LAGOS—THE pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, described the threat by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State to invite foreign mercenaries to fight local terrorism as an ominous sign for the country.
Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Jare Ajayi, said el-Rufai’s remarks “calls for serious interrogation and action on the part of all those who should act.”
El-Rufai had threatened to import foreign mercenaries, after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Aso Rock Villa in Abuja.
The governor, who spoke in the Hausa language, had said: “I have complained to Mr. President and I swear to God, if action is not taken we, as governors, will take actions to protect the lives of our people.
“If it means deploying foreign mercenaries to come and do the work, we will do it to address these challenges.”
But Afenifere said the fact that el-Rufai said this immediately after his meeting with the President could be an indication that what el-Rufai heard from President Buhari was not reassuring enough.
The statement reads: “Were el-Rufai to be convinced with the readiness of the Federal Government to confront the security situation, he would not have talked about seeking an alternative action – particularly seeking the help of foreign mercenaries. This point is very important to be borne in mind as we interrogate the security problems confronting us today.
For, hiring the services of a foreign mercenary is certainly beyond the power of any state governor according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And el-Rufai knows this so well. So, for him, to assert that he (and a few of his colleagues) will resort to this option could be a pointer to certain things that had, hitherto, not been so clear to members of the public.
“Among those could be the possibility that perhaps armed foreigners are already in our midst. It could also be a pointer to the fact that el-Rufai saw some kind of unwillingness on the part of the Federal Government to confront this problem headlong hence, his desire to seek help his way–even when the manner of seeking such help is constitutionally beyond his power. But then, his position could be understood against the background of desperation and the need to put an end to the horror going on by any means possible.
“The solution to the identified problem does not lie in hiring foreign mercenaries but sincerely picking up the solutions that are within our reach locally. The first step is for the Buhari-led government to be genuinely determined to put an end to the carnage. In this determination should be adequate funding of the armed forces, proper motivation of the forces, a stoppage to the kid-glove treatment being given to terrorists and more importantly, immediate approval for willing state governments to set up their own police forces.
“There are dangers in bringing in foreign mercenaries by these governors because their antecedents in the recent past do not give us reasons to trust them. They could perhaps use the said mercenaries against indigenous people.
“Nigerians deserve a far better deal from what they are getting from their government presently.”
“It is not too late for the Buhari-led government to urgently put a halt to the avoidable loss of lives and properties by taking the steps suggested above.