An Igbo group has heaped all the blame for the security crisis in Nigeria on President Muhammad Buhari, saying his policy of sectionalism, nepotism , aloofness and support for killer herdsmen bred the crisis.
“Much more than any previous Nigerian leader, Buhari has demonstrated an unprecedented insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity, disregarded constitutional provisions for federal character, disregarded public opinion like never before, demonstrated monumental aloofness and enthroned nepotism, sectionalism and injustice like never before in the nation’s history”, Igbo Ekunie Initiative said in a scathing statement on Thursday night.
The group with members in the diaspora urged Buhari to urgently declare a state Of emergency on security and constitute an all-inclusive government of National Unity to tackle what it called, the nation’s drift to war.
It also called on the president to reconstitute the appointments of security chiefs and commands in the police and the military to reflect the national character.
The statement was signed by its president Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke and secretary, Lawrence Nwobu
Read the full statement:
We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprising individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora; have observed with despair, the growing insurgency, terrorism and general insecurity across the nation. Just recently in Ebonyi state, over 16 people were massacred in cold blood by rampaging killer herdsmen in another brazen and provocative act of impunity. In Anambra state, heavily armed insurgents stormed Professor Chukwuma Soludo’s campaign venue and killed several security officers. In Imo state an audacious prison break was orchestrated in a growing pattern of attacks on security officials by unknown insurgents.
Other than the needless Nigeria-Biafra war, there is no time in living memory; the nation has been confronted with such overwhelming acts of widespread killings, chaos and conflict. At the last count, insurgents/terrorists/bandits/kidnappers and killer herdsmen put above the law and enabled by the president himself, have all but rendered large parts of the North East, Northwest and North Central uninhabitable. Down South, Killer herdsmen have likewise waged war against local communities in practically every state and left a trail of blood and death. In the Southeast and South South, a guerrilla insurgency is taking root with sustained targeted ambush and killing of security officials.
We remind the president that the protection of life and property is his most important constitutional responsibility. Indeed other than his fundamental constitutional responsibility, president Buhari also singularly bears “causative” responsibility for Nigeria’s security crisis and drift to war. In the last 6 years, his administration’s unprecedented policy of exclusion, sectionalism and overt sectional support for killer herdsmen, bandits and terrorists only created a predictable and inevitable scenario of self help and thus the emergence of insurgent/separatist groups in the Southwest, South South, Southeast and North Central. These evolving scenarios can only lead to one outcome: The eventual control of every zone by insurgents, the intensification of state failure and the ultimate collapse/disintegration of Nigeria.
After two decades of democracy, almost every zone now seeks self determination. While the army is practically at war across the nation. It’s no surprise therefore that Nigerians have increasingly lost faith in democracy.
In light of all of the above; we submit that the administration of president Buhari bears ultimate responsibility for Nigeria’s present security crisis and drift to war and disintegration. Much more than any previous Nigerian leader, Buhari has demonstrated an unprecedented insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity, disregarded constitutional provisions for federal character, disregarded public opinion like never before, demonstrated monumental aloofness and enthroned nepotism, sectionalism and injustice like never before in the nation’s history. Indeed President Buhari’s irrational support and enabling of killer herdsmen and other murderous terrorist groups rises to the level of abdication of duty and mirrors that of Omar Al Bashir former president of Sudan who infamously supported the “Janjaweed” as they wreaked havoc in Sudan and Hissene Habre former president of Chad who also supported militia groups as they killed thousands in Chad. It’s notable that both presidents were eventually indicted for crimes against humanity. A legacy or fate we hope president Buhari does not want for himself.
We note that despite repeated complaints, outcries and proposals by eminent statesmen, stakeholders and concerned citizens across the nation in the last 6 years, Buhari has studiously ignored all public opinion, complaints, advice and allowed the nation to continue the plunge into abyss. Not even kings who rule by right of blood or military rulers who hold sway through the barrel of the gun are known to so arrogantly and callous disregard the opinion, petitions and complaints of concerned stakeholders and the citizenry.
We note, that the rise and grass roots popularity of separatists like Mr Sunday Igboho, Nnamdi Kanu amongst others. The formation of ESN and mushrooming of an insurgency of unknown gunmen that serially targets security officials in the Southeast is directly linked to president Buhari’s open support and enabling of killer herdsmen, serial mismanagement of Nigeria’s diversity and consistent refusal to take any corrective measures.
We submit that Nigerians fought a long struggle for democracy in the belief that democracy will bring security, end all forms of exclusion/discrimination, end human rights violations and restore good governance, economic growth and prosperity amongst others. Yet if under president Buhari, we are fatally worse off in all indices for which we sought democracy, then the administration itself faces an existential danger that must not be underestimated or taken lightly.
We therefore recommend and submit as follows:
That the president must urgently constitute a government of national unity, declare a national state of emergency on security and act with all urgency to restore security across the nation.
That to gain the necessary nationwide support/loyalty in the onerous bid to restore security, the six frontline service chiefs or security officials namely the Chief of Army staff, the Chief of Defence staff, the Chief of Air staff, the Chief of Naval staff, the IG of police and the National Security Adviser being 6 in all should be reconstituted to reflect the 6 geopolitical zones.
That the command of the existing divisions/formations of the Army, Navy and Air force should be reconstituted to reflect the 6 geopolitical zones.
That the Federal police should also be reconstituted to reflect state and zonal balance. The governing DIG’s and AIG’s must reflect the 6 geopolitical zones, while each of the 36 states must produce a state police commissioner for national spread and to aid the overall effort to restore security across the nation.
That the federal government should urgently set up committees, firstly to begin steps to restructure the nation and secondly to dialogue with IPOB and other groups willing to dialogue in a bid to de-escalate tensions and tame growing separatist inclinations across the nation.
In conclusion, we submit that in forming a government of national unity, reconstituting the security services to reflect national spread, beginning the process of restructuring (structural consolidation), declaring a national state of emergency to tackle insecurity across the nation; the president would have taken the all important steps of “nation building” and “structural consolidation” that would substantially pull the nation back from the brink. We urge the president to act with all urgency before it’s too late. A stitch in time saves nine.
Signed: Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative
Lawrence Nwobu, Secretary, Igbo Ekunie Initiative