By Doosuur Iwambe
*Decries infiltration of communities by terrorists
Elders from the South West region under the aegis of Coalition of Oduduwa Elders (COE), have expressed their frustration over the worsening insecurity situation in the country, saying Nigeria may soon cease to exist unless proactive steps are taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to salvage the situation.
Their position came following the tension being generated across the country occasioned by violent attacks and burning of houses and cars in Oyo State.
In a statement signed by their National Coordinator, Dr. Tunde Aremu, the elders reechoed their call on the president to immediately sack the service chiefs, who they alleged, have lost grip of the nation’s contemporary security affairs and rather, engage young and energetic officers with vast knowledge of modern-day security issues to handle the development.
The elders, who spoke against the backdrop of reported attacks on some Fulanis in the South West, said the security situation in the region and the country at large, call for urgent and deliberate action on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari.
They warned that if action was not taken to stem the tide, Nigeria was likely going to witness another civil war, which has the potential of threatening her existence adding that suspected terrorist elements – in the mould of foreign herders – were infiltrating the South West without molestation.
They accused the Armed Forces of failing in its primary duty of defending the nation’s territorial integrity against external aggression.
Specifically, the coalition maintained that the Yorubas have the inalienable right to raise concerns about the failure of government to protect them and their communities against armed men.
The Oduduwa elders have, however, sued for peaceful co-existence between the Yorubas as well as residents, saying violence remained antithetical to meaningful development.
As a way out of the security situation in the country, the coalition has joined well-meaning Nigerians and groups to call for the immediate replacement of Service Chiefs with a new set of officers with fresh perspective on proactive defence and security management.
The statement read in part: “As stakeholders in Yoruba land and the Nigerian project as a whole, we have watched with keen interest the unfolding events in the country, especially as they relate ro the South West region, and we wish to advise Mr president to urgently take steps that will restore public confidence in the nation.
“We say this with all sense of responsibility, as our investigations show that failure to take action on the part of Mr. President may well be an invitation to another civil war, the end of which we cannot predict.
“Our country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, a time bomb if you like, and if nothing is done urgently, we may face another civil unrest, as the citizens are tired of the actions and inactions of the president in the area of security of lives and property.
This has to change now before it is too late.
“We dare say that the challenges faced by Nigerians currently, are a fallout of government’s failure to secure communities, and there is an urgent need for immediate and total restructuring of the entire security architecture of the country.
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“We mince no words in saying that restructuring must begin with the sack of the country’s Services Chiefs, and replacement with young and more competent officers”.
On the violence that rocked Oyo State a few days ago, the group said thus: “We spoke against the violent attacks of some Fulani’s in the South West because it is irresponsible to criminalize people on the basis of their tribe or religion.
“However, the people of South West and every religion breaking under the weight of insecurity in Nigeria, have genuine rights to complain”.
They said this is “because of the total collapse of security due to the docility of the current Service Chiefs” who, “instead of focusing on protecting the country’s territorial integrity, are busy pursuing tenure elongation”.