Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari held security summit with governors and security chiefs, the leadership of Afenifere and Yoruba elders, yesterday, told him to recruit policemen, and deploy same in all 774 local government areas to tackle insecurity in the country.
They also demanded the reintroduction of free education, noting that though expensive it will revolutionise the country.
The leaders, including the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Tinubu, former governors of Oyo and deputy governors of Oyo and Osun states, also included in their five-point demand, true federalism to address the challenges facing the country.
The group, led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, also made requests cutting across youth employment, power supply and agriculture.
The five demands of the Afenifere leaders were enumerated in a prepared speech read by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye.
“The huge cost not-withstanding, it may be considered worthwhile to take a bold step in combating crime and improving on security by improving on the apparent shortage of the manpower in the Nigeria Police and by extending control of the police from the state to local government level. By this, we humbly suggest that Mr. President should reflect deeply and consider recruitment, training, equipment and deployment of Nigerian Police on the basis of 774 local governments listed in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
“Added to this, is training the public on the need to improve on their individual vigilance and awareness of movement of strangers passing through or moving into their neighbourhood. Imbibing such habit and practice will be a tremendous help or service to the police and other security agents as regards ‘Intelligence’ support, especially now that most people have access to individual means of communication (telephone handsets),” Durojaiye said.
The group also told Buhari that as governors of the South West meet to map out strategies to eradicate kidnapping and violent attacks, they would need more financial subvention and support.
On free education, the group said: “Free Universal and Compulsory Education had been practiced with remarkable success in some parts of Nigeria in the past. Mr. President may consider re-introducing the programme and make it compulsory at all levels and all over the country as a lasting gift to Nigeria in his final term in office. Such a bold step though very expensive will revolutionise and catapult the entire nation to the Next Higher Level.”
President Buhari admitted that despite his administration’s effort in tackling insecurity, the problems were still there and the government was doing its best to address them both physically and materially.
On his administration’s fight against corruption, Buhari revisited the sack of former Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen and wondered why an officer of the law occupying the highest judicial office could not live above board.