THE Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar-led Jama’atu Nasril Islam has urged the Federal Government under the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to henceforth stop paying lip service to security matters.
This was as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum stated that the military would not be able to cope with the current security challenges in the country.
In an apparent reference to the killings of 43 rice farmers by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State, the JNI also said that “nowhere is safe in the country now”.
The religious body noted that what Nigerians expected from the government was actions against insecurity and not mere condemnation of attacks.
The JNI spoke through its Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, in a statement issued in Kaduna on Wednesday.
The statement was titled, ‘Press release: Requiem for Zabarmari’.
“We nevertheless, once again call on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibilities and do well beyond the traditional condemnation, as lip service (s) on security matters should stop. Nigerians are desperately yearning for concrete actions,” the JNI said.
Specifically, the religious body said Saturday’s killings at Zabarmari village, Jere Local Government Area of over 40 rice farmers by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents without intervention of security forces was condemnable.
It noted that with wanton killings occasioned by acts of banditry, kidnapping for ransom and other related crimes, Nigerians had been so terrified as nowhere was safe for them.
The group also knocked the Federal Government’s nonchalant attitude to sympathise with victims of the attack, noting that a prompt visit to the area would assuage the feelings of the affected communities.
The JNI statement read in part, “Forty-three human beings as reported by the media were slaughtered without any intervention by the security forces in the area. The senseless act stands condemned in the strongest of terms.
“Wanton killings, acts of banditry, kidnapping for ransom, high rate of unemployment among the youths, rape and all forms of terrorism have now become the new trend in our communities.
“Nigerians have become so much terrified, as nowhere is safe; the home, the farms and the roads. Bandits now rule in many communities; they set rules that must be obeyed.”
N’East devt crucial, says UN
Meanwhile, the United Nations has said stabilising and developing the troubled North-East Nigeria is not crucial to Nigeria alone but the entire Sahelian sub-region.
The UN in a statement on Wednesday issued after the visit of its Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, to Zabarmari, Borno State, to condole with the families of the farmers killed by Boko Haram on Kashobe rice field, lamented that many farmers were missing and a lot of women abducted by the insurgents.
Kallon, in a statement on Wednesday, said, “There is no word to describe how I feel after my visit to Zabarmari communities yesterday (Tuesday).
“More bodies are being recovered. Farmers have also reported some of the missing women may have been abducted. I call for these innocent women and girls to be immediately released and for their safe return to their communities.”
Military can’t cope with security challenges – Governors
Similarly, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that the nation’s security challenges were beyond the Nigerian military, insisting that they (military) were overwhelmed and could not single-handedly handle security challenges.
Fayemi noted that the multitude of security situation affecting many parts of the country, including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery, had overdrawn the military
Speaking in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Tuesday, he said, “I personally as security scholar, the reality I can see is that our military is overwhelmed; our military is no longer in a position to singlehandedly tackle this menace effectively.
“It is not a criticism of our military. If one were to suggest a coalition that will even include our neighbouring countries who are probably more experienced in fighting asymmetrical war, it will not be a loss of our pride as a country.”
Diri condemns bloodletting
Also, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has described as unconscionable the killing of the rice farmers.
Diri, in a condolence message to Governor Babagana Zulum, said the mindless massacre of defenceless citizens of the state was highly condemnable.
He commiserated with the people of Borno over the unfortunate loss of lives.
The governor called on the military and other security agencies to redouble their effort in order to end the scourge of insecurity that was ravaging that part of the country.
‘Fire serving chiefs now’
In a related development, former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to immediately fire the serving chiefs.
Okorocha’s said such measure was necessary as a result of the security chiefs inability to save the lives of about 100 Borno farmers who were gruesome murdered by the Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
He made this call in Lafia when he paid a condolence visit to Governor Abdullahi Sule and the family of the late Nasarawa State Chairman, Phillip Shekwo, on Wednesday.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari should fire the serving chiefs who he hired to work for the country. They have failed and are not performing their national assignments.”
Nigeria has lost war against terrorism, says PANDEF
Also condemning the spate of insecurity in the country, the Pan Niger Delta Forum declared that Nigeria had lost the fight against terrorism.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, the National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Mr. Ken Robinson, said with Nigeria ranking third in global terrorism index, it was obvious that the country had lost the war against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
Robinson urged Nigerian to disregard the statement by the Nigerian Government that Boko Haram had been decimated, adding that the sect was still terrorising the country.
He said, “A few days ago, the Global Terrorism Index, classified Nigeria as the third most terrorised nation in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq; before Syria, Somalia, Yemen and even Pakistan. This is bizarre and unacceptable.
“So, it is sad; it is not that we are losing the war against Boko Haram, we have lost the war against terrorism.”
Ekhomu asks govt to hire 10,000 vigilantes
Additionally, a security expert, Dr Ona Ekhomu, has advised the Borno State Government to hire 10,000 youths into a robust vigilance force to defend the state alongside the military, police, the paramilitary and the Civilian Joint Task Force.
Ekhomu, who is the President of the Association Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, said hiring the 10,000 youths would provide protection for the rural population against incessant terror attacks.
“The Borno Vigilance Force, which should employ able-bodied youths who must receive musketry, martial arts and security tactics training, will be willing to take the fight to the terrorists to defend their home state against the implacable jihadists,” he added.
Reacting to the slaughter of almost 70 rice farmers by Boko Haram fighters last Saturday, Ekhomu said rural dwellers were targeted because they were soft targets.
Tinubu commiserates with Zulum
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has commiserated with Governor Babagana Zulum and the people of Borno State over the killing of farmers.
A statement by Tinubu media office on Wednesday reads partly, “It is with utmost sorrow and distress that I commiserate with you on the dastardly and inhuman killing of dozens of farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, on November 28, 2020.
“I recall your strident sacrifices to ensure that millions of displaced Borno residents are resettled in their ancestral homes and return to their various occupations. These efforts have not only helped in increasing agricultural output but have also given joy to the displaced.
“Your Excellency, this unfortunate incident despite your spirited efforts in complementing the efforts of the federal security forces is a sad reminder that the war against these desperate and blood-thirsty insurgents will require more efforts to win.”
Buhari sends relief materials to Zabarmari
In the meantime, Buhari has sent truckloads of relief materials to the families and people of Zabarmari, whose loved ones were slain on a rice field by Boko Haram.
Delivering the President’s humanitarian gesture on Wednesday was the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq.
Umar-Farouq said, “Beside the 43 persons that were confirmed dead and subsequently buried, it is learnt that some persons in the community were also abducted by the insurgents and are currently being sought after by combined team of the military and other security agencies.
“The President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, is saddened by the attack and has directed me to come here to deliver relief supports from the Federal Government to families of the victims and other affected persons.”