The passion with which National Assembly members debated the worsening security situation in the country on the floors of the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday clearly aligns with the feelings of majority of Nigerians. It is a clear indication that time is up for the service chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015.
The service chiefs are General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Lieutenant-General T.Y. Buratai, Chief of Army Staff; Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of the Air Staff.
Among those in charge of security matters in Nigeria are Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan, Chief of Defence Intelligence and retired Major-General Babagana Monguno, National Security Adviser.
Even as it was, and is still, the prerogative of the president to appoint those that would work with him, the uproar in the streets of Nigeria which reverberated in the legislative chambers of the national assembly on Wednesday indicates that it has become inevitable for Buhari to listen to the people and do the needful.
According to Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo who represents Adamawa North senatorial district, the security chiefs no doubt have tried their best, but their best is not good enough as people are killed across the country by a combination of terrorists and other criminals.
“Michika and Madagali that I represent here today, from 5th November to 11th January, Boko Haram visited that place nine times. They turned the place into Boko Haram barn. Whenever they run out of food, they stroll into those local governments, cart away their food, cart away their drugs, empty the shops and supermarkets and take it back to their forests almost unchallenged. We never had it this bad”, the lawmaker said.
He lamented that despite the over N4.5trillion naira budgeted for security agencies in the last four years, in addition to other monies they spent outside statutory allocations, the security situation has not improved, adding that, “The service chiefs have done their best, but I think they have run out of ideas”.
“Silence is no longer golden here. Mr. President needs to re-jig the security apparatus and if we need foreign help, we should not be ashamed to ask for help. The security chiefs have done their best. I think it is time to bring in new ideas to come and help this country”, he stated.
On his part, minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, asked that the administration of President Buhari should resign as they have failed totally from protecting the territorial integrity of the country as well as the people that voted them in 2015 and 2019.
According to Abaribe, “because we have to get to the root of this matter I can only say one thing; those who live by propaganda will die by propaganda,”
“Boko Haram has been defeated; Nigeria is now safer; everything that was being done to make sure that the hard work that was supposed to be done in securing Nigeria was not done because certain people did not do their work but preferred to cover the eyes of Nigerians with propaganda and trying to find all these excuses for non-performance have now come to stare us in the face.
“When you want to deal with a matter, you go to the head. So, we will go to government and ask this government to resign because they can no longer do anything”, said Senator Abaribe
Also addressing the floor, senators Musa Sani, Betty Apiafi and Solomon Adeola said it was time for the service chiefs and the inspector General of Police to leave or be sacked by Buhari.
They stated that the service chiefs should be replaced since they do not have new ideas in fighting insecurity in the country.
One of the central campaign promises of President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) while seeking the office of the president was to tackle the security situation as concerned Boko Harm which took control of some parts of the North East during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan due to diversion of security votes.
Nearly five years later under APC federal government, Nigerians are now being confronted with multi-faceted security problem with many people killed on daily basis across the country and with the killers not apprehended, much less of being prosecuted.
We therefore join well meaning Nigerians to ask the president to bring in new people with fresh ideas to save the country from its current sorry security situation.