A security organisation, Citizens Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), has cautioned security forces and the federal government to avoid the opening of another frontier of battle from the Southeast with the handling of the crisis between security forces and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Enugu recently.
CISA also frowned at the use of live bullets against the people, arguing that it will not augur well for the civil military relationship, just as it warned that every group embarking on protest to do so within the ambit of the law to avoid any form of crisis.
National Coordinator of the organisation, Chidi Omeje, who handed the caution at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, however urged Nigerians to support the internal security operations of the Nigerian military across the county.
Commenting specifically on the IPOB incident in Enugu, Omeje said: “I have said that this group will not support the military or other security forces when they are wrong. I don’t have much detail about IPOB matters but it is not the best interest of the state to antagonise the people. It will not augur well for the civil military relationship or the need to win the hearts and minds of the people if we are quick to resort to use of live bullets against the people.
“We will not condone wanton killing of our people but we will also ask any group that believes it has the right to protest must do it within the ambit of the law so that there will not be a crisis of any kind. We cannot say that the government has handled the IPOB issue the best they can but we believe that there is still room for improvement.
“We don’t want to record more crises in that angle or to open up another frontier of battle from the Southeast. That will not augur well for the country because we already have battles across the country in the Northeast, Northwest and of course the South-south where the naval forces are battling pirates. All these need concerted efforts so that we can bring down the tension across the country,” he warned.
Reading earlier from a prepared speech, Omeje harped on the need for Nigerians to look at the sunny side of the operations of the Armed Forces, commending the various positives from the sustained efforts of the fighting forces engaged in various theatres of operation across the country.
“Yes. Nigerians are right to demand a quick end to the menace of terrorism and banditry in any part of our country, yes, they are right to hold the government to account on how the various internal security operations are prosecuted by our fighting forces.
“However, even more important is the fact that Nigerians must assess or evaluate those efforts with open mind and with full understanding the dynamics of the security challenges assailing the country and the nature of combat operations waged against them. This is against the backdrop of the fact that it has become customary for some vocal Nigerian commentators and a section of the media to analyse the various military operations from the standpoint and mindset of bias and condemnation.
As a civil society group interested in the general security and welfare of Nigerians, CISA believes that critics of military operations should show balance in their analysts and commentaries. We therefore urge such Nigerians who are only interested in protecting and parroting setbacks and challenges encountered by our military to also join us in supporting and celebrating the various wins recorded almost on a daily basis by the troops against our adversaries, even in the face of multiple challenges.
“We are gladdened that in spite of certain orchestrated negative reviews of our military by some cynics, most fair-minded Nigerians who are watching and assessing the trajectory of the security challenges across the country and the efforts of those combating them are confident that soon, the challenges will be surmounted,” he noted.