the National Assembly, the media and some prominent leaders have been making same call but the President remains adamant for the reasons that are not made known to the public.
“There is an urgent need to do the needful if we want to end the killings in the country. There’s nowhere that is safe and secure. Criminals are operating as if our security operatives are on holiday. Let the federal government wake up from its slumber to its primary responsibilities.”
CAN also expressed reservations about the way the government was handling the issue of suspects’ rehabilitation after alleged renunciation of old ways.
It stated, “If the captured terrorists have truly repented, how come they have not disclosed the whereabouts of Leah Sharibu, the Chibok girls, and other abducted people?
“How come they have not disclosed the hidden cells? Many individuals, groups, and stakeholders, including the National Assembly, have expressed concern over the rising insecurity in the country and the fact that the handling of security is becoming less effective.”
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State chairman of CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, reacted to the recent ranking of Nigeria as the third most dangerous place on earth and the current insecurity in the northern parts of the country and unending killings in Southern Kaduna, saying Nigeria is not only the most dangerous country to live in, but also a country where human lives no longer matter.
“There is no democracy that develops if the people are not secure, free to think, to make choices, to express their views and free to carry out their legitimate activities,” Hayab said.
He blamed the situation on the faulty foundation of “our togetherness”, adding that those who discussed Nigeria’s nationhood “didn’t really talk about our individual systems and individual rights.”
Hayab said, “We would have worked to correct some of those things, but the military interrupted our democracy and they brought a different view to governance – a governance system that is more like a tyranny. The civilians, who got elected under democracy, seem to admire that system and prefer to be coercive even under democracy.
“Our leaders forced their ways to office, because of the way our elections are conducted, so the people don’t matter to them.”
He accused the country’s leaders of dividing Nigerians along religious, ethnic and regional lines to perpetuate their selfish political interests.
According to him, “They divide us by religion, tribe and region. A man is cheating others, then, he is telling brothers that people are speaking against him because he is from this tribe or religion or region. So, while we are busy fighting among ourselves, they are having a field day and they continue to perpetrate the evil that is going on.
“That is why the country is not progressing and terrible things are going on. We have no system that makes the country bigger than the individuals. Everyone knows that today, we are in the worst situation, because nepotism has entered deeply into governance; incompetence is also there.
“People who are not competent are leading us and you can’t challenge it. You can see the level of corruption in Nigeria. The corruption we claimed to be fighting is more of settling scores. If I disagree with you, you are corrupt; if I am with you, I am not corrupt. All these things weaken our institutions.
“Tell me why the president of Nigeria has refused to sack his service chiefs after every available indices shows that they have failed? If you asked me, I will say he is not the one leading, they are the ones leading. If he is the one leading and he knows they have failed, he will not even wait for a second to sack them. So, you can see how the whole system has been.
“The solution is that we must discuss whether we must remain as Nigeria. Some people have been talking about restructuring, we must discuss.”
Hayab recalled that during the Jonathan administration, “There was a discussion among Nigerians and a document was produced. Let’s look at that document or convene another discussion and chart the way forward for our country. We really need to discuss Nigeria, going forward, if not, what we are seeing now will be more terrible in the next 10 years.”
The National Assembly had recently expressed concern about the state of insecurity in the country, with the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, demanding that those saddled with the task of protecting lives and property should either live up to expectation or give way. Speaking in response to a Point of Order by Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), who drew the attention of the Senate to fresh attacks by Boko Haram in his state, Lawan said, “Our stand should be that people should occupy offices based on their performance. There is no point for somebody to continue to be there if they are not registering successes, having been given the necessary tools to fight.”
“Turning a deaf ear to this voice of reason is why there have been unending killings in the land by criminals parading themselves as terrorists, herdsmen killers, bandits, kidnappers and others. The menace is unprecedented, unfortunate and unacceptable”