Worsening insecurity: Time to fire service chiefs
For once, since Nigeria’s descent into domestic terrorist attacks, the mist over the actual state of its national security disappeared last week, when the Senate openly affirmed the country’s deteriorating security situation.
Senate’s expose’ and emphatic resolve to employ the option of state police to halt the decline, which were also corroborated by the House of Representatives, deflated the captor’s posture the current Security Chiefs have carried themselves. Without any stretch of memory, we recall being repeatedly informed of Boko Haram’s “technical defeat,” and the insurgents’ inability to wage significant attacks.
We reminisce accounts of reclamation of territory from terrorists stretching over several local governments in the affected states, the decimation of terrorists’ capabilities, rebuilding efforts by the affected states’ governments, among others. For anyone without an insight into the ongoing, an insignia of triumph was gestured.
However, Nigerians remained sceptical over the war on terror. Their scepticism wore a semblance of reality when Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, the head of Nigeria’s National Assembly and staunch supporter of the administration, openly expressed deep concerns over the current state of security in the country and called for a complete overhaul of the nation’s security apparatus.
Ostensibly, having served the nation for over four years, offering strategies and tactics on the war against terror, the Security Chiefs, perhaps, overstretched their expertise and are facing a decline on ideas. While credit must be given to them for their hard work in ensuring the reduction of bombings in hard-hit areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, it is equally telling that under the watch of the present crop of Service Chiefs, Nigeria witnessed an escalation of violent crimes in both frequency and national spread.
Nigeria's national security basically hung on a thread of hope as kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers, cultists, pirates and terrorists went berserk with their campaign of butchery and destruction.
But surprisingly, government has failed to hold the Service Chiefs to account neither has the security experts themselves taken responsibility for any let-downs, despite recording lapses on their areas of jurisdiction. Contrary to public outcry, President Muhammadu Buhari, emerged from a meeting after the Senate and House of Reps strong advice to lay off the Service Chiefs without any sign of acceding.
While President Buhari has not made public his reasons for retaining the service chiefs, it may not be unconnected with the belief that they understand his strategy on the war against terror. However, he must realise that most of the strategies employed to fight insurgents across the country have been defective. Nigeria urgently requires new ideas and approaches to tackle the growing insurgency in the country.
One concern which has also amplified calls for the removal of the current Service Chiefs is the expiration of their tenures, an issue that has been termed an obstruction on the career progression of junior officers whose dream of becoming Service Chiefs abruptly terminate as they end up retiring before their older and more senior colleagues.
To avoid sliding into anarchy, the country must adopt the approach of making service chiefs accountable for security failures within the gamut of their operations. Those who preside over the failure of security must also take responsibility for their inability to maintain law and order.
Only recently, Niger Republic sacked two top military brass, four days after Jihadists attacked an army base killing 89. Across the world, countries that are serious about national security do not pander to flimsy excuses when the lives their citizens are at stake.
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