By Abubakar Yunusa Abuja
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), on Thursday, commended the Zamfara State Governor, Muhammad Bello Matawalle, over his call for residents to arm themselves against bandits and terrorists in self-defence, rejected Chief of Defence Staff position.
The group called on the Northern governors and leaders to join hands with willing citizens to protect and secure their communities from bloodthirsty killers.
CNG, in a statement by its Director, Strategic Communication, Samaila Musa, said that CNG remains committed to work and advise interest leaders in addressing the perennial security problem in the country.
The group urge northern to reject the position of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on self-defence, said “there have be allegations of compromise within the security architecture of the country including the military that the Minister of Defence was reported to have said that some soldiers and officers are already “disgruntled and unmotivated with divided loyalty” hence their inability to protect our people adequately and save our lives”.
The statement read: “We note that the effort by the Zamfara State Government is aimed at involving and directly engaging communities in protecting, preserving, and defending their lives and livelihoods against marauding terrorist-bandits that are terrorising and pillaging our communities with little or no requited force.
“While CNG is delighted that some of its positions are being recognised and accepted in tackling the security challenge in the North; it is however frowning at certain efforts that try to maintain the status quo without genuine commitment to ending the bloodbath across the North.
“CNG wishes to remind Nigerians that it has been advocating community mobilisation, engagement and participation in addressing the insecurity in the northern Nigeria in particular and the country as a whole.
“On this note, about two years ago, the CNG advised Northern Governors and even forwarded an to the Northern leadership on how to utilise community based influence for defence against any external violent aggression with the support of Government security apparatus
“We therefore commend Governor Matawalle for recognising this approach although belatedly. We have equally keenly observed reactions from individuals and groups across the country with a particular concern with the position of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who faulted the authorisation for self-defence. We reject his rejection of self-defence! Self-preservation and defence are natural, inalienable and fundamental that cannot be denied”.
CNG advocated for the security taskforce modelled after Civilian-JTF called “Arewa Security Taskforce” should be revisited.
“Highly reputable and disciplined retired northern security officers in collaboration with traditional institutions and security operatives can work with localities.
“The localities should engage, train and deploy youths in their local communities to protect their villages, towns and cities. The taskforce will have rule of engagement, vehicles, uniform, weaponry and other needs for its operation”.
The group challenge the CDS to explain to Nigerians how many personnel, armoured tanks and other necessary weaponry did he supply to the war theatre in Zamfara and other conflict ridden areas.
He further said: “That even his principal, Minister of Defence, has once called for self-defence amidst incessant killings by terrorists in Nigeria. That the CDS himself told Nigerians that many personnel of the armed forces were facing court-martial for conniving with the kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and other criminals.
“That Amotekun, a fully armed security outfit, is operating in Southern Nigeria without a word from him. That just a few days ago 69 communities in Bukuyum Local Government of Zamfara State have been ransacked and terrorised. Where was the CDS?
“That the perennial and overwhelming nature of the existential security threat on Nigeria is beyond the soldiers alone to handle; hence all hands must be on deck! That with the escalating attacks, kidnapping and criminal levies on our communities, what strategy does he have to end the violent activities that is yet to apply?”