This is even as the elders called on President Muhammadu Buhari
to immediately declare a state of emergency on security, in a bid to end the cycle of violence that is fast turning the country into a failing entity.
The elders in a statement on Sunday said that silence was a luxury that the country could not afford at the moment, hence the need for all well-meaning Nigerians to weigh-in on the deteriorating security situation.
The statement which was jointly signed by Engr Zana Goni (Northeast elders for peace and development); Prof Chika Madumere (Coalition of South East Professionals Network), as well as Prof Ganiyu Jakande, the concerned elders said the level of tension in the country today, could only be likened to the 1967 – 1970 scenario.
They also said that the rising spate of insecurity across the country has the potential of overwhelming the Nigerian state unless urgent steps were taken to stem the tide.
The eminent Nigerians equally declared support for the Ohaneze Ndigbo’s position for a review of appointments of service chiefs to reflect the country’s federal character principles.
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the call by bringing Igbos into the security arrangement for equity and fairness.
They argued that the continued exclusion of the Igbo nation, being the third largest ethnic group in the country, was against the spirit of not only the founders of the country but also the writers of Nigeria’s constitution who they noted, had made provision for adherence to the federal character principles in appointments.
Noting that the inclusion of Igbos in federal appointments was not negotiable considering that the constitution was explicit on the need for it, the elders said the skewed appointments especially in the security sector in favour of some ethnic groups without the Igbos is legally, morally and spiritually wrong.
The elders said the need for President Buhari to address the nation has become more urgent and compelling, considering the level of fear and apprehension in the public as a result of the spike in crime and criminality in communities.
While suspecting conspiracy on the part of authorities, the patriots wondered why respected Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi
, who is not a state official, would have unfettered access to armed bandits operating in very deep forests.
They have, therefore, charged the military and security agencies in the country on the need to show more commitment to the onerous task of addressing the myriad of security challenges confronting society, especially insurgency, armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnap-for-ransom, and drug addiction.
The respected citizens said that when people fail to plant trees to stop the wind, they inadvertently prepare the ground for the whirlwind, which has more devastating effects than the former.
“We rise as elders to condemn in its entirety the worsening state of insecurity in our dear country, which has not only led to needless loss of lives and property but also threatened her fragile and delicate balance,” the elders concluded in the statement.