Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has appealed to the Federal Government to change the service chiefs and alter its security strategies to allow fresh ideas in tackling the threats to the country’s internal insecurity.
Wike made the call on Friday during the wreath-laying and parade ceremony organised to mark the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Port Harcourt.
The governor acknowledged the efforts made so far by the country’s security chiefs in the battle against insurgents.
He, however, noted that despite full military engagement with Boko Haram and killer bandits, the threats appeared to be overwhelming the country’s security agencies.
The governor said Boko Haram, bandits and killer herdsmen continued to overrun communities, randomly killing and abducting helpless people.
He said the insurgents also destroyed private and public property with relative ease, insisting that it was time the Federal Government took decisive action to end such a menace.
He said, “A country is as strong as its Armed Forces. Her inability to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency despite years of full military engagement shows that all is not well with our approaches and commitments to the battle against the internal insecurity.
“Today, therefore, also raises the need for all of us to be worried by the deteriorating security situation across the country and restate the call on the federal government to do everything necessary to bring the security threat by Boko Haram and armed bandits to a decisive end in the shortest possible time.
“We thank the service chiefs for their efforts so far in the battle against the insurgents. But we also align with the concern of citizens that having seemingly reached their wit end, they should now give way for fresh hands and ideas to give the fight the impetus that it so strongly needs to ensure that Boko Haram and killer bandits are comprehensively defeated and smoked out of existence.
“The time has come for the federal government to stop the pretense, change strategy, seek help from our friends and confront the urgency of the internal insecurity situation in Nigeria with every weaponry at its disposal to stop the killing, free all hostages and improve the physical security of our country for all Nigerians.”
The governor said that all Nigerians were gracious beneficiaries of the various sacrifices made by the Armed Forces as they put their life on the line to defend the country.
Wike said the least duty every Nigerian owed the soldiers, veterans, and their families was to continue to remember, honour and celebrate them for their extraordinary courage in service and sacrifice to the country.
He said, “On this solemn day and occasion, therefore, we join the rest of our country to honour and pay tribute to all our soldiers who died at the various battlefields in the service of our nation.
“We also salute and honour every serving member of Nigerian Armed Forces carrying on today in the noble tradition of those before them dutifully defending our nation’s territorial integrity.
“They are fighting to keep us safe and secured in the face of insurgencies from Boko Haram, Bandits and other criminal elements threatening our peace and security across the country.
“Our beloved country is still together, existing and waxing stronger as one indivisible, free, and democratic country because of your commitment and sacrifice to its unity and progress.
“As Nigerians, our collective desire is to have a country where we can all live in unity, freedom and security. A country where our children and grandchildren can live in relative comfort and strive for a brighter future.”
Wike reiterated the need to have an enduring reward system for officers and men of the Armed Forces to encourage them in their sacrifices to the country.
He said his administration had continued to implement such financial support policy for security personnel of Rivers origin because of the importance it placed on their selfless sacrifices.
He said, “No amount of recompense can adequately assuage the loss of precious life or the disabling effects of permanent bodily injuries. But we shall never cease to accord profound honour that you deserve and canonise your bravery and patriotism at all times in expression of our gratitude for what you truly represent.
“As a government, we believe that society must endeavour to move beyond the yearly ceremonial ritual and comfort speeches of today to proffer adequate care and support for the families of everyone of our soldiers who unfortunately pays the supreme price or suffers permanent disability in the line of duty to our nation.
“It is for this reason that we have since adopted and implemented the policy framework that guarantees some financial support to the immediate families of any soldier from Rivers State that pays the supreme price or suffers permanent disability at the battlefields in the course of his or her service to our nation.
“We have also fulfilled and continue to fulfil our promises and commitments to our veterans through the Rivers State Chapter of Nigeria legion. Two days ago, we released the sum of N70million to the chapter.”