Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF; former IGP, and ex-DSS Director, Mike Ejiofor, have disagreed with Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, and other North West governors over plans to engage mercenaries to fight bandits/terrorists.
In fact, ACF said the security of the country rested squarely on the central government, noting that the invitation of foreign forces or mercenaries to fight terrorists/bandits must be handled with utmost caution.
It would be recalled that El-Rufai, his Borno State counterpart, Prof, Babagana Zulum, and some others had called persistently on the Federal Government to engage mercenaries to fight the terrorists/bandits.
In fact, El-Rufai said last weekend that he would moblise North West governors to engage the mercenaries, should the federal government fail to do so.
But ACF called on the entire Muslims, Christians and all religions, to embark on prayers towards the sustenance of peace and tranquility in the North and the country in general.
Secretary General of the ACF, Murtala Aliyu, who stated this yesterday in a statement, entitled “A time to further reflect,” said: “The Forum wishes the various religions to utilise the entire holy month of Ramadhan and the Easter period, in addition to, at least all Sundays and Fridays of the months of April and May, as sober period to atone our sins and pray for mercy from our Creator.
“Nigeria, most especially the Northern states, could not be said to be in the state of tranquility that warrants development. The entire country cries of peace. This calls for sober reflection and absolute return to our Creator for repentance.
Meanwhile, a former Director in the Department State Services, DSS, Mike Ejiofor, said there was nothing wrong with the recent revelation by the governor of Kaduna State, el-Rufai, that he and other North West governors were planning on bringing in mercenaries to help tackle the menace of armed bandits/terrorists and wipe them out.
Ejiofor, however, emphasized that such a decision could only be taken in consultation with and approval of the Federal Government.
His words: “For me, the governor of a state is the chief security officer of the state and the primary purpose of governance is to ensure peace and security of the state. So anything the governors can do to ensure security, to me is okay.
“But it should be in concert with the Federal Government because all we are seeking is to bring security to the nation and the states.”
However, a former Inspector General of Police who spoke on condition of anonymity, differed in his response to the plan, saying “he (Gov El Rufai and his fellow North West Governors) doesn’t have the power to do that. The only body with such power is the Federal Government.”
APC professionals back El-Rufai, ask military to take battle to terrorists
However, the Forum of Professionals in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, weekend threw its weight behind calls by Governor el-Rufai challenging the security and defence forces to invade terrorists’ camps rather than wait for civilians to be attacked before responding.
The APC Professionals Forum in a statement by its National Coordinator, Akeem Akintayo, also demanded stronger action against terrorists operating around the Kaduna axis, in the aftermath of multiple attacks on a train service and some communities in the state.
The group said security agencies needed to do more to make Nigerians and Nigeria safer.
The statement read: “We have seen how Kaduna has been under attack in a spate of three days which began with terrorists operating in a community close to the airport but climaxed with the bomb and gun attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train service.
“This is clearly unacceptable and against the backdrop of new information from Governor Nasir El-Rufai, we agree with him that now is the time for the security agencies to up their game.
“The governor has every reason to be angry that his state, more than any in the North West, is becoming more notorious for daring terrorists attacks.
“For El-Rufai to have publicly said the agencies have all the required intelligence based on the security reports he get, then we join him in calling on the army and other agencies to take the battle to the criminal elements in the Kaduna-Abuja axis.
“This is what Nigerians expect especially since the so-called bandits have long being designated as terrorists by the courts”.
‘’The Forum also commiserated with Nigerians who lost loved ones in the incidents but urged the people to rally round the government and desist from giving political or ethnic colourations to the situation at hand.’’
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