Nigerians oppose gang-up against Azazi…urge govt to investigate alleged Boko Haram sponsors
Reactions have continued to trail last week's media reports that some elements are plotting to ensure that Gen. Andrew Azazi fails in his assignment as National Security Adviser.
The reports indicated that some northern elements who are scheming to succeed Gen. Azazi are allegedly fuelling insecurity and violent attacks across the country to press home their claim for the position.
They were said to be unhappy with the appointment of Azazi to a position that has been the exclusive reserve of the North, and have vowed to destabilize the government through the perpetration of violent attacks on strategic national institutions using the Boko Haram sect as cover even when the sect was not always involved.
Opinions from across the country however indicate that many Nigerians think Gen. Azazi should keep his job given that he has so far displayed courage in the face of daunting security challenges occasioned by the continued onslaught of the Boko Haram sect.
Some were of the view that Azazi called the spade by its name with his comments at the South-South Economic Summit in Asaba where he urged the PDP to put its house in order and as such must be given firm backing by the government to expose those behind the Boko Haram menace.
To others, but for Azazi and the leadership of the nation's security services, the Boko Haram insurgency would have been quite worse, just as they call for a full scale investigation to unravel the sponsors of the dreaded Islamic sect.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja over the weekend, leader of the Niger Delta Union for Progress (NDUP), Opuowei Akpodigha said the rising wave of terrorism in the country is no fault of Gen. Azazi, but the orchestration of some northern gladiators who are bent on making the country ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan.
'Azazi spoke the minds of many Nigerians at the South-South Economic Forum and we think he is in the best position to tell us the truth of the matter. The northerners who want his position would not do better than him. Rather than call for Azazi's head, they should call their foot soldiers in Boko Haram to order.
Also in a chat with newsmen in Kaduna, Mallam Sadiq Umar, National Coordinator, Citizens for Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria (CDGGN), however finds it incredible that the wave of violence is being sponsored from the north.
He has therefore urged the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government to immediately launch a full-scale investigation into the allegations that northern gladiators are behind Boko Haram, with a view to finding a quick resolution of the country's security crises.
Umar said promoting violence for political reasons is treasonable, saying 'the President should leave no stone unturned to ascertain the veracity of such high handed allegations and bring anyone culpable to book no matter whose ox is gored.'
Umar added that sacking Azazi is not the solution to the security crises in the country, pointing out that the present NSA is untainted by the throes of military rule and coup plotting that is the hallmarks of other generals.
John Idoko, Coordinator of the Alliance for a Better Democracy (ABD), flayed attempts by some interests to push for the removal of Gen. Azazi to pave way for one of the previous NSAs who are mostly northerners to succeed him.
Speaking at a stakeholders' conference in Markudi, Idoko stated: 'Every NSA had his own challenge in the past but Gen. Azazi has faced the most daunting security challenge yet just like the nation. He has refused to play politics with national security hence he came out openly to link the spate of terrorism to the aftermath of the last general elections. He has all the intelligence at his disposal hence he made those statements. He should be given all the support needed to unmask the perpetrators of terrorism in our land,' he said.
In his own reaction, Olayinka Ojo, who runs a civil rights group, United Front for the Protection of Human Rights, particularly accused northern leaders of treating the Boko Haram menace with a lackadaisical approach, saying 'their tongue-in-cheek comments on the issue of Boko Haram are grossly inadequate and evasive.'
He recalled how the Southern leaders kicked against militancy in the Niger Delta and rallied around all Federal Government's efforts to restore peace in the region, urging the northern elite to reciprocate the gesture.
'Leaders from the north should do the same instead of using the Boko Haram sect as a weapon to settle political scores. If they truly want Boko Haram to be eliminated, they would team up with Azazi and the security agencies to tackle the menace and not frustrate the efforts of security agencies at dismantling the sect.'
A constitutional lawyer, Edet Etim, believes Azazi should be supported by all to succeed in his assignment.
'Azazi is not a novice in matters of security and intelligence having risen through the ranks meritoriously and not by coup plotting. As a general, he has been in the intelligence arm of the Nigerian Army for over thirty years, and held sensitive positions including Director of Military Intelligence in 2003. He has sufficient knowledge and capacity to hold sway on security matters in the country,' Etim said.