By Chukwudi Nweje
Civil Society organisations (CSOs), in Lagos, yesterday, in Lagos charged #EndSARS protesters to be cautious and avoid unscrupulous elements from infiltrating their ranks for selfish motives.
The Coalition of 16 CSOs at a press conference in Lagos, urged Nigerians to careful as Nigerians, in order to avoid falling for the antics of desperate politicians, whose interests are built around elections, and not nation building.
It said the renewed agitation for the sack of Service Chiefs in the wake of the ongoing protests is not only ill-timed and ill-advised, but an attempt by desperate politicians to take advantage of the situation.
Spokesman of the coalition, Mr Shina Loremeku, noted that changing the service chiefs without effecting changs in the funding and other conditions of th armed forces will only demoralise the armed forces and its leadership.
“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 North East and other critical stakeholders are working with government stakeholders, to find an enduring end to insurgency and other criminalities in the country.
“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. The senator representing Borno North, Ali Ndume, the chairman of senate committee on the Army, has said times without number that the military lacks the required and modern equipment needed to prosecute the war against the insurgents. He had explained that the budget of the army is inadequate. He talked about the manpower. The military is overstretched already. 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 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”, he said.
The CSOS noted that even as there is need to rejig the structure of the country and it leadership recruitment, that the Federal Government must also improve its financial obligations to the armed forces to improve their capacity towards effectively tackling of insurgence being witnessed in parts of the country.