​Security sector too sensitive to accommodate sectionalism, group warns

The complex and sensitive nature of defence and security architecture the world over, abhors sectional and political considerations in appointments of its leadership.

This candid view was expressed by concerned Nigerians operating under the auspices of Conference of Concerned Nigeria Security Experts, in response to the deteriorating security situation in the country, occasioned by insurgency in the North East, armed banditry in the North West and parts of North Central, herders’ menace in the South West, as well as militancy in the South South.

According to the experts, the plural and multi-dimensional nature of Nigeria opens actions and policies of government – no matter how well-intentioned – to subjective scrutiny, based on which divide is driving the psychology of perception.

As a result, conscious efforts must be made by leaders to reflect the gamut of the country’s multi-ethnicity, with a view to liberalising the sense of worth, which is a necessary condition for peaceful co-existence.

This was as the experts drew parallels between the suffocating ethnic tension across the country and the perceived exclusion and marginalisation of some sections of the country by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in his governance approach.

In a statement jointly signed by their National President, Prof. Otedola Adekunle,and National Secretary, Dr.(Mrs) Christy Aklo, the security experts argued that the perpetuation of insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in the North, may not be unconnected to the concentration of military, security and para-military heads from that section of the country.

To them, in the course of executing their mandate, there arises an inadvertent natural inclination and sentimental attachment which, in the final analysis, creates setbacks.

Arising from the foregoing, therefore, the security experts have made a passionate appeal to President Buhari to reconsider his exclusion of the South East from national affairs.

In their estimation, the best place to begin to redress the balance, is within the Service Chiefs circle, where no officer of Igbo extraction was considered worthy of appointment by the President.

“As security experts with experience in contemporary security threats, we know that there is a socio-psycholigical aspect of security management, which responsive and responsible government’s the world over must take seriously”, the group said in the statement.

The experts enjoined leaders to pay attention to the needs of all sections of the polity, address concerns, and as much as possible, avoid the use of force, where dialogue is inevitable.

The statement reads in full: “Nigeria is a member of the comity of responsible nation’s, which must be governed based on its plurality and peculiarity, regardless of who is at the helms of affairs at any given point in time.

“We are aware that at the snap of a finger, the federal government was able to approach a Federal High Court in Abuja to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and accordingly, designated it a terrorist organisation.

“It is, however, curious that the same government has not deemed it appropriate to apply the same dose to marauding hersmen, who go about with AK-47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons killing, maiming raping and causing destruction to property and livelihood.

“As experts, we are of the firm view that, in administering a plural society such as Nigeria, leaders must ensure that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, for purposes of egalitarianism, justice and fairness.

“When you treat an otherwise equal region as a ‘plaque’ that must not be touched with the longest of sticks, you leave them with the natural feeling of alienation and subjugation, which ultimately affect their sense of worth and relevance.

“We know as a fact that this development is what is weighing down the Igbo at the moment, and we implore the President to quickly assuage this psychological torture by reviewing the recent appointment of Service Chiefs, to incorporate an illustrious South East officer.

“We recall that in the Presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a worthy son of Igbo in the person of Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), was appointed the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

“Apart from the confidence that that appointment elicited among Ndigbo, we also witnessed the commendable routing of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) from the hideouts in Sambisa forest and other strongholds.

“When you recognise and appreciate a people’s sense of humanity, they are bound to offer you unflinching support,and also pledge their unalloyed loyalty to further a course.

Widow petitions Chief of Naval Staff over alleged forceful ejection from barrack

An aggrieved widow, Mrs Mary Aweh Agbor has cried out over alleged unlawful and forceful ejection of her family from the Naval Barrack by a retinue of armed military personnel.

Mrs Mary, a wife of late Master Warrant Officer (MWO) in the Nigerian Navy, Joseph Agbor is challenging the brutal use of armed personnel to chase her along with her three children out of Navy Barrack in Lagos when death benefits of her late husband have not been paid.

In a petition written by her family lawyer Mr Oluchukwu Nnamuah, the aggrieved widow alleged that her children, Esther Agbor, Blessing Peter and Favour who are dependants of the late Agbor were allegedly humiliated harassed, traumatized, thrown and thoroughly disgraced out of the barracks.

The widow alleged that the action of the armed military personnel against her children was inhuman and gross violation of their fundamental right and the prevailing law in the military.

Among other things, the widow claimed that all plea by her family and sympathizers to the armed men to allow them salvage their belongings fell on deaf ears as their properties were thrown out without mercy.

Insisting that her defenseless children did not deserve the inhuman treatment meted out to them while being kicked out of the barrack,

The widow claimed that her late husband served the Nigerian Navy and the country diligently before he died in active service.

In the similar petitions to Secretary to Government of the Federation SGF, Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker the widow chronicled how her apartment was cordoned off by stern-looking armed personnel before her family was thrown out of the barrack.

The widow therefore demanded from the Navy payment of N500M damages and compensation, written apology as well as provision of accommodation pending the resolution of her late husband entitlements.

However, in response to the petition, the Chief of Naval Staff described the claims of the widow as unfounded and an outright falsehood.

Nigerian Navy Reacts

In a reply to the widow’s lawyer, the Nigerian Navy claimed that full death benefits of her late husband have been paid into a Guarantee Trust Bank GTB account provided for the purpose of entitlements payment.

The letter from the Chief of the Naval Staff Office and signed by Commodore Jas Malafa, read in part “pertinently, investigations revealed that your client and the family of late MWO Agbor Joseph S5303 were advised to resolve their disputes amicably after which the parties presented an agreed joint account to the Nigerian Navy.

“Consequently, the Military Pensions Board paid the death benefits into the agreed joint account presented by your client and the other contending dependants of the deceased rating.

“Accordingly, I am directed to inform your law firm, without prejudice, that the practice in the Nigerian Navy is that the next of kin or dependants of a deceased personnel is expected to vacate the official accommodation six months after or as soon as the death benefits are paid.

“In line, you are advised to convey the above position to your client and advise her to seek for alternative accommodation without further delay”