Nigerian human rights activist and senior lawyer, Femi Falana, says President Muhammadu Buhari should stop giving Nigerians “false impression” of a likely intervention by the United States in Nigeria’s insecurity challenges.
“Instead of giving Nigerians the false impression that the United States is going to send troops to defend them, the federal government should be compelled to embark on mass recruitment of military and police personnel, equip and motivate them to defend every part of the country,” Mr Falana said while delivering a paper in Abuja on Thursday.
The paper was presented at a public lecture to mark the 80th birthday of Omotoye Olorode, a professor of botany and popular activist.
Reports of kidnappings and violent killings perpetrated by bandits and Boko-Haram terrorists have dominated the news.
These reached a peak last week as this newspaper reported 239 persons killed and 44 kidnapped in separate incidents across the country last week.
Alarmed Nigerians, including lawmakers, have pressured the presidency to seek help abroad.
President Buhari, during a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, on Tuesday, begged the American government to reconsider relocating US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, nearer the theatre of operation.
Also, he urged the international community to support Nigeria and the sub-region in tackling Nigeria’s growing security challenges.
Mr Blinken, in a virtual roundtable with Kenyan and Nigerian journalists, restated the commitment of the US to assist in solving Nigeria’s “extraordinary” security challenges.
“It is fair to say that the challenges that Nigeria faces when it comes to security are quite extraordinary – whether it’s terrorism, whether it’s banditry and criminality, whether it’s piracy.
“One, we are in absolute solidarity between us in trying to address these challenges together. And the United States is committed to supporting Nigeria as it meets these challenges,” Mr Blinken said.
But Mr Falana warned that the intervention expected of the U.S is realistic.
“Nigeria is currently witnessing the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neocolonial state due to the diversion of the huge fund earmarked for procurement of arms and ammunition for the armed forces and the police by successive regimes.
“To prevent terrorists and bandits from sacking the government, President Buhari has appealed to President Joe Biden to come to the aid of the ruling class in waging war against terror and banditry.
“And without consulting either the African Union or the ECOWAS the federal government has asked President Biden to relocate the US African Command (AFRICOM) in Germany to Africa. Since 2009, the cry for help in prosecuting the counter insurgency operations had fallen on the deaf ears of the leaders of the West.”
Mr Falana said the United States and her allies prevented Nigeria from acquiring vital security equipment due to the “abysmal poor human rights record of the armed forces and the police.”
“In particular, the federal government has been accused of failing to account for the prolonged detention of thousands of people in military camps without trial and the extrajudicial execution of unarmed civilians by military and police personnel.”
He said although the federal government instituted two judicial commissions of inquiry in 2017 to investigate allegations of gross abuse of human rights of the Nigerian people, the report of both panels have not been implemented.
” The government has failed to prosecute the security personnel indicted by the panels.”
He also blamed the lack of transparency in procurement of military equipment for the deteriorating security architecture.
“Even though the Buhari administration was allowed to pay the sum of $329 million for 12 super Tucano fighter jets in November 2018 to aid the counter insurgency operations in the North East Zone the jets have not been delivered.”
The rights activist advised all state and local governments to set up defence committees constituted by young men and women “to collaborate with the police in securing the lives and properties of all citizens.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...