The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) on Sunday asks President Buhari to give armed Fulani herds an ultimatum to surrender their arms to the Nigerian military or face the consequences.
CDHR in a release signed by its President, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, says it is the only way to compliment the President’s order to the new service chiefs to secure the country within the next five weeks when raining season starts.
The human rights organisation in the release stated thus:
“The Committee for the Defence of Human Right (CDHR) receives with mixed feelings, news about the charge by way of ultimatum given by President Muhammadu Buhari to the new set of Service Chiefs a few days ago. The President is reported to have directed the Service Chiefs to secure the Nation within the next 5 weeks before the raining season sets in. The President is reported to have given the directive on Friday 5th of March, 2021 on the decoration of the newly promoted Service Chiefs at the State House in Abuja;
It is gratifying that Mr. President directed the Generals to identify competent officers irrespective of seniority or paper qualifications who he charged them to work with, to secure Nigeria. In his own words, the President is reported to have directed the Service Chiefs to “deploy the best hands available to speedily win the fight against insecurity in Nigeria”. This suggests that Mr. President is now tilting in favour of competence rather than favouritism.
It is however unsettling, even though the sentiment is understandable, that the President directed the Service Generals to restore and free the country from the current state of insecurity “before the raining season sets in, and this is intended to give the farmers the confidence to go back to their farms”. The CDHR calls for elaboration on this, especially given that in many parts of the country, the armed herdsman/farmer face off continues to rage. How does the marching order fit into the existing deadlock?
One would have expected a general call for the armed bandits posing as herdsmen, to be given an ultimatum, this time from the Presidency or Military Headquarters, to surrender their arms within a given period or face extinction;
To the CDHR, the shoot at sight order reported to have been made by Mr. President, will only have meaning when the soldiers march into the forest. This is especially so as those with AK47 riffles are not at Bus Stops and Shopping Malls, they are in the bushes and forests. Besides, Mr. President needs to be reminded that it is not only farmers who are at risk; travelers on most high ways in Nigeria are at the mercy of riffle wielders, who have made a sport out of pouncing on vehicles in between cities and towns;
CDHR deprecates the kidnapping of school children who are Nigeria’s priceless assets and the future of our dear country. We take note of the assurance given by Mr. President that the abduction of the school girls at Jagende in Niger State, will be the last. We will however be more assured to see modalities being worked out between Federal, State, and Local Governments to enhance development of infrastructural facilities in all schools, a principal part of which ought to be fencing and security facilities, with adequate day and night security personnel being a major component;
The above notwithstanding, the CDHR finds it strange that what General Buratai and Olonishakin belatedly recognized will take twenty (20) years minimum to address, the Commander in Chief is given five (5) weeks to the new team to solve. This only shows to us the importance of the fact that Mr. President must not trivialize and diagnose the challenge erroneously;
Mr. President must show through his words and action that he appreciates that what Nigeria faces today is nothing but the wages of centuries of misrule, that has made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world, the nation with the highest number of children out of school, one of the highest infant and maternal maternity rate in the world, an unpardonable housing and infrastructural deficit and a mind boggling level of unemployment;
To us at the CDHR, dealing with the security issue in its fullness calls for a change of focus and a commitment to fresh priorities. Nigeria must do away with white elephant projects that over the years have fuelled corruption and have been greeted with spectacle of “abandoned projects”;
Whether Mr. President is inclined or capable of bringing about this qualitative and therefore revolutionary change within the period of the rest of his tenure, is up in the air, but what is not in doubt is the urgent need for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity and religious beliefs to dialogue and indeed work together to bring into existence a qualitatively new type of government.
Sorely needed is a government that is committed to working for the masses by continually collaborating with the Nigeria people through their community based organizations, professional associations, organized labour and civil societies, to bring a new Nigeria into reality. Popular participation in governance, for the benefit of the masses is the sure way forward. This is what will accord with the enjoyment in practice of the Civil, Political, Economic and Social Rights of the Nigerian people”.