Yoruba elders lament insecurity, demand restructuring of security architecture

Some elders in the South-west under the aegis of Coalition of Oduduwa Elders (COE), have expressed their frustration over what they referred to as the worsening insecurity 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.

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.

In a statement made available to Blueprint Monday, signed by their National Coordinator, Dr. Tunde Aremu, the elders alleged that suspected terrorist elements – in the mould of foreign herders –  were infiltrating the South West without molestation.

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.

“We mince no words in saying that restructuring must begin with the sack of the country’s Services  Chiefs, and replavement with young and more competent officers.”

They added: “We spoke against the violent attacks of some Fulanis  in the South West yesterday,  because it is irresponsible to criminalise 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.

“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.

“Foreigners enter into our land and kill our citizens at will. In the South West, people can neither travel freely, or even access their farms owing to the presence of foreign terrorists.

“It is, however, curious that even after admitting so-called foreign terrorists are responsible for the attacks in Nigeria,  the Service Chiefs are still unable to arrest this ugly situation.”

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