…Opposes military action in Niger Republic
The Ijaw National Congress has decried the state of insecurity in Nigeria, saying the situation had remained largely precarious since the change of the baton of leadership from former President Muhammadu Buhari to his successor, Bola Tinubu.
The group urged the president to give adequate attention to the nation’s internal security problems of banditry, insurgency, and kidnap-for-ransom rather than devoting so much energy, time, and resources to the political crisis in neighbouring Niger Republic following the coup staged by soldiers in that country.
President of the INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, stated these in a statement titled, ‘No paradigm shift yet in security architecture’, issued in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Sunday.
He said, “Curiously, there has not been significant improvement in the security architecture of the country. The security policy of the Federal Government under the current political dispensation is not yet clear to the citizens, who have continued to live and go about their daily activities in subdued fear and anxiety.
“The Ijaw National Congress (INC) recalls that President Tinubu, since his inauguration, has held at least two security meetings between June and July with the Service Chiefs, including the acting Inspector General of Police, that he appointed after sacking their predecessors which he inherited from Buhari. Sadly, this has not brought about a fundamental paradigm shift in the war against insurgency, banditry, and kidnap-for-ransom in all parts of the country.
“Despite those security meetings, the nation has continued to record killings and abductions of hapless citizens every other week. In some instances, victims of kidnapping had paid humongous sums of money to secure their freedoms from their abductors. Others have not been lucky.”
Expressing sadness, Okaba cited the killing by dare-devil bandits of some soldiers in Niger State and the abduction of some National Youth Service Corps members in Zamfara State as a few instances of the unfortunate menaces of insecurity in the country.
“The INC likes to point out that the Niger Delta is not spared as poverty is weaponized through environmental degradation, resource injustice, and infrastructural neglect, among others. The region has been reduced to a conundrum of mass anger, frustration, hopelessness, and this is generating anger if these issues are not adequately addressed.
“We view the worsening security architecture of Nigeria, especially in the Army, as the consequence of the new government’s choices wherein many experienced officers were unduly thrown into retirement to make way for an officer from a particular ethnicity to be appointed as Chief of Army Staff.
“In the midst of this dire security situation in Nigeria, President Tinubu is devoting so much energy, time, and resources to the impasse in neighboring Niger Republic occasioned by the coup d’etat launched in July by some of that country’s putschists”, he said.
He said the Ijaw nation was opposed to military action as an option to resolve the impasse in the Niger Republic, no matter the excuses or reasons that may be proffered.
Okaba further said, “Therefore, we implore the Federal Government to focus its attention on the internal security of Nigeria and galvanize its security policy. So far, Mr. President, Nigerians are still watching the security decisions of your administration which seem not to have addressed the troubling challenge of insecurity across the country and has neither inspired confidence nor addressed it in any way.
“Nevertheless, we want to believe that the acting IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, has an in-depth grasp of the internal security issues facing the country and is capable of taking the right decisions to frontally tackle them and restore the confidence of Nigerians in the government.
“The INC recognises the fact that IGP Egbetokun assumed office without career casualties of officers of the same rank with him, which was not obtainable on previous occasions. We also note his tacit recognition of year of enlistment into the Force as the hallmark of seniority in the police institution, and not career mobility which occasionally may arise from exigencies of the moment. We hope that his genial leadership disposition would reposition the Force for improved maintenance of law and order across the country.”