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North-Central Elders demand Sack of Service Chiefs

NEWSMAN, Abuja –  A Coalition of North Central Elders (CNCE) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the country’s service chiefs for alleged failure of intelligence gathering that has led to insecurity.

The coalition’s national chairman, Usman Bida, and its secretary, Moses Okudu in a statement said the call has become necessary considering the recent security alert issued by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

West Africa Network of Peacebuilding (WANEP) reports that from January to December 2019, armed bandits were responsible for more than 1,000 civilian deaths in the Northwest.

President Buhari at a virtual meeting with heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies and members of the Security Committee of Nigeria Governors’ Forum recently questioned the security and intelligence chiefs over the ease with which terrorists and bandits’ accessed weapons, Daily Trust reported.

In a statement issued by Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, the president queried the security and intelligence chiefs “How is it that they are not short of small arms?”

The president, however, dispersed the assumptions that the terrorists in the Northeast had far more weapons and money than the government, stressing that what is left of them are “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”

Buhari, who informed the governors of the imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China and the United States, again asked for patience on the part of the public because the new weapons and aircraft must be manned by trained fighters and pilots who must first receive appropriate training.

According to Buhari, “We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations. I am glad that there is better synergy and cooperation, which are very important. I have directed the service chiefs to meet among themselves in-between the National Security Council meetings”.

“The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence.”

Buhari, who expressed satisfaction with the level of support from neighbouring countries in the war against terrorism, restated that intelligence-gathering must improve to be able to track small arms in the Northwest, Northcentral and Northeast States

“They are cooperating with us. On Boko Haram, we are making progress with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon,” he said.

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