Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has declared that the Nigerian military is overwhelmed by the wave of insurgency and other criminal banditry ravaging most of the states, especially in the north.
Speaking during a solidarity and condolence visit to Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, over Saturday’s killing of rice farmers in the state, Governor Fayemi expressed fears that Nigeria may be consumed if nothing is done urgently to check the activities of terrorists and bandits in the country.
Dr. Fayemi, who spoke in his capacity as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, during the visit, described the killings as a massacre and far beyond any imagination. “It was a massacre and it was one that none of us could come to terms with easily.
He also expressed his condolences to the families that lost their loved ones and his counterpart, Governor Zulum.
He said his visit and other governors were not to gratify “ourselves but an expression of our frustration.”
Speaking further, Dr. Fayemi recalled that the forum has had several meetings with the President and the service chiefs, without any tangible result.
He also acknowledged that the Nigerian Army was overwhelmed in its decade long fight against the insurgency in parts of the country.
The NGF chairman noted that his observations are not a means of criticizing the military but stated that it has become obvious that the army can no longer single handle the menace of insurgency effectively.
He said, “We cannot bring back the people we have lost in the last couple of days but if we do not take the necessary steps, the entire nation will be consumed by this injury.
“This is not a visit to gratify ourselves that we have come to you. No, it is an expression of our own frustration that we have not been able; because we have held a series of meetings, some with Mr. President and security chiefs. We highlighted all the issues you have spoken about, but we are still where we are.
“We need to stand (with) you, assist in whatever way you want us to, ensuring that our government takes the right position in order to tackle this problem. I want to assure you that we shall not relent as your brothers in conveying this to the appropriate authorities.
“I personally, as a security scholar, can see that our military is overwhelmed. Our military is no longer in a position to single-handedly tackle this menace effectively.
“It is not a criticism of our military, there can even be a coalition that will include our neighboring countries who are probably more experienced in fighting an asymmetrical war. It will not be a loss of our pride as a country if that were to happen. This is certainly something that we, as your colleagues and brothers, will put before Mr. President.
“I know there is an element of fatigue that will creep into this. Every time this happens, we never let you rest with telephone calls. We came here as a delegation and you have spoken to us about what could help us as a nation tackle these security challenges that are depleting our country.
“There is nothing new that you haven’t told us; that you didn’t tell the delegation from Mr. President yesterday. We have all heard directly from you; we have read your six-point agenda. All I can say to you is that we fully and wholeheartedly endorse every single point on that agenda.”
On his part, Governor Zulum said, “We need to address the underlying causes of the insurgency while appreciating the effort of the Federal Government in implementing some policies that are geared towards addressing poverty in the entire nation, Borno State deserves more.
“We have said all, there is nothing new that I can say. But when shall we end this insurgency, that’s something very important.”
The meeting had in attendance other members of the delegation, such as the Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, and Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello.