The Federal Government has been urged to do more than it’s currently doing to address the problem of growing insecurity across the country or the nation may face the risk of unpalatable consequences as a result of the ugly development.
Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders,YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide who stated this warned that the deteriorating security situation was capable of truncating the nation’s democracy. He also spoke on other national issues in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS.
What’s your reaction to the growing insecurity across the country as many Nigerians are expressing concerns over the development?
It is an unfortunate and unacceptable development that is fast getting out of control, and no patriot will keep quiet while the nation is burning. Whether those in authority want to accept it or not, Nigeria is burning. Growing insecurity has become an ugly monster threatening to swallow the country , and if urgent steps are not taken ,Nigeria may suffer an implosion any moment from now. If the situation continues to degenerate, the nation’s democracy will be at risk. The present ugly trend is capable of truncating the nation’s democracy.
Although those in authority will want us to believe that all is well but that is far from the reality on the ground. Federal Government has the constitutional duty to protect lives and properties across the country but today that is fast becoming an illusion. In different parts of the country,kidnappers and bandits are on the prowl preying on innocent Nigerians at will. Boko Haram insurgency is still festering, and becoming more ferocious. Although one may understand Federal Government’s predicament but what is clearly unacceptable is the way government is going about tackling these challenges. For instance, it should be very clear to the government by now that the insecurity challenge has overwhelmed the Police. It is obviously clear now that a central Police Command as represented by the Nigeria Police can’t tackle the insecurity challenge.
Nigeria is a vast country with over 200 million diverse population spreading from the Atlantic Ocean in the South to the Sahara desert in the North. Federal Government must face the reality that the Nigeria Police can’t cope with the present situation on ground, and this is why it has become imperative that State Police must become a reality. We need to decentralize the Police. With the creation of state police, then the task of policing the nation will be made easier. I don’t see why anybody or group should feel threatened by the calls for the setting up of State Police. It is obvious that the growing insecurity challenge in the country today can’t be handled by the police, and this is why some states are setting up different security outfits to complement Police efforts just like Operation Amotekun that has just been set up by the South-West state governors.
In the wake of the insecurity challenge, some chieftains of the leading opposition party, PDP have called on President Buhari to resign–
That’s just politics. They are making political statements. Do they expect Buhari to resign? That will never happen especially here in Nigeria or even in Africa. However, my advice to Buhari is that he should listen to Nigerians especially when what people are saying or suggesting is what will move the country forward. Buhari and his advisers should realize that a Central Police system can no longer work in Nigeria especially with the present security challenges.This why other states should replicate Operation Amotekun in their domains. It is what will help to address the challenge of insecurity in their states.This is why I was shocked by the initial opposition of the federal government,and the Attorney-General of the Federation,Mallam Abubakar Malami to the establishment of the security outfit. But thank God they’ve now seen reason to accept the fact that Operation Amotekun has become a reality. It has become a project nobody can stop or scuttle. Any attempt to do so will backfire. It will be resisted by the people of the South-west.
But the Miyetti Allah group seems not to have accepted that reality as the organization has threatened that the setting up of Operation Amotekun may affect South-West chance of clinching the presidency in 2023
Those people should be ignored. Nigerians are giving too much attention to Miyetti Allah as a group. For me, Miyetti Allah has become a big nuisance. Nigerians are over-dignifying the group. This is just an association of cattle traders. Leaders of the group ought to have been arrested over their inciting utterances. They are not a force to be reckoned with. It is because Nigerians are giving them too much attention that is making leaders of the group to feel that they are a force to reckon with. For me, Miyetti-Allah should be ranked in the same group with association of barbers, and tailors. That’s where they belong. We have over-dignified them. But I believe that the time has come for us to put them where they belong. I remember a time when federal government was even trying to rank Miyetti Allah with Ohanaeze, and Afenifere, what an insult. Who is Miyetti Allah to be talking about 2023? Of what relevance is Miyetti Allah leaders to 2023? Who even knows who will be alive between now, and 2023? For me, the focus should be on the present 2020. I believe that what should be the focus of President Buhari now is how to restructure Nigeria.
The calls for the removal of Service Chiefs by some individuals and groups as a result of the insecurity crisis has become a source of controversy, what’s your stand on this?
There should be no controversy about it at all. Buhari should just fire the service chiefs. They have outlived their usefulness. In fact, their continued stay in office has become a source of demoralization to their subordinates. What are they still doing in office? They are just deceiving and lying to Nigerians. These service chiefs will tell Nigerians that they have caged Boko Haram but the following day the insurgents become more ferocious, and launch more attacks on Nigerians. If the service chiefs are doing their duties, we won’t be having these security crises all over the country. Only Buhari knows why he is keeping them but obviously many Nigerians want him to fire them. They have no idea to offer again. Moreso nobody is indispensable. There should be no reason for holding on to them.
Some Nigerians have accused the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN of politicizing the insecurity issue by organizing national prayers and fasting, how do you react to that?
CAN has every right to organise that prayers. CAN has every right to mobilize its members to pray to God to intervene on issues that have to do with the progress of Nigeria. They have the right to call on God who created heaven, and earth to intervene in our situation. What CAN is doing is not something extraordinary. Nigeria is seriously suffocating, and some of us are not happy at all because we have seen better Nigeria in the past, and our hope is that we will still have a much better Nigeria today ,and in the future. I will even advise that Muslims should also join the prayers .If we want a better Nigeria, then all hands should be on deck to ensure that everything is done to make Nigeria safe and secured.
How can Operation Amotekun succeed in view of fears being expressed that some South-West governors may turn it into a tool of oppression against political opponents?
The security outfit will succeed if the governors don’t deviate from the original agenda for setting up the outfit. I also believe South-West people are not only politically enlightened, but that they would also resist any attempt by any governor to turn the outfit into a tool or instrument of oppression. Moreso, the clamour for setting up the outfit was not only overwhelming but the people also know the reason why Operation Amotekun came on board, and the reason for setting it up was to tackle internal security challenges, especially the problems of kidnappings and other sundry crimes in the South-West geo-political zone. I believe our people will resist attempt by any governor to hoodwink them into using the outfit for any agenda that is inimical to the interest of the South-West. I advise our governors to remain focused, and people-oriented in their policies and programmes.