A former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, has called for a “serious and second look” at the “complex” structure, formations, training and motivation of Nigeria’s defence forces.
Ukiwe, who appraised the security situation in the country in an address during an event to mark the fourth anniversary of the Alaigbo Development Foundation in Enugu on Wednesday, noted that the defence forces should be aligned with “national interest.”
He described the security situation in the country as “dicey,” a development which he said would not encourage peace and progress.
Ukiwe observed that the performance of the defence forces should be viewed as part of the scorecard of the Federal Government.
The retired military chief said, “It is obvious that the security situation in the country has become dicey in view of the various conflicts and rampant killings in various parts of the country. This is inappropriate for peace, progress and national welfare of the various components of the country and cannot enhance peace and national development.
“We must have a serious and second look at the complex structure, formations, training and motivation of the defence forces of the nation to align with the philosophy and the national interest of the country.
“The military and other defence forces are agencies of government and should be viewed together with the performance of the government of the day.”
He also called for the immediate disarming of Fulani herdsmen, who have killed many in the country.
The former Chief of General Staff said it was “unacceptable” that herdsmen have continued to carry arms.
He said, “It is obvious that that the issue of uncontrolled grazing of cattle across the country is not sustainable any more in view of the developing ecology, population growth and agricultural development in the country.
“The old practice of herding cattle in a medieval fashion that sustained it all this while is now obsolete in consideration with the national development strides of the country. It is therefore necessary that a serious look at redesigning animal husbandry that suits the nation at this point in time is undertaken.
“Definitely, the idea of herdsmen carrying military assault weapons arrogantly across the nation as if to cow the population is offensive and unacceptable to the Nigerian society and should therefore be immediately stopped.”
Ukiwe also spoke on the need for restructuring.
He described the current structure of Nigeria as inequitable, unjust and unfair.
He said, “The present structure of the country does not reflect equity, justice and fairness.
“It is therefore necessary to take up the issue of restructuring to achieve equity, fairness and freedom for the component federating units of the country.”
President of the Alaigbo Development Foundation, a pan-Igbo association, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, noted that the “volatile nature of the Nigerian political environment has continued to fuel calls for the renegotiation of the basis for the co-existence of the over 350 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.”
Nwala said, “Alaigbo Development Foundation was established to articulate ‘what Igbos want in the present circumstances’ in Nigeria.
“Today, the question has become more acute than ever before, whether Ndigbo should remain as part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or not.
“The frustration and pains are growing by the day. A recent study organised by a pan-Igbo organisation, the Igbo Global Alliance, showed that the majority of Ndigbo want self-government.”
He explained that the colloquium was organised to mark the fourth anniversary of the Alaigbo Development Foundation, with the theme, ‘The Past, the Present and the Future: Unburdening the Past and Embracing the Future with Confidence’. He added that it was meant to examine ways and means the Igbo could co-exist in peace with other Nigerians.
Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu
Credit (The Punch)