They also condemned the growing spate of insecurity across the country, saying the ugly trend has the capacity to undermine national sovereignty, if not immediately halted.
They further maintained that responsible governments all over the world, do not treat criminal elements with kid gloves, but rather deploy maximum state assets to crush their potency.
The Igbo elders said the time had come for President Buhari to show greater capacity to deal with challenges confronting national development, topmost of it is insecurity, occasioned by banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, armed robbery and other existential threats.
In a statement, jointly signed by the National President, Prof William Okocha, and National Secretary, Dr Mrs Chioma Obi, the patriots reminded the President of the need to uphold the constitutional provision, which makes security and welfare of citizens the most primary responsibility of government.
“In times of national crisis, patriotic elders, groups and other well-meaning stakeholders must be bold enough to speak truth to power, that nature and posterity may not charge them for accessory,” the statement read.
The elders recalled that during his inauguration as President, Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress
(APC), had predicated their campaign on the tripod of security, the economy as well as the fight against corruption.
They added that, while it could be argued that some gains have been recorded in the areas of anti-graft war, and economic development, the issue of security and safety remained abysmal.
Against this backdrop, the elders have challenged the President, as Commander-in-Chief, to issue a fresh directive backed with logistics, funding to his Service Chiefs, to take the fight to the doorsteps of the non-state actors, smoke them out, and return victory to the State.
In the meantime, the Igbo elders have also drawn attention to the reverberating perception of exclusion and injustice, which can increases tension, with consequences on national security and cohesion.
As a starting point, therefore, the concerned Nigerians have appealed to the President, to assure Ndigbo and other regions that they remained an integral part of the Nigerian State.
One of the veritable platforms of delivering on this assurance, according to them, is for the President to urgently review the appointment of Service Chiefs, to reflect geopolitical balancing especially with Igbo from south-east.
Describing the President as a man “who means well for the country, the group hastened to add that, “meaning well and implementing same were two different things, the latter being what matters more.
“The frightening state of insecurity in the country today must attract the attention of well-meaning Nigerians, and as Igbo elders, we feel the urgency in letting our dear President know that the development has the potential and potentiality to undermine his administration.
“Our fear is heightened by the feeling – rightly or wrongly – that the President may not be visiting the ugly development with the superior force that is required to turn the tide in favour of the State.
“In our humble view, criminal elements must be treated as enemies of the state, not minding whose ox is gored in the process; that is the way to go for any nation determined to assert her authority and sovereignty,” they concluded.