While it is doubtless that every region in the composition of Nigeria is important, the Southwest region stands out uniquely in many ways. It is the economic cum commercial nerve center of the country. It is the intellectual hub of the nation. It is a tourist’s center. It remains a focal region by its status as the destination for many priced national investments.
It is therefore, imperative that Southwest Nigeria, like any other part of the world desires peace for growth and development to thrive. Unfortunately, in the last few years, the region was consciously thrown into the furnace of weird criminality by anti-progressive forces. It became the haven for pirates, kidnappers, armed robbers, militants and what Oyo state Governor Abiola Ajimobi described painfully as “garrison of armed criminals and rogues.” The region harboured all manner of armed criminals who ceaselessly terrorized the region.
The insecurity that permeated the Southwest puzzled most of the State Governors, as it overwhelmed regular security, necessitating the intervention of the Nigerian Military in quelling the upsurge in violent crimes. The Nigerian Military has not only rescued the Southwest from the grip of the armed criminals’ and rogues, but it has performed this constitutional responsibility, professionally and responsibly.
But in every clime, there are always a handful of people selfishly blind to reason. To such breed of people, it constitutes a crime to positively acknowledge the efforts of leaders or institutions in development, especially in erecting a crime-free society, which is the bedrock of all developments. But in juxtaposition, multitudes too, are conscionable enough to think differently and saunter on the stage from time to time advertise true and uninfluenced feelings of appreciation.
Consequently, the historic match today in Lagos, by thousands of members of the Eko Peace Civil Society Movement is in public recognition and applause of the efforts by President Muhammedu Buhari on securing Nigeria. It is also, to demonstrate support for the Nigerian military in its nation-wide campaigns of kicking out the assorted insecurity threats from the country and a patriotic dramatization of the extent Nigerians generally have come to identify and supports efforts of the “change” administration of President Buhari to rejuvenate Nigeria.
Analysts have perceived this noble action by the Eko Peace Civil Society Movement , as exemplified by the procession as pricking the conscience of some elements in the nation blind to appreciation. It is to renew concern for the sacrifices of the Nigerian military, particularly, the Nigerian Army in maintaining peace and security in Nigeria.
And apart from the loud statement of the action in creating security awareness, it is also a direct endorsement of the efforts by the Nigerian Army, under President Buhari, in consistently securing the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Nigerian state, which some disgruntled and unscrupulous elements have preferred to denigrate and baselessly lampoon in prejudice.
The world over, leaders constantly sing the refrain that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of violence, chaos and anarchy. It is on this singular premise that President Buhari has accorded security top priority attention in all parts of Nigeria, especially Lagos. The President would not have achieved these milestones in security had his administration not raised a professional, disciplined, loyal and patriotic Nigerian military.
The crop of Service Chiefs on the Security architecture of Nigeria are competent, disciplined and result-oriented crack team of military officers, who execute their assignments in absolute compliance with international standards on Rules of Engagement (ROE) and respect for the dignity and human rights of Nigerians. The accolades they have attracted on Nigeria for suppressing organized and foreign –backed insurgencies and other bile acts of terrorism have remained incontestable signposts of their professionalism.
It is in this light that the decision of President Buhari to uniformly extend the tenure of the Service Chiefs, using his constitutional powers is appreciated, as a step in the right direction. It conveys unambiguously Mr. President’s determination to rid every nook and cranny of Nigeria of armed criminals who ventilate their devilry in violence.
The New Year Trek by members of the Eko Peace Civil Society Movement today in Lagos is by extension the unanimous endorsement by Nigerians of President Buhari’s decision and inclinations on security matters.
It is instructive that it is the first time since 1999 , any Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces would have reason or cause to extend the tenure of Service Chiefs. It is a rare presidential honour in recognition of their hard work, dedication and splendor in the performance of their official responsibilities. It is therefore pertinent for all the Service Chiefs to reciprocate this presidential honour and further gladden the hearts of Nigerians by re-doubling their efforts to ensure Nigeria is totally liberated from violent sects and armed criminals.
The Nigerian Army holds a special place in hearts of South -westerners for the current low crime rate in the region. The peace and tranquility they enjoyed in this year’s yuletide celebrations have upped these testimonies.
Nigerians therefore welcome any other operation in the Southwest to be conducted by the Nigerian Army insofar as it is designed to sustain the peace and nib in the bud all nascent acts of armed criminality. The people are solidly behind such moves and no rantings from the sponsors of these armed gangs against innocent and law abiding citizens should deter them. As patriotic and loyal citizens of this great nation, it has dawned on everyone that security is every body’s business and therefore the success of the military on such special assignments, “Na everybody’s business too.” Kudos to Eko Peace Civil Society Movement for this wonderful outing.
Madu is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos,