ast week, it was made known that President Muhammadu Buhari was no longer satisfied with the performance of his Service Chiefs, whom he appointed in 2015. The source of anger of the president is the persistent security challenges that have taken over the whole of the North-West, where banditry, mass murder, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other associated sundry crimes have taken firm root in the past two or three years.
The position of the president came a day after the National Security Adviser (NSA) Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), had gone on a tour of some of the affected states, including Sokoto and the president’s home state of Katsina. He went with some service chiefs on the tour. A day later, Buhari summoned the security chiefs, including Monguno to a meeting at the Aso Villa and poured out his hearts.
According to Monguno, who briefed journalists after the meeting, Buhari warned that he would no longer tolerate excuses for their failure, while also directing a synergy between the security agencies in tackling the challenges in those regions.
Also, the president also asked the security chiefs to liaise with the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, to ensure that the sale and use of unregistered SIM card in the country was stopped.
Monguno said: “Mr. President has expressed great concerns over the declining security situation in the country. He is extremely unhappy about what is happening and he feels that, even though the security agencies are doing their best, their best is not good enough for him and wants an immediate reversal of the current trend and immediate reversal of our misfortunes in all their dimensions.”
The president has good reasons to be angry. We are glad that finally, he has been provoked into issuing the threat and marching orders to his security chiefs. We believe that part of the reasons the president is angry has to do with developments in his home state in the past three weeks. Not only have many been killed, maimed, kidnapped or rendered homeless by bandits, thousands in Katsina had protested for days in the past two weeks, denouncing Buhari and the Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, over uncontrolled violence against the people. The protests have also been held in other states in the region, where the protesters, who formed the bulwark of Buhari’s support base, have been protesting and calling him unprintable names. They are disappointed that the man they laboured hard to bring to power has not protected them from marauders and murderers. Their protests led to the arrest of some leaders of the protesters.
But we know that such an action is not a solution to the crisis at hand. In the past few weeks also, some northern governors have called on the president to advise security agents to limit the entry into Nigeria of bandits and herders from across the borders in the area.
We are glad that the president has finally seen the light and has issued marching orders to his security chiefs to stop the rot in the areas and the general insecurity pervading the country.
For long, many Nigerians have called on the president to sack the service chiefs, who have served him since 2015 to no avail. We believe that it is not rocket science to know that the security chiefs are battle weary and may not have new ideas on tackling the menace. From the Boko Haram battle in the North-East, banditry in the North-West to herdsmen menace in the North-Central down to the South where there are cases of kidnapping and other vices, there is no doubt that the president needs to inject new blood in the command structure of the security agencies, so as to bring in fresh ideas.
We have no doubt that the current crop of security chiefs have run short of ideas in doing the same thing to the same problems in the past five years.
In February this year, the National Assembly, controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) unanimously called on the President to sack his Service Chiefs over the growing insecurity across the country.
At different sittings, the Senate and the House of Representatives told the president that the Service Chiefs have lost direction and cannot arrest the raging security menace any longer.
The lawmakers had argued that the Service Chiefs had overstayed in office and lacked professional ideas on how to combat the increasing spate of terrorism, banditry and other forms of security challenges in the country.
The House also resolved that the leadership of the National Assembly should meet with President Buhari over the issue of insecurity and ask him to sack the service chiefs.
Since then, no word was heard from the presidency. But now, the president himself has spoken. We, therefore, expect that something serious must be done by President Buhari and the security chiefs in order to combat the menace of insecurity in the country. Whereby they fail to combat it, we expect Mr. President to pull the trigger and salvage the country before it sinks further into the abyss of insecurity.