The Southern Youth Forum (SYF), the umbrella body of youth groups from the 17 southern states, has urged the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Service (DSS), and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), to invite and investigate the former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, over his recent remarks that literally attempts to instigate mutiny against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Addressing a press conference in Benin, the Edo State capital, the leadership of the forum, Barrister John Atani (south-south); Engr Fidelis Nze (south-east), and Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi (south-west), disclosed that the Borno Central lawmaker’s recent remarks and suggestion on national security that the current set of service chiefs are sitting on the promotion and elevation of officers may potentially incite serving military officers to mutiny against the Buhari administration.
According to the youth forum, the senator has dived into treasonable territory with his latest utterances on national security, adding that the former governor acted in an unconstitutional and self-serving manner by trying to dictate to the President the tenure of service chiefs whose briefs start and stop at the table of the President and Commander-in-Chief.
Speaking on a TV programme recently, Shettima, who was governor for the most part of the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, was quoted to have said, among other things, that, “The current Chief of Defence Staff is course 25. He is in his 41st year of service. Is he so indispensable? The current Chief of Army Staff is course 26. The current Major Generals did not meet them in the NDA. Are they so indispensable?
“Nobody is indispensable. By June next year, Course 35 is going without reaching the pinnacle of their careers. So justice, equity, fairness and even commonsense demands that these service chiefs should go.”
But describing Shettima’s statement as insidious and provocative to the ongoing war against terrorism in the country, the forum said the lawmaker was just his typical self who enjoys playing to the gallery to score political points even at the expense of human lives.
“We found it appalling that this same Shettima who was shedding tears like a baby when Boko Haram overran his state pre-2015 before this same President Buhari and the current service chiefs he is now vilifying came to his rescue by reclaiming the local governments taken by the insurgents and restoring peace in the state.
“He has also forgotten too soon or refused to remember the current set of service chiefs ensured that his second term as governor was relatively secured and elections were peacefully conducted to bring in his successor and he also won his election to go the Senate under this current military leadership.
“We believe that Shettima was only playing to the gallery to shove up his personality in the North ahead of the 2023 race, otherwise, how and why would he be dictating to President Buhari who he should appoint or work with?
“Shettima should know that Nigerians are not dumb and they can still recall his input in the current state of insecurity that Borno and the entire North-East axis is facing today. Maybe, those with the suggestion and the suspicion that some politicians within the Borno axis are not interested in seeing the end of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism in Nigeria, are right after all.
The youth leaders said that, Shettima should rather be proactive by teaming up with his colleagues to generate feasible solutions birthed through legislative instrument to face the challenge of insecurity, banditry and insurgency in the country.
“Our profound advice to the lawmaker is that issues of security are quite sensitive and in dealing with it, he should be circumspect so as not to jeopardize the success already achieved bearing in mind that fighting insurgents is not a conventional warfare.
“The basic question to ask is why is Shettima raising his voice at a point like this, soliciting for media appearances when there is a sitting governor in the state? Does this not indicate clear politicking? Can’t, he seeks an audience with the President or is he trying to be more democratic and more representative than the President?
“President Muhammadu Buhari is the right arbiter, and he knows where it pinches. He knows where the problems are. He should not be pushed, coarse or prompted in this regard. As a retired General, he understands what security formation and architecture is all about. That needed synergy within the intelligence community and military formations can’t be bought in the open market.
“Regardless of the spinning of Shettima and his ilk, the military, especially the Nigerian Army under the leadership of General Tukur Buratai in the last five years, have conducted and subjected itself to the best practice standards, utmost professionalism and dedication to the protection of the sovereignty of our great nation from all forms of aggression, domestic or foreign.
“In light of this, we call on the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), to immediately invite and investigate Senator Shettima before his recklessness does more damage to the Country. He should be arraigned if indicted upon investigation to serve as a deterrent to others flaunting zero credentials on security issues to score needless political points and interest,” the forum said.