The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, warned that failure by President Muhammadu Buhari to deal decisively with insurgents setting up camps across the country may put the country at the precipice.
The Yoruba group expressed worry over the growing reports of how terrorists are gaining ground in Nigeria.
Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said President Buhari is much aware of the security challenges facing the country, as well as the way out.
The statement reads in part: “President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said that those wreaking havoc in Nigeria were from outside the country. He hinted again at this in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last Tuesday, during his meeting with President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan, when he attributed the proliferation of arms in this part of the world to the instability in Libya.
“From all indications, President Buhari is very much aware of the security challenges facing the country, as well as the way out. For, as far back as 2011, during his campaign for presidency under the banner of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, he promised that the policing system in the country would be decentralised such that the state, local governments and the communities would have their own police.
“Of course he did not win in 2011. But he has been president since 2015 and the said promise has not been fulfilled, even as his current party, the APC, has not openly expressed aversion to the idea of ensuring security at all levels of government and in every part of the country.
“Indeed, going by several statements that had come from the President, he is very much aware of the challenges. What is lacking is the will and determination to confront the challenges headlong. We would not be uncharitable to raise the issue of capability as the government is in possession – or should be – of all that is needed to tackle such challenges.
“Where it does not readily have it, it is within its power to seek the needed capacity and capability from both within and without.
“During the electioneering campaigns, the president went around various parts of the country. But having consolidated after the electoral victory, the president has not found it necessary to tour the country. Indeed, there are some areas that governors are not so enthusiastic to visit within their states because of insecurity occasioned by insurgents in those areas. The situation was so bad.
“So, bad that the two chambers of the National Assembly have called on the President to declare bandits who are committing the horrendous atrocities as terrorists so that the security agencies could deal with them more decisively. Why the presidency has been reluctant to do this is confounding.
“The failure of government to act decisively on security challenges confronting Nigerians has imperilled the social and economic activities in various parts of the country. This is not only deepening the poverty and despondence in the land, it is heightening the loss of trust and confidence in government by the people.
Unfortunately, there is no more time.
“Failure to snuff life out of insurgency now is putting the fate of the country on the tenterhook. It is still possible to reverse the trend.”
On ways to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country, Afenifere urged the President to take drastic steps.
“Some of the ways to do this include the following: Do away with primordial cleavages, equipping security agencies, particularly the army and the police, and boost their morale with good pay and good welfare packages.
“Let perpetrators of banditry face the full wrath of the law without let or hindrance. Impunity must stop now.
“Allowing state governors to truly become the chief security officers of their respective states by letting them have their policing system with all the powers they need to operate with.
“Convey meetings of all, or virtually, all ethnic nationalities across the country. The meetings should include various interest groups and stakeholders.
” These must be done urgently as the country is bleeding too seriously from various arteries.”