Worried by insecurity in the country, a former Governor of old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Sunday, issued a joint statement, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the country on security and rejig the national strategy to ensure the safety of life and property.
Balarabe and Falana said it was unfortunate that Nigeria is being defined by the problem of insecurity.
They stated, “Nigeria is increasingly being defined by insecurity. Killings have become almost a daily affair in Nigeria. Terror attacks, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery are perpetrated by criminals with reckless abandon.
“Amid the cacophony of ethnic and regional voices, it is imperative that pan – Nigerian voices should be heard louder than ever before to save Nigeria from disintegration. The symptoms of the brewing socio-political crisis are manifest.”
The human rights activists noted that the Nigerian state had failed to tackle the worsening insecurity plaguing every part of the country.
The statement partly read, “In practical terms, no part of Nigeria is immune to violent crimes, although the incidence might be relatively higher in one part than the other at this time. The tragic news of lives wasted issues from the north and south, east and west.
“In response to the flourishing crimes in the face of the worrisome incompetence of the state, ethnic and regional champions have resorted into the dangerous ethnic profiling and demonisation of others. It is the reign of hate speech and marketing of prejudice. Claiming to speak for “our people,” they issue irresponsible ultimatums and orders for which they lack constitutional authority to enforce. Some of those who are supposed to act as statesmen at this critical hour has instead joined the ranks of issuers of prejudicial statements.”
Balarabe and Falana said the best way to respond to the issues was to compel the Nigerian state under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the constitutional duty of keeping Nigeria secure.
They urged law enforcement and other security agencies to fight crimes competently and strictly according to the law, noting that the ethnic and religious identity of the criminal is not of any importance.
According to them, ethnic and religious profiling could distract from the urgent task of stamping out crimes.
“The truth is that every ethnic and religious group has its share of criminals. We must separate crimes from prejudice so that criminals could be fought with a unity of purpose as a nation. It is also an indisputable fact that the victims of criminal activities belong to the various ethnic grounds and religions,” they stressed.
Advising the President on how to tackle the issue, they called for “rethinking” of the country’s internal security strategy by considering some of the patriotic suggestions from conferences and panels set up by the government in the last few years.
They added, “In our view, another conference (by whatever name) may not be coming up anything new given that the Nigerian condition is akin to an emergency. The police and other security agencies should be equipped and organised to perform their duty in the light of the new dimensions of insecurity. The justice system, especially in the states, should be alert to their responsibility of diligent and swift prosecution of arrested suspected criminals. The respective attorneys-general in the affected states must prosecute suspected killers, kidnappers, and armed robbers.
“All the tiers of government have responsibilities for security, working in unison. If the degeneration in the Nigerian condition is not halted, the nation may descend into anarchy. Doubtless, the poor people will bear the brunt of such an avoidable disaster. We, therefore, call on President to rally the country around a national purpose of security everywhere in Nigeria as the constitution demands.
“This leadership duty should be in words and action. The President should address the nation specifically to give assurance of his commitment to the unity of Nigeria amidst adequate security. It is also the duty of genuine lovers of peace, freedom, and development of Nigeria to speak up to save the nation from the descent of anarchy. It is time that pan-Nigerian voices are heard loud and clear.”