- A coalition of CSOs has advised Nigerians not to politicise the call for the removal of service chiefs
- Notable Nigerians have been calling for the sacking of the service chiefs following the rate of insecurity in Nigeria
- But the coalition said the calls were being made by politicians who have their own personal agenda
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A coalition of 16 civil society organisations has condemned the calling by some northern leaders and politicians for the removal of the country's service chiefs in the face of the protests against the activities of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Legit.ng reports that the coalition described the latest call by some Nigerians as another highly partisan position and a clear attempt at politicising the unfortunate situation, which it said was a moment that demands national cohesion.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Friday, October 16, the spokesperson of the group, Shina Loremikan, who is the national coordinator of the campaign against impunity in Nigeria, said the events of the past few weeks should attract concerns and sympathy rather than the politically motivated call.
"We view the latest call, as another highly partisan position and a clear attempt at politicising an otherwise unfortunate situation, a moment that demands national cohesion. The present moment, judging by the events of the past few weeks, which has witnessed series of attack on Nigeria's territorial integrity and successful resistance by our armed forces, particularly the Nigerian army, ordinarily should attract concerns and sympathy rather than this politically motivated call.
"We wonder why this so-called elders and their collaborating politicians, are choosing a youth protest against the conduct of the police, to make the selfish demand while the people of the northeast and other critical stakeholders are working with government stakeholders, to find an enduring end to insurgency and other criminalities in the country.
"Furthermore, we view this call as an attempt at demoralising the nation’s armed forces and its leadership who are currently engaged in tackling series of insurgencies and internal security challenges, many of which are politically motivated, by some self-serving politicians and their sympathisers.
The coalition said it was dismayed over the inability of some northern elders to acknowledge the efforts and landmark achievements that have been made by the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency, and other forms of banditry across the nation over the past few months.
Loremikan further added:
"The call for the removal of service chiefs at this defining moment in our history leaves much to be desired. Let not forget that the Boko Haram insurgents are lurking around waiting to strike. If we lowered our guard by acceding to the call of those who want the service chiefs removed, it may spell doom.
He stressed that the senator representing Borno North, Ali Ndume, has said times without number that the military lacks the required and modern equipment needed to prosecute the war against the insurgents.
According to him, Ndume also explained that the budget of the Army is inadequate, adding that the military is overstretched already.
The coalition noted:
Sen Ndume is the chairman of senate committee on the Army. So he’s conversant with the plight of the Nigerian army. What of motivation? The army budget is too small compare to other countries that are not even facing Nigerian situation (fighting insurgency, banditry, cattle rustling & kidnapping) on the continent.
"If we are reforming the police which is the standing force for the internal security and calling for the sack of service chiefs at the same time. Is that not an anarchy? We have to be careful here not to play into the hands of those who want to wreck the ship of the defense of the country. The army is already overstretched, if we allow fifth columnist and agent of destabilization to have their way, it may spell doom for the country.
Loremikan also emphasised that the #EndSARS protests across the country were symptomatic of the evils bedeviling the governance structure in the country, saying that Governor Sanwo-Olu and his Delta counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, admitted that much when they met with the protesters in Lagos and Asaba that there’s need to listen to the youths.
He also said:
"The EndSARS campaign is just a trigger of the crisis in education, healthcare, lack of infrastructure, unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria.
"The Army should not be the fall guy in the rot, occasioned by many years of neglect in the country. The military-like ordinary Nigerian is also a victim of the level of decadence and its associated vices over the years and it can’t be rectified overnight.
"The incessant calls for the removal of Service Chiefs at every turn without giving them equipment and budget that will complement their gallant efforts is capable of lowering the morale of the officers and men at the Theatre of Operation.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that a group of northeast elders under the aegis of Coalition for North East Elders for Peace and Development (CNEEPD), advised President Muhammadu Buhari to rejig the country's security architecture.
It was reported that the chairman of the group, Engineer Zana Goni and secretary, Muhammed Misua, in a statement sent to journalists on Saturday, September 26, said the military has come to what they called “breaking point.”
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