Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, declared that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been overwhelmed by insecurity.
Obasanjo spoke in the light of the recent deadly attack on a Kaduna-bound train, which killed seven passengers, while 21 others are reportedly missing.
“I believe that all right thinking Nigerians must know that we have a situation that has overwhelmed the present administration,” he said at his penthouse residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while receiving a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Dr. Ugochukwu Williams.
Describing the attack as “a serious situation,” Obasanjo lamented that Nigerians are “no longer safe on the road, in the train and at the airport.”
This was as pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, expressed concern over threat by Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to invite foreign mercenaries to fight terrorism, describing it as an ominous sign for the country.
In a statement issued by National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, the group, said: “Hiring the services of foreign mercenaries is certainly beyond the powers of any state governor, according to the Constitution. 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 own way – even when the manner is constitutionally beyond his power.”
Reacting on the issue, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), in a statement by National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, rejected the idea, saying the mercenaries would be used to prosecute the 2023 election, frustrate transfer of power to the South, and continue genocide against Northern Christians.
On its part, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said inviting foreign forces to fight the nation’s cause must be treated with “utmost caution.”
In a statement by Secretary General, Murtala Aliyu, the group also called on the leadership of political parties “to structure their manifestos to address our challenges and refocus our psyche towards peaceful growth and development of the country and not the current race for the sake of power or material gains.”
It added: “The holistic submission on failure of governance, as attested by our governors, is an indication that all is not well in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.”
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, issued a statement at the weekend, noting: “If any other Nigerian had made or muted such an idea of inviting mercenaries, such would have been accused or arrested by the government for undermining the security agencies and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“CAN doubts if any section of the Nigerian Constitution allows any office holder, apart from the Commander-in-Chief, to invite a foreign combatant into the country.”
The group alleged: “Moreover, it was a similar strategy that el-Rufai employed, years back, when he claimed to have compensated some herdsmen, which led to the escalation of the security situation, particularly in Kaduna State.”
It added: “For CAN, the approach to give gunmen money, so that they would stop attacking the populace has backfired and Kaduna State is paying dearly for such a miscalculation.”
“The Federal Government should, therefore, call el-Rufai to order before his excesses lead Nigeria to a bigger problem, especially as the general elections are around the corner.”
Also, National President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Quadri Olaleye, regretted that no part of Nigeria is safe for anyone, urging the President to resign if he lacks solution to the problem.
In his words: “Nobody is safe in the country again. Children can no longer go to school. You cannot travel again. And we cannot close our two eyes when sleeping. If the President cannot provide security for the citizens, then he should resign.”
Olaleye expressed his disappointment during burial of the late TUC General Secretary, Comrade Musa Lawal Ozigi, in Adavi Local Council, Kogi State.
Ozigi was among those killed during the train attack.
Meanwhile, Accord Party (AP) described the train attack as barbaric and condemnable, even as it challenged security agencies to up their game in protecting life and property.
This was contained in a statement released by National Legal Adviser of the party, Maxwell Mgbudem.
The party said the rising spate of killings across the country calls for the security architecture to be restructured in line with modern day realities of effective protection of citizens.
A socio-political activist and critic, Chief Adesunbo Onitiri, in a statement, also declared: “Certainly, this is not the Nigeria of our dream. This is also not the Nigeria our forefathers bestowed to us. In more advanced climes, heads should have rolled by now. It’s a shame Nigerians can no longer travel safely by road, rail and air.”