Speakers at the press conference
A coalition of 22 civil society groups under the umbrella of Good Governance And Change Initiative have berated theNigerian Senate over their calls that the Chief of Defence Staff and other service chiefs in the country be sacked.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, convener of the coalition, Comrade Emmanuel Okpokwu Ogenyi accused senators behind the statement, saying they are not happy with the determination of the military to rid the country of all insecurity challenges before the 2019 elections.
He said said rather than asking for a change in military leadership, the Senate must first provide the necessary political support for addressing Nigeria’s security challenges, empower the youths and stop this macabre dance of shame simply because they have lost touch with their constituents.
According to him, had the legislature demonstrated an equal zeal just like the executive, these crises would have been history by now.
He explained that “The military had concluded on decisively dealing with these security threats before the elections so that no one would use them as excuse to postpone or scuttle the polls as was the case in the past.
This is commendable and proof that the military is desirous of defending and protecting our democracy at any cost.
“We however gathered that this has greatly unsettled the beneficiaries of the security breaches and threats in Nigeria who decided to give a patriotic face to their questionable acts by pretending to be concerned about the welfare of the country.
“To the best of our knowledge, this call for change of security chiefs is nothing but another political game for the 2019 General Elections, in which the only winners are the politicians. They therefore have the incentive to divert attention from practical solutions to the security situation in the country.”
He said this is why they conveniently omitted to acknowledge that the militias and terrorists that are driving these crises were armed, coordinated and financed by members of the political class and how these killings are masterminded by those who have refused to empower the youths in line with electoral promises.
Ogenyi said the Senators must also admit their failing for not contributing enough to the anti-terror fight like the parliaments of other country
He explained that it is surprising that each time the Boko Haram terrorist group is beaten, it appears that their sponsors rally support to ensure that they recruit new members and fighters for the group.
He said the sponsors go the extra mile to ensure that facilitate positive press for the terrorists in the form of overblowing the extent of attacks done by its fighters, granting interviews that support the groups claim and putting out other media content that makes the government look bad and terrorists look good.
He said “These are the same people that side with international organizations on destabilization mission to accuse our Armed Forces of human rights violation any time they want to restrain the military from totally decimating Boko Haram.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) continues to ply its own brand of terror with its latest outing being in Abuja where they shut down public roads to motorists in addition to engaging security agencies in street battles.
He said some other elements like IPOB and militants are also being armed as mercenaries to be unleashed for the 2019 General Elections.
He said, “We challenge the federal lawmakers to deliver resolutions that will tackle foreign nations that are sponsoring terrorism in Nigeria, like Iran. This must be in addition to calling out countries that midwifed the instability that has poured fighters and weapons into Nigeria from Libya and other North African states.
“National Assembly members have the burden of calling themselves and other politicians to order and arrive at an accord not to introduce more firearms into the country as Nigerians go to poll.
They will also have to introduce mechanism for mopping up the weapons they had given out in the past while discretely tipping security agencies to the criminal killer squads they set up as private militias. Resolutions from the National Assembly must similarly demand that state governors that have established and armed ethnic militias must in the same vein decommission such groups and rehabilitate their members.
He urged the Nigerian Military leadership not to relent in the good work they have been doing in keeping the country secured.
According to him, the service chiefs must disregard the politically motivated calls for their removal and rather channel their energy into finishing off the terrorists and other criminals that threaten the wellbeing of citizens.