The government needs to look more critically at the security architecture and provide the necessary wherewithal and motivation for the services to perform their function.
You remove the service chiefs and put new ones under the same environment; you cannot get the required results. So, let the services be properly retooled, motivated and encouraged; provide for them the enabling environment to do their job. The services need holistic reforms; it is not the service chiefs alone that caused the problem, there is also the issue of followership and materials to work with. It needs to be a comprehensive overhaul.
Now that the President wants to tinker with the security architecture, I expect him to look critically at the structure and get his think-tank to advise him on the proper steps to take. As it is now, I don’t think the security services have got all they need in terms of skills, materials and equipment and of course, they would not get all they need.
Our security forces need to identify the routes through which terrorists have been infiltrating the country and their job is to block such routes and cooperate with neighbouring countries to deal with the bad elements.
- Kayode Ajulo (Principal partner, Castle of Law Chambers)
It is obvious that after three years, fatigue has set in for our military chiefs. Mind you, about two years ago, one of the service chiefs was supposed to have retired (either by age or years in service).
Obviously, many people are disillusioned with the way things are. There are officers who should be motivated through promotions but that is not happening. It is a general consensus that our security architecture needs a general overhaul, we need to redefine and redesign our security architecture. I listened to a recent debate in the British parliament; I was so ashamed that our security situation is now what will be the subject of discussions on the floor of the British parliament. It is as if the only thing they didn’t say is that they should re-colonise Nigeria. As a lawyer I listen more to the unspoken word; our President needs to act and act fast. I know that sometimes changes in the military come with their own challenges, but he needs to do the needful. The value of the lives of Nigerians has been reduced to an abysmal level, the killings have gone on for too long and it needs to stop, we cannot continue like this. It is so sad now that it is no longer if somebody has died but how many people. When it comes to making peace, no price is too much to pay, if it means asking the generals to go in order to restore peace, it will not be too much a price to pay.
- Malachy Ugwummadu (President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights)
If the general purpose of governance in itself is to secure lives and property and the same lives are wantonly taken, and we all know that this happened because some people have failed in their responsibilities, why can’t they be relieved of their jobs?
It has become disturbing that the President is the one going around looking at the situation and doing an on-the-spot assessment; he does not control the policemen on ground. There is an Inspector-General of Police whose responsibility it is under sections 214 and 215 of the constitution to nip the crime in the bud, prevent it if possible and carry out investigations.
The same powers are given to him by virtue of the Section 4 of the Police Act. So, if he has failed woefully, and he has been given enough room to prove himself, but he has consistently failed, there is the need for his removal. I do not think that the IG has any reason to remain in office.
But the issue is not about replacing one incompetent hand with another. The issue is that the President must look for competent hands to replace his security chiefs.
We did not vote for President Buhari because he has oratory skills or because he has full knowledge of the economy, we voted for him to tackle insecurity, given his background.
The call for the removal of the IG and service chiefs is legitimate. It is even overdue.
Then, a painstaking effort must be made to have credible replacements.
- Kenneth Gbagi (A former Minister of State for Education)
While I agree that the President has a duty with the mandate given to him by the Nigerian people, the persons that have been appointed to do the job should do it. The President cannot be in Maiduguri, Sokoto and Warri at the same time, the persons that have been appointed, if they cannot do the job; they should be fired. It is for the Nigerian people to demand their replacement. The President made a public statement in Benue to the effect that the Inspector-General of Police disobeyed his orders, that the man disobeyed him; what I heard subsequently was that the opposition were responsible, I don’t get it. They said it was because the man (IG) was actively trying to ensure that the President succeeded; that was why they were pursuing him.
But the mere fact that the President could tell the whole world that he gave his Inspector General of Police an instruction and the instruction was not carried out, leaves me with a lot of distasteful feelings. It means there is a problem, we need to look at the issue with regards to how these people were appointed, who are those behind them, why they are still there when we are getting into a complete logjam; that is my position.
- Augustine Okechuku (Abuja-based legal practitioner/activist)
The primary duty of every good government is to protect the lives and properties of citizens, so if the service chiefs, starting from the Inspector-General of Police and the others, cannot protect the lives and property of Nigerians, they ought to go. If they can’t protect Nigerians, they should go and allow other people to come in. If they are not capable of doing the work for which they were appointed, the President should sack them. The President asked the IG to go to Benue and he refused, but the President said he didn’t know that the IG did not go there. At that point, he should have sacked the IG. If the nation is still facing the issue of killings, then it means the service chiefs have failed and deserved to go, let new people do the job, maybe they can resolve the issues.
I am of the opinion that if the service chiefs are facing any challenge that is hindering them from doing their duty, they should complain, they should tell Nigerians why they could not do the job. Look at the thousands of lives that have been lost to the killings across the country; the President can’t go to the field, that is why he appointed them to be his eyes and ears, but if they have failed to do the job, they should simply go. Lives are being lost, whole communities wiped out. If the service chiefs are competent, they would know what to do to stop the killings. If there are things we need to know, they should come out and tell Nigerians. Like when the IG failed to visit Benue as directed by the President, he should have told Nigerians the reasons he did not obey the order, but there was no explanation, no apology or reasons for not going there. The rights of people living in those areas where the herdsmen are operating have been violated; the duty of the government is to protect them.