Former Senate President Ameh Ebute has advised Ahmed Lawan to engage politicians, technocrats as well as businessmen from the North-East to find complementing roles that would solve the lingering security crises in the region.
Ebute noted that the Senate President, as the most senior political appointee from the North-East zone, should convoke and lead the region’s reconciliation and peace project towards bringing an end to the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism bedeviling the area.
The ex-legislator decried a situation where most Nigerians, including some politicians, blame President Muhammadu Buhari or the service chiefs for the problem instead of playing their roles with a view to ending it.
Ebute, a former lawmaker from Benue-South, in the letter addressed to Senator Lawan on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, said all hands must be on deck as the fight against insurgency should not be left alone for the service chiefs or President Buhari.
He was reacting to the recent call by the national assembly on president Buhari to sack his service chiefs over the security situation in the country.
The letter reads in part;
“Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism in Nigeria has cloaked 10 years plus and still counting in atrocious acts.
“Without the hard and sustained mitigation of the Buhari Presidency, Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism would have overwhelmed and conquered Nigeria by now. Nigerian military, especially, the Nigerian Army, led by the COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai have exhibited tremendous courage and gallantry in the confrontations and repression of terrorists. They deserve our eulogies every day.
“But as known to all of us, Boko Haram insurgency is yet to be blighted completely in our land. The repressed and feeble Boko Haram has been enlivened and energized by the more vicious ISWAP terrorists from Iran. It is overstretching the Nigerian military. But they have found strength because of the receptiveness of local accomplices to their evil.
“It is obvious that military solutions alone, as we seem to focus now cannot quench the fire of terrorism in the Northeast. There is every need to also apply political and economic solutions to Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism. It is a problem which should be tackled on all fronts simultaneously.
“We cannot dodge the reality that youths in these areas have not felt the impact of government these years. It is reason for their restlessness and why they are easily lured as willing tools in the hands of the Boko Haram insurgents to engage in mischief and evil against their own country.
“This is where I find you and your office as the number three citizen of Nigeria now relevant and sensitive. You have over delayed to act by convoking a parley among all political leaders and business moguls of the North-East to deliberate and come out with a political and economic remedies to end terrorism.
“Sir, you are the most senior political leader from the entire North-East and there is every need for you act or demonstrate concern and real leadership of your people. You should be worried and sleepless over the ruination and devastation of your land of birth by bile and brutal campaigns of terrorists, imported into Nigeria and supported by indigenous non-state actors who are undeniably extending covert support for festering Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism in Nigeria.
“It is time you dust your leadership focus on legislations/approval of budgets for terrorism expenditures alone. It behooves on you to galvanize the forces in the Northeast towards finding durable political and economic solutions to terrorism in the region.
“Your inability to summon a North-East stakeholder, political appointees, business men and women and all the intellectuals parley from the region to find a lasting solution speaks more about an indifference to the plight of your people.
“A roll call of personalities and political appointees currently serving the government of President Buhari from the North-East alone is impressive. They hold high profile positions beginning with you as Senate President; Chief of Army Staff; Director General, NEMA; National Security Adviser; Director General, NOA; Group Managing Director, NNPC and Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission.
“We also have the likes of Chief of Staff to the President; Chairman, Federal Character Commission; Executive Secretary, Federal Government Housing Commission; chairman Senate Committee on Army; Federal Permanent Secretaries; Director -General Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); APC National Secretary; Director -General FERMA and the Acting EFCC chairman.
“Besides, we have ministers from each of these states; National Assembly members, States Assembly members, traditional and religious leaders and prominent multi-billionaires from the Northeast region. The list is by no means exhaustive. Why have you not deemed it necessary to lead a dialogue with these personalities to chat a course to make Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorism ravaging the North-East become history?
“Let us not be deceived, if these respected leaders and personalities cannot do it, no one else can do it. And leaving the entire burden in the hands of President Buhari and the Nigerian military alone is not thoughtful or wise decision and can never end terrorism.
“Nigerians would like to see a new commitment from the Senate President and other leaders from the region in doing more to achieve the needed results. Fortunately, Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum has shown enough zeal in this direction and you must pair with him to find the needed solutions to end Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorism.
“Peace and security, which every nation craves to enjoy is not a commodity that can be achieved in a day; just like war is not won in one day. Whilst the military can subdue and neutralize the threats posed by the insurgents, the ultimate foundation to peace lies in the hands of stakeholders from this region who are expected to navigate unconventional means to engage the youths and the people generally.
“Therefore, leaving the battle to Mr. President and the military chiefs alone can only bring an end to the bombings, but not a final end to the killings which are usually perpetrated by neglected and abandoned youths who are hired by terrorist kingpins.
“The Senate in particular and the national Assembly as a whole can actually do quite a lot more to support Mr. President win these anti-terrorism campaigns. You were a member of the eighth Senate which refused to grant approval for Mr. President to secure funds for arms and ammunitions to fight terrorism. There is no doubt that the Senate under your leadership has been helpful to Mr. President and it is expected to do more to support him.
“And as individual leaders at our personal levels, there is much we can to economically to empower unemployed youths in the region to divert their attention from evil acts of terrorists. For instance, if each member of the national assembly decides to employ 20 youths as a community development project, we would be putting a reasonable number of youths out of the reach of Boko Haram terrorists masters for engagement.
“The national parliamentarians from the region could channel constituency funds to productive use to uplift the economic status of people in the region by establishing cottage industries or invest in other small-scale economic ventures.”