Worsening insecurity: “Take responsibility for securing the country”, Northern leaders urge Buhari

…Says President, governors should play their respective roles to end banditry

President Buhari’s recent directive to the northern governors to end banditry has not resonated with some leaders in the region, on the grounds that such mandate amounted to the president shifting his constitutional responsibilities to the governors who have no control over security agencies. 

Recall that recently, Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, said that President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the seven North-West governors,  including himself, to end banditry in the zone.

Bagudu, who was addressing the Fulani stakeholders’ peace, security and unity meeting, held in Birnin-Kebbi, noted that the president’s directive was to ensure the urgent restoration of normalcy in the region.

However, the governors submitted that President Buhari should take responsibility for the security of the nation as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, who has the resources required to achieve the objective.

Others nonetheless believed that crime and criminality are local, therefore governors are in a better position to tackle the menace in their region.

In his reaction, former defence minister, Brig-Gen. Idris Dambazau (rtd), said President Buhari and not the governors have the constitutional powers to end banditry. He said the governors do not have the constitutional powers to direct security agencies except if the President intends to relinquish powers to the governors to take over by giving instructions directly to the authorities of the security agencies.

“That the President gave a directive to the governors to end banditry is very ambiguous, because constitutionally, it is the President who has such mandate and also the resources required for achieving such objective. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces, whose duty it is to crush banditry and other security challenges”.

“The governors do not have the constitutional powers to direct security agencies, except if the President intends to relinquish to the governors his authority over the security agencies. But another aspect of the issue is that the President may mean that the governors should mobilise the masses in their various states to confront the bandits and kidnappers”, Dambazau said.

Also reacting, President-General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, worldwide, Chief Iorbee Ihagh argued that as Commander-in-Chief, President Buhari cannot shift his constitutional responsibilities to state governors. Chief Ihagh said the President should take responsibility and not shift his constitutional duties to the governors to ensure security in the country as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, Rev John Joseph Hayab, said “Are our governors waiting for Buhari’s directive before ending banditry? If they are leaders who care about the peace and welfare of their people they would have since been doing something reasonable to end the killings, and loss of property in their States.

In his submission, the immediate-past Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum ( ACF), Anthony N Z Sani, said he believed the presidential directive to the governors should spur the governors to do more of the duty assigned to them constitutionally as the chief security officers of their states. 

According to him, “I believe the challenges in confronting the insecurity goes beyond the directive as we are short of enough personnel who are properly trained, equipped and adequately motivated to secure the nation”.

However, the Coalition of Northern Groups ( CNG), AbdulAzeez Suleiman, declared that, “it is unfortunate that the northern governors have to be directed by the presidency before they get serious about tackling the twin crimes of banditry and kidnappings that have ravaged communities in their States. 

“This pedestrian mindset has proved what we have all along pointed out that those who pose as northern leaders particularly the state governors are not really concerned about the welfare of the people they lead.”

Also, according to an elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, “With the deterioration of the security situation in the country, I am in support of any measure the government will take to address the security problem in Nigeria. There is nothing like peace. Without peace, people cannot attend to their day-to-day activities in any country. We need peace to have a stable life”.

Some Plateau State respondents, on their part, said they believe the State governor, Simon Lalong, had no reason for not confronting insecurity in the State because, according to them, a legal foundation on how to do so was laid for him to build on. 

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