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Security sector too sensitive for sectionalism, group warns

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A Nigerian army convoy vehicle drives ahead with an anti-aircraft gun, on its way to Bama, Borno State, Nigeria August 31, 2016. Picture taken from inside a vehicle. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

• Says Exclusion Breeds Agitation, Ethnic Tension
• Appeals To Buhari To Nominate Igbo As Service Chief

“The sensitive nature of defence and security architecture the world over abhors sectional and political considerations in appointments of its leadership,” a group, under the aegis of Conference of Concerned Nigeria Security Experts (CCNE), has said.

The group was reacting to deteriorating security situation in the country, occasioned by insurgency in the Northeast, armed banditry in the Northwest and parts of North Central, herders’ menace in the Southwest, as well as militancy in the South-South.

It said the plural and multi-dimensional nature of Nigeria has opened government’s actions and policies, no matter how well-intentioned, to subjective scrutiny, based on which divide is driving the psychology of perception.

It stressed that leaders must make conscious efforts to reflect the country’s multi-ethnicity nature, with a view to liberalising the sense of worth, which is a necessary condition for peaceful co-existence.

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The group drew parallels between suffocating ethnic tensions across the country and the perceived exclusion and marginalisation of some sections of the country by this administration.

In a statement jointly signed, yesterday, in Abuja by its National President, Prof. Otedola Adekunle and National Secretary, Dr. (Mrs.) Christy Aklo, they argued that perpetuation of insurgency, banditry, and other violent crimes in the North might not be unconnected with concentration of military, security and para-military heads from that section of the country.

To them, in the course of executing their mandate, there arises an inadvertent natural inclination and sentimental attachment, which in the final analysis, creates setbacks.

They made a passionate appeal to President Buhari to reconsider his exclusion of the Southeast from national affairs, adding that the best place to redress the balance is within the Service Chiefs circle, where no officer of Igbo extraction was considered worthy of appointment by the President.

They said: “As security experts with experience in contemporary security threats, we know that there is a socio-psychological aspect of security management, which responsive and responsible governments the world over must take seriously.

“We are of the firm view that, in administering a plural society such as Nigeria, leaders must ensure that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, for purposes of egalitarianism, justice, and fairness…”

They enjoined leaders to pay attention to the needs of all sections of the polity, address concerns, and as much as possible, avoid the use of force, where dialogue is inevitable.

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