AMIDST rising tension across the country, leaders of the grand coalition, Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), have written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying Nigeria has become a ‘killing field’ under his watch.
In the letter dated April 27, 2018, entitled: Before the Bubble Bursts: Stem the Descent of the country into civil war now, and signed by the co-chairmen of the coalition, Dr Olisa Agbakoba and Dr Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa, they said the time was ominous because of public allegations of compromise by security agencies in the spate of killings, especially in the North-Central states.
“Mr President, we are indeed perturbed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and indeed the entire security and intelligence architecture under your command have always watched helplessly or conspiratorially as these killings are carried out even during milioary Operations, such as the one tagged “Ayem Akpatuma” (Operation Cat Race).
“Sadly, the involvement of persons in Army uniforms at Naka against the backdrop of recent allegations by elder statesman, former Chief of Army Staff and former Minister of Defence, Dr Theophilous Danjuma, that the Armed Forces were colluding with the herdsmen militia in what he termed as a genocidal ethnic cleansing mission, has today reinforced and given impetus for self-help and defence in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria.
“The implication of the embrace of self defence is that the Middle Belt people appear to have lost faith in the security and Intelligence Agencies. This is a very sad and dangerous trend that must be arrested without delay as it is a clear signpost to the beginning of civil strife in the country.
“You could not have forgotten the Tiv Riots of 1960 – 1964 which was one of the series of events that sign posted the descent of the nation into the human misery from the 30 months of avoidable civil war and bloodletting between 1967 and 1970.
“This is so, because, such sense of complete distrust in the security forces may invariably lead the people to consider arming themselves to be able to effectively defend themselves against these mysterious herdsmen militia. It will interest you to know that this call for self-defence is becoming more stringent even in regions like the South-East, South-West and South-South,” they said.
Accordingly, they tabled a 10-point demand, including the immediate removal of all security chiefs in order to avert total anarchy.
Citing in a chronological order such dastardly killings in the North-Central states since the beginning of the year, they expressed utter disgust over such tragedies which appear to give the impression of lack of capacity by the president to fix the system.
“We of NIM are, therefore, seriously concerned and worried that efforts, including military operations, by the Federal Government, to arrest this ugly situation have continuously failed. “Consequently, in the light of the foregoing, we hereby wish to recommend the following to the Federal Government of Nigeria:
“Change the leadership of Nigeria’s entire security and intelligence infrastructure as they have failed in coming up with strategies for dealing with the situation. However, in appointing the new leadership, Government should be sensitive to the heterogeneous nature and diversity of Nigeria particularly our ethnic, religious and regional peculiarities and reflect same in the new appointments to engender the lost confidence and trust of Nigerians
“Implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference particularly the recommendations relating to restructuring of the Federation to prevent further conflicts and instability in the country.
“Allow states to commence preparation for having their own state police. In this regard, the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly should as a matter of urgent national importance commence specific review of the Constitution to reflect this new position.
“Curtail and monitor the activities of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and Miyetti- Allah Kauta Hore by exposing and prosecuting suspected killer herders among the groups as advised by recently by the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido,” the NIM leaders stated.
The NIM leaders reaffirmed the resolve of the coalition “to intensify the mobilisation of all Nigerians of voting age towards procuring their Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) for the purpose of electing fresh breed political leaders that will see every Nigerian, no matter the tongue and tribe, as their compatriots. Reject leaders who manipulate and divide us and plan to steal our collective patrimony at the 2019 elections.
“NIM believes that the only way that we can all collectively defeat those who wish to push the nation into an avoidable civil war, which Nigeria may not survive, is to continue to believe in the things that bind us together.
“Rather than agonise, we have resolved to organise in giving to ourselves and our children a better Nigeria through our PVC-driven, ballot-based Revolution in 2019.”
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