Security experts under the aegis of Conference of Concerned Nigeria Security Experts (CCNSE), has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to include Igbo ethnic group in Service Chief appointment, arguing that exclusion breeds agitation, and ethnic tension.
It added that the complex and sensitive nature of defence and security architecture the world over abhors sectional and political considerations in appointments of its leadership.
The group in a statement jointly signed by the National President, Prof. Otedola Adekunle, and National Secretary, Dr.(Mrs) Christy Aklo, expressed concern over the growing spate of insecurity across the federation.
The statement said the perpetuation of insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in the north, may not be unconnected with the concentration of military, security and para-military heads from that section of the country.
The group, therefore, observed that in the course of executing their mandate, there may arise an inadvertent natural inclination and sentimental attachment which, in the final analysis, creates setbacks.
To this end, the security experts made a passionate appeal to President Buhari to reconsider his exclusion of the South East from national affairs.
In their estimation, the best place to begin to redress the imbalance is within the Service Chiefs circle, where no officer of Igbo extraction was considered worthy of appointment by the President.
They added that the plural and multi-dimensional nature of Nigeria opens actions and policies of the government – no matter how well-intentioned – to subjective scrutiny, based on which divide is driving the psychology of perception.
As a result, conscious efforts must be made by leaders to reflect the gamut of the country’s multi-ethnicity, with a view to liberalising the sense of worth, which is a necessary condition for peaceful co-existence.
This was as the experts drew parallels between the suffocating ethnic tension across the country and the perceived exclusion and marginalisation of some sections of the country by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in his governance approach.
“As security experts with experience in contemporary security threats, we know that there is a socio-psychological aspect of security management, which responsive and responsible governments, the world over must take seriously.
“Nigeria is a member of the comity of responsible nation’s, which must be governed based on its plurality and peculiarity, regardless of who is at the helms of affairs at any given point in time.
“We are aware that at the snap of a finger, the federal government was able to approach a Federal High Court in Abuja to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and accordingly, designated it a terrorist organisation.
“It is, however, curious that the same government has not deemed it appropriate to apply the same dose to marauding herdsmen, who go about with AK-47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons killing, maiming raping and causing destruction to property and livelihood.
“As experts, we are of the firm view that, in administering a plural society such as Nigeria, leaders must ensure that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, for purposes of egalitarianism, justice and fairness,” the statement reads.
The experts also enjoined leaders to pay attention to the needs of all sections of the polity, address concerns, and as much as possible, avoid the use of force, where dialogue is inevitable.
“When you treat an otherwise equal region as a ‘plaque’ that must not be touched with the longest of sticks, you leave them with the natural feeling of alienation and subjugation, which ultimately affect their sense of worth and relevance.
“We know as a fact that this development is what is weighing down the Igbo at the moment, and we implore the President to quickly assuage this psychological torture by reviewing the recent appointment of Service Chiefs
, to incorporate an illustrious South East officer, the statement further said.
While recalling the appointment of Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), as Chief of Army Staff
(COAS) during President Goodluck Jonathan
‘s administration, the group concluded that “When you recognise and appreciate a people’s sense of humanity, they are bound to offer you unflinching support, and also pledge their unalloyed loyalty to further a course”.