From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Conference Of Nigeria Elders For Peace And National Unity (CNEPNU) has backed Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the review of the appointment of Service Chiefs to favour the South-East region.
The group strongly condemned the rising spate of insecurity across the country, saying the situation had the potential of overwhelming the Nigerian state unless urgent steps were taken to stem the tide.
This was contained in a statement on Sunday signed by its Coordinators, Engr Zana Goni (North-East elders for peace and development), Prof Chika Madumere (Coalition of South-East Professionals Network) and Prof Ganiyu Jakande.
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on security in a bid to end the cycle of violence that is fast turning the country into what many consider a failing entity.
The statement read:
‘We are alarmed by the increasing attacks on members of the public, especially acts of insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape and the like, thereby portraying Nigeria as a ship that has lost its compass.
‘We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to give vent to his oath of office by protecting the citizens from attacks perpetrated by non-state actors, who seem to be having freedom of action that suggests abdication of responsibility on the part of authorities.
‘Our concern is that Nigeria may be heading down the path of Somalia and other failed African nations, if nothing concrete, decisive and urgent is done to reverse this ugly trend.
‘As an immediate measure, therefore, we call on Mr President to address the nation in a manner that will restore public confidence, which has since been lost, as seen in the resort to self-help by many citizens and groups, who feel – rightly or wrongly – that government has failed to protect them against unwarranted attacks.
‘Again, the President must hand down a marching order to the new Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, as well as other heads of relevant security and law enforcement agencies, to reclaim the space from the enemies of state.
‘We fear conspiracy on the part of security operatives, as nothing explains the fact that, while it seemed all the while that bandits, terrorists and other criminal elements were spirits, respected Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has been traversing the ‘forests of evil’, meeting, discussing and taking photographs with the evil men.
‘With due respect, the way bandits and other criminal elements are allowed to operate today is appalling, as only in a dysfunctional society would you see criminal elements dictating to government what it must do.
‘The new order of bandits’ invasion of schools, culminating in the forcefully taking of school children, whose only ‘sin’ attempt to acquire basic education, must be halted with immediate effect, if our future as a nation must be assured.
‘Lastly, we support the ongoing joint military operation in Orlu forest, Imo State, to take out outlaws threatening the peace, and urge governors of the five South-East states to openly identify with this cause, to demonstrate statesmanship and responsible conduct.’