Some eminent elders across the country have condemned, in strong terms, the rising spate of insecurity across the country, saying the situation has the potential of overwhelming the Nigerian state, unless urgent steps were taken to stem the tide.
Consequently, the elders have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on security, in a bid to end the cycle of violence that is fast turning the country into what many consider a failing entity.
The elders, who operate under the auspices of Conference of Nigeria Elders for Peace and National Unity (CNEPNU), said silence was a luxury that the country could not afford at the moment, hence the need for all well-meaning Nigerians to weigh-in on the deteriorating security situation.
In a statement signed by Engr Zana Goni (North east elders for peace and development); Prof Chika Madumere (Coalition of South East Professionals Network), as well as Prof Ganiyu Jakande, the concerned elders said the level of tension in the country today, could only be likened to the 1967 – 1970 scenario.
While suspecting conspiracy on the part of authorities, the patriots wondered why respected Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, who is not a state official, would have unfettered access to armed bandits operating in very deep forests.
The statement reads: “We rise as elders to condemn in its entirety the worsening state of insecurity in our dear country, which has not only led to needless loss of lives and property, but also threatened her fragile and delicate balance.
“We are alarmed by the increasing attacks on members of the public, especially acts of insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape and the like, thereby portraying Nigeria as a ship that has lost its compass.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to give vent to his oath of office by protecting the citizens from attacks perpetrated by non-state actors, who seem to be having freedom of action that suggests abdication of responsibility on the part of authorities.
“Our concern is that Nigeria may be heading down the path of Somalia and other failed African nations, if nothing concrete, decisive and urgent is done to reverse this ugly trend.
“As an immediate measure, therefore, we call on Mr. President to address the nation in a manner that will restore public confidence, which has since been lost, as seen in the resort to self-help by many citizens and groups, who feel – rightly or wrongly – that government has failed to protect them against unwarranted attacks.
“Again, the President must hand down a marching order to the new Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, as well as other heads of relevant security and law enforcement agencies, to reclaim the space from the enemies of the state.
“We fear conspiracy on the part of security operatives, as nothing explains the fact that, while it seemed all the while that bandits, terrorists and other criminal elements were spirits, respected Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has been traversing the ‘forests of evil’, meeting, discussing and taking photographs with the evil men.
“With due respect, the way bandits and other criminal elements are allowed to operate today is appalling, as only in a dysfunctional society would you see criminal elements dictating to the government what it must do.
“The new order of bandits’ invasion of schools, culminating in the forceful taking of school children, whose only ‘sin’ attempt to acquire basic education, must be halted with immediate effect, if our future as a nation must be assured.
“Lastly, we support the ongoing joint military operation in Orlu forest, Imo State, to take out outlaws threatening the peace, and urge Governors of the five South East states to openly identify with this cause, to demonstrate statesmanship and responsible conduct.”