31st May 2019
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed disappointment at a statement credited to the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, that only God could police the Nigerian borders.
The pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation described such remark as the clearest sign of gross incompetence and crass incapacity on the part of the service chiefs to enforce the minimum demands of their constitutional mandates.
HURIWA refused to accept that the statement represented the view of all the service chiefs, given that the Chief of Army Staff COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, had on many occasions assured Nigerians that the army under his command possessed the wherewithal to secure Nigerians.
In a statement by the national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the national media affairs director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the organisation asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to determine if the naval chief spoke the minds of the current national security team.
If that is the case, it added, it therefore follows that they should be immediately dismissed for abysmal lack of the will power to safeguard the territorial integrity of Nigeria, which is the basic constitutional demand of their duties as clearly spelt out in the constitution.
HURIWA said it was absolutely intolerable that a full-fledged military general, in whom Nigeria’s resources had been used to train for about 30 years, to transfer the mandate of practically safeguarding Nigeria to God, as if the country was a theocracy.
Nigeria is and remains a federal republic guided by the provisions of the constitution, which made no mention of God as its chief border security officer, it added.
Besides, the rights group accused the service chief of running out of ideas on what to do to re-take the control of all the nation’s territory from all sorts of armed bandits, all of whom have constituted the gravest threats to the sovereignty of Nigeria and have put the national security on the line.
It expressed utter consternation that a professional soldier would play the diversionary religious card of bringing God into the fray when for four years the federal government remained unfortunately bereft of functional, effective and result-oriented strategy for defending the country, so constitutional democracy could be sustained.
“By the way, if the naval chief is deficient in elementary religious knowledge, may he be told that God is perfect and therefore wouldn’t be associated with the complete display of incapacity by the armed forces of Nigeria in securing the territorial integrity and jurisdiction of our nation state,” the statement added.