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ACF, Afenifere challenges Defence Minister: You’re a collaborator if you don’t release identities of Enemies of State you compiled

Nigeria’s top regional groups, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Afenifere has called on Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) to immediately release the identities of the enemies of State responsible for the security challenges facing the country.

General Magashi told journalists on Thursday in Abuja at the 7th edition of the Ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team that the federal government has compiled a comprehensive report on the identities of enemies of the Nigerian Staten and taken a position, which he said he did not want to pre-empt.

According to the Minister, “we have made a comprehensive brief as far as the security of this country is concerned and the methods we want to use in ensuring that we strategically and tactically get rid of all enemies of this country, be it political enemy, religious enemy, ethnic enemies and all the political enemies of this country.

“We have made a comprehensive report or research on that and we have taken our position, which I don’t want to pre-empt here, but certainly, we are coming back with that.”

Reacting, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), through its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, told General Magashi: “There is no need of wasting time, you know the kind of difficulty Nigeria is in now with all the insecurity. And then, someone knows the identities of those putting us through all these hell and he is keeping it.”

He said the position of the ACF is that anyone who is in possession of information in relation to the identities of those causing Nigeria’s security problems should either release the information or would be viewed as a collaborator.

“The level of insecurity and damage done to Nigeria now is such that anybody who has evidence that this is the man causing all these problems should be able to expose that person immediately. He shouldn’t wait for Christmas day or Sallah day to expose the identities of the people,” Yawe said.

In the same vein, Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, said: “There is no need to say you have identified them, just go ahead and name them.”

Adebanjo stated that instead of announcing that the sponsors of insecurity have been identified, the government should go ahead and name them.

According to him, “let them name them. We are tired of this nonsense. If you have identified them, name them. There is no need to say you have identified them.

“If truly you have identified them, name them, if you are not lying. We are tired of this statement. I don’t believe they have identified them. If you have identified them, what is stopping you from publishing their names?”

General Magashi also blamed the elite for the “bleeding” of Nigeria, accusing them of placing their self-interest and other primordial considerations above that of the nation.

The Minister said quite a number of political, ethnic and religious leaders were exploiting the social division for their personal gains, regretting that Nigeria lacked a national consensus, common comprehensive understanding and the interpretation of what national security is because of such divisiveness.

Magashi had told journalists: “Make no mistakes that our nation is bleeding now. It is bleeding because of the self-interest and other primordial considerations underlying decisions, which quite a number of our elite; political, ethnic and religious, make it so. Such elite are quick to attribute blames to groups other than theirs.

“The whole idea is to exploit the social division for their political gains and it is because of this divisiveness that Nigeria lacks a national consensus or common comprehensive understanding and the interpretation of what national security is, like Boko Haram, farmers/herders clashes, IPOB and other political associations that are coming up with different mandates and different concerns. All these can encourage groups to seek violence as a legitimate alternative.

“From here emerges a narrow vision of national identity and vision which threatens our country’s prospect of social cohesion and stability. This is why we’re seeing the rise of self-help syndrome, often endorsed by states and local elites seeking violence as a legitimate alternative.

“The rise in vigilantism and identity-based militia, who claim to be working for the political and ethno-religious emancipation of their people, A.K.A resource control, secession and regional self-determination, define the potent threats to the national security in our country.”

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