Okwe Obi, Abuja
Over 23 Civil Society Organisations under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Rights Organisations, raised the alarm over the problem of banditry, kidnappings and killings hurting the country, stating that the country is bleeding.
Aside rebuking a group called Campaign Against Impunity, which had countered the sack of the service chiefs, it noted that the group lacked the moral rights to speak on insecurity ravaging the North.
The CSOs are Actions Against Terrorism (AAT), Change Agent Initiative (CAI), Igbo League of Professionals (ILEP), and Northern Children Rights Advocacy Group (NOCHRAG).
Others included Oduduwa Peace Network (OPN), Borno Patriotic Front (BOPAF), Zamfara Peace And Security Advocates Forum (ZAPESEA), and Action Against Violation of Children Africa.
In a statement yesterday, its spokesperson, Musa Dan Dutse, said: “As a coalition of civil rights organisation following the security situation in the North in particular and the country as a whole, we wish to emphatically state here that we are in full support of the position of Northern elders that President Muhammadu Buhari sacks the service chiefs immediately.
“We also condemn the sponsored attacks on the revered elders by a faceless group of CSOs led by one ignoble Campaign Against Impunity, based in Lagos.
“Ordinarily, we would not have joined issues with the pseudo group knowing that it is not only sponsored but also faceless but for the general public who may not know their intention and be gullible their antics.
“We are constrained to respond to these paid agents and also challenge them to a national debate.
“How can a civil society organization whose number one mandate is to protect the rights of humanity be speaking against the wishes of the entire country?
“How will the sack of the tired service chiefs demoralized the country? We strongly believe that it is either this so called CSOs don’t leave in this country or they have sold their conscience to the devil.
“We will like to put it clear to them that the mere announcement of the sack of the current service chiefs will elicit nationwide jubilation and boost troops morale immediately.
“Security of lives and properties will improve immediately because new ideas and zeal will be brought to the table, and the entire country will be the ultimate beneficiary.”
He added: “We want to remind this selfish group that the nationwide ongoing protest is as a result of frustration of Nigerians which was occasioned by the actions or inaction of the current head of security agencies in the country, especially the service chiefs who have lost ideas to change the game in securing the country and their unnecessary long stay in which has demoralized the fighting troops and commanders.
“We wonder where these enemies of the people got their facts from! However, we would not want to dwell too much on their paid rubbish so as not to give them the relevance they are desperately seeking.
“We will wait to point some clear facts to president Muhammad Buhari that the security of this country is at a melting point and there is an urgent need to restructure the country’s security architecture with the sack of the service chiefs and replace them with younger generals with respect to Nigeria’s diversity.
The entire country is bleeding, the North is a shadow of itself, the North East and the North West is the center of terrorism in Africa. This is not healthy for our country and if nothing is done, we may have big problems to contend with.
“It is on this note that we throw our weight behind the position of the Northern East elders in totality that the service chiefs be replaced immediately.
“We appeal to the president to replace them with younger generals with the zeal and commitment to end insecurity not just in the North but the country as a whole.”