From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Security experts under the aegis of Conference of Concerned Nigeria Security Experts (COCONISE), have advised the Federal Government to review the appointment of service chiefs to favour the South East, adding that the region’s contribution would go a long way in tackling the problem.
COCONISE National President, Prof. Otedola Adekunle, and National Secretary, Dr Christy Aklo, in a statement yesterday, argued that the marginalisation of the region would continuously create a vacuum for bandits strike and further douse the agitation of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The experts contended that the plural and multi-dimensional nature of Nigeria opens actions and policies of government no matter how well-intentioned, to subjective scrutiny, based on which divide is driving the psychology of perception.
The statement reads: “Nigeria is a member of the comity of responsible nation’s, which must be governed based on its plurality and peculiarity, regardless of who is at the helms of affairs at any given point in time.
“We are aware that at the snap of a finger, the federal government was able to approach a Federal High Court in Abuja to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and accordingly, designated it a terrorist organisation.
“It is, however, curious that the same government has not deemed it appropriate to apply the same dose to marauding herdsmen, who go about with AK-47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons killing, maiming raping and causing destruction to property and livelihood.
“As experts, we are of the firm view that, in administering a plural society such as Nigeria, leaders must ensure that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, for purposes of egalitarianism, justice and fairness.
“When you treat an otherwise equal region as a ‘plaque’ that must not be touched with the longest of sticks, you leave them with the natural feeling of alienation and subjugation, which ultimately affect their sense of worth and relevance.
“We know as a fact that this development is what is weighing down the Igbo at the moment, and we implore the President to quickly assuage this psychological torture by reviewing the recent appointment of Service Chiefs, to incorporate an illustrious South East officer.
“We recall that in the Presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a worthy son of Igbo in the person of Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), was appointed the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
“Apart from the confidence that that appointment elicited among Ndigbo, we also witnessed the commendable routing of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) from the hideouts in Sambisa forest and other strongholds.
“When you recognise and appreciate a people’s sense of humanity, they are bound to offer you unflinching support, and also pledge their unalloyed loyalty to further a course.”