Over 200 groups across Nigeria and the Diaspora have issued a warning that Nigeria was drifting into anarchy with the level of killings across the country.
Some representatives of the groups, which met in Lagos to discuss the rising insecurity in Nigeria, also called for a security summit to be held within two weeks.
The meeting convened by the President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Malam Shettima Usman Yerima, had in attendance Mazi Okechukwu Iziogosoro, (National President, Ohanaeze Youth Council), Eric Olawale (Yoruba Youth Council), and Barrister Pereotubo Oweilaemi (President, Ijaw Youth Council and leader, Ethnic Nationalities of Niger Delta).
Reviewing the security situation in states like Zamfara, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau and others, the groups declared: “The current dangerous situation, which places the younger generation of Nigerians at the receiving end of the entire violent incidents, is unacceptable and must be halted.”
A communiqué issued by the groups urged stakeholders in the Nigeria Project to, within two weeks, act decisively to avoid the consequential backlash of over-stretching citizens’ patience.
The group warned that “Nigeria, Africa and indeed the entire world may not be able to cope with the consequences of a full blown religious or ethnic war in Nigeria which the current dangerous trend portends.
“The situation also portends the immediate danger of scuttling the nation’s democratic order with the dire consequences of a drift to anarchy.
“We, therefore, call on Nigerian elders, leaders of thought, theological and cultural leaders and all our international friends to step in quickly and save the situation as any further delay could be dangerous.
“Consequently, we urge that the president as the chief security officer of the country to liaise with critical stakeholders in the country to convene a Security Summit within two weeks to address decisively the ugly situation.”
The coalition said it was troubled by the scary figures quoted by various national and international bodies accounting for the lives lost to series of violent situations in the last few years.
“The situation is so disturbing that the UK House of Lords for instance, recently expressed worry about the inability of the Nigerian authorities to end the excessive killings, warning that ethno-religious violence in the country may escalate to the Rwanda type genocide if the Federal Government remained complacent about it.
“On its part, Amnesty International, on June 27, 2018, quoted 1,813 violence-related deaths based on reported cases since January, 2018 alone, with many more killings during the period which were either denied by the government, or were never reported at all.
“In a separate report, the United States Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker says it has documented, at least, 19,890 deaths in Nigeria since June, 2015, just after the current administration assumed office on May 29, 2015.
“The CFR, an independent body of experts dedicated to providing advice on policy options facing countries, put the cumulative deaths from May, 2011 to May, 2018 at 53,595 in violence that is both causal and symptomatic of weakness of Nigeria’s political institutions and citizen alienation.
“They also included violent incidents related to political, economic, and social grievances directed at the state or other affiliated groups (or conversely the state employing violence to respond to those incidents.)
“Armed with sophisticated weaponry, bands of killers moving freely are believed to have killed more men, women and children in 2015, 2016 and 2017, than Boko Haram has done in the 12 years of its violent campaign.
“And these untamed bandits and armed ethnic militias who have killed thousands with impunity, are most likely to kill more in the absence of prosecution or deterrent, with government appearing helpless or unwilling to act decisively.
“A failure of the authorities to halt the trend has already given rise to speculations suggesting that the bloodbath is deliberately orchestrated by those holding power in order to service occult demands, or that government is manipulating the situation to split the nation along religious or ethnic fault lines in order to gain the sympathy of certain sections in the forthcoming general elections,” the communiqué said.
Meanwhile, over 200 groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), yesterday, condemned Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai for claiming that the recorded deaths in Nigeria in recent times was nothing to worry about.
The group, which declared that the government of the day had failed in its responsibility to secure the country, appealed to stakeholders in the Nigeria Project to help rescue it by organising a security summit.
The groups also pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to stop blaming the opposition and realise that the buck stops on his table.
They urged the president to take responsibility and act immediately so as to stop a drift that could become uncontrollable.
“While unchecked gangs of criminals plunder hundreds of communities, rape several women, kidnap innocent villagers including children and displace hundreds, some leaders such as the Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufai say the number of deaths is yet insignificant for the nation to worry.
“Such callous remarks by people in authority give credence to concerns that these ugly incidences are encouraged by the tardy, untidy and often indifferent posture or attitude of the current government which has been slow, indecisive or mistaken in its responses.
“For example, it took the President in particular, several years to visit Zamfara, many more months to go to Taraba and about 10 weeks to visit Benue after the killing of thousands of citizens in those states.
“And while consoling mourners in all these states, the President only found time to blame the opposition for the continued attacks, not minding that the buck stops with him, especially on security matters; which is what being Commander-In-Chief is all about.
“In another observed lapse elsewhere, Mr President simply told foreign audience in both the United States and Britain, that the killers in Nigeria were Gaddafi trainees who dispersed across the Sahel after his death, without bothering to explain the effort his government had made to apprehend the criminal intruders,” the group said in a communiqué signed by Yerima, National President, Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Iziogosoro; President of Yoruba Youth Council, Eric Olawale; and President, Ijaw Youth Council and Ethnic Nationalities of Niger Delta, Barrister Pereotubo R. Oweilaemi, on behalf of over 200 groups.
They also blamed the heightened tension in the country on government’s poor approach, lack of cooperation with other arms and the lack of coordination among the security agencies in the country.
They lamented that some policemen and other security agents have further escalated the violence with extra-judicial killings.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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