Ohanaeze, Afenifere, ACF Disagree Over Civilian JTF’s Recruitment Into Army

The recruitment of 400 members of the Joint Civil Task Force in Borno State into the Nigerian Army has pitted prominent socio-cultural groups representing different regions of the country against each other on the ownership or otherwise of the movement.

While the Arewa Consultative Forum fully supports the decision, groups like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum oppose it on the premise that only people from a particular area are recruited. from the country. The army.

The Nigerian military had absorbed 400 members of the civilian JTF into its fold on Wednesday to help continue the war against Boko Haram terrorists.

The men, including hunters, are joining the Nigerian army’s dinner camp strategy in Borno state, hardest hit by the insurgency.
Governor Babagana Zulum, who commissioned the 400 men in the presence of the Chief of the Army General Staff, Lieutenant General. Tukur Buratai said they formed the first group to be recruited by the Army.

According to him, other members of the CJTF will soon join the Army.
The CJTF emerged in 2013 to support security forces in the fight against Boko Haram and protect local communities from insurgent attacks and was formalized by the Borno state government through a collaboration with the military.
Members of the CJTF were recruited, trained, equipped, deployed, and paid monthly allowances to motivate them.

Sectionalizing Army FG, says Afenifere

Before the news, the Yoruba socio-political group Afenifere, through its secretary of National Advertising, Yinka Odumakin, accused the Federal Government of regionalizing the Army.

He said: “There is no other name to call this than the regionalization of the Army for a section of the country without necessarily saying it. The rest of the country is not crazy about what is happening. There is no way you can build trust in national institutions by continuing to paint them in sectional colors. And these are the same people who said the Southwest couldn’t do Amotekun a few months ago.

“Borno is afflicted by the crisis as are other sections and we cannot turn our so-called National Army into the team of a section in addition to the sectionalism and provincialism of this regime in the last five years. “

Move violates the federal principle – Ohanaeze Ndigbo, M ‘Belt Forum

Similarly, the supreme Igbo sociocultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, insisted that the appointment of the 400 civilian members of the JTF in Borno state to the Nigerian army violated the principle of federal character in national appointments.
He said that the action of the Army leadership showed that the country’s security apparatus had collapsed.

President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke through his media adviser, Chief Emeka Attamah, condemned the army’s action and said it had negative implications.

He stated: “It is a clear vindication of those who hold the view that a situation where civilians are now being recruited into the military to fight Boko Haram is a great shame for Nigeria.
“It goes against the spirit of the federal principle, which guarantees equity in national employment. Can this be replicated in other parts of the country?

“Who has guaranteed the integrity of the people absorbed by the Army? Who is sure they do not even sympathize with the cause of Boko Haram? “
Similarly, the Middle Belt Forum blamed the recruitment of civilian JTF members into the Army.

The forum’s national chairman, Dr. Bitrus Porgu, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Jos on Thursday, said that the action of the Nigerian army denies the principle of federalism that Nigeria practices.
Porgu said: “We do not oppose the absorption of the CJTF members into the army for assisting them in the fight against the insurgency.

“However, there must be fairness in everything we do as a country, because we are a federation and we are not supposed to do things randomly. So if the Nigerian military wants to recruit members of the CJTF into its fold, it should also bring similar teams from other parts of the country, so there is fairness in representation in the military.

“This is important because we have them across the country who are also sacrificing their lives to help secure the country and working hard of their own free will without receiving wages. Why select a team in a region for recruitment? “

In order to strengthen Nigeria’s security apparatus, Porgu argued that the absorption of the paramilitaries should not be limited only to the Nigerian army, but should be extended to the police and other paramilitary agencies.
He insisted that the establishment of the state police remained the best option to solve the country’s security challenges.

Recruit JTF, vigilante members from other regions – PANDEF

In addition, the Pan Niger Delta Forum said that volunteers and members of the self-defense groups in other parts of the country should be commissioned into the Army, as was done with the civilian JTF in Borno state.

PANDEF spokesman Ken Robinson, who said this in a talk with one of our correspondents, said that this would generate equity, adding that it would raise suspicions if what happened in Borno is not replicated in other parts of the country.

He added that the armed forces and police did not have enough personnel and would do so with more personnel.

Robinson stated: “Obviously the military and even the police are understaffed. I don’t know how many personnel we have right away, but I do know that we have less than 500,000 police officers guarding a nation of about 200 million people.

“So, I am sure that the situation with the Army will not be different. If they are properly profiled and the so-called civilian members of the JTF are not the so-called repentant Boko Haram members that they are putting into the Army, then good and good.

“But we have to question him further to be sure that they are not really the so-called repentant members of Boko Haram, because those stories and innuendos are all over the place that that is what is happening and that when that is done, it is most likely let them be. sent to the south of the country and become another terrorist gang.

“So we are aware of that and we are a bit worried. If they are recruiting civilian JTF members into the Army, they should do the same in other parts of the country.
“There are vigilante groups in almost every state. They should also have their members join the Nigerian military to strengthen internal security. But if they don’t do that and focus on doing it in the North, then it’s suspicious. “

Do the same in other regions, advises elder Borno NA

An elderly statesman from the state of Borno, Zanna Boguma, recommended that the Army repeat the commissioning of volunteers in all the states experiencing insecurity in the country to ensure equity and balance in the system with the aim of achieving a rapid restoration of the peace and security.

He said the Army’s decision to recruit civilian members of the JTF in Borno state to assist in the fight against the insurgency was a global practice that allows volunteers to participate in restoring peace and order in different locations.

Boguma made the statement in Maiduguri on Thursday while responding to the Army’s recruitment of 400 civilian members of the JTF.

“These unarmed militias have been trained and entrusted by the Army; they have been at the forefront of the counterinsurgency struggle; Ideally, the Army should recruit them into its operations if it wants to effectively fight the insurgency, ”he said.

He said the Army was supposed to recruit at least 2,000 volunteers considering the number of ideal young men willing to join the fight, adding that the recruitment of civilian members of the JTF was not a regional Army recruitment ploy as would do the engaged. It will only be used for the duration of the operation against the insurgents.

“I know that there is currently recruitment in the armed forces; the addition of these willing volunteers is only for the purpose of the Boko Haram struggle. They will disconnect as soon as peace and security are restored, ”he added.

Boguma said that with the wave of insecurity in the country, it would be prudent for the Army to hire healthy volunteers from the affected states to combat such crimes, adding: “There are kidnappings in the country; and there is banditry in the northwest; pipeline vandalism in the South-South; The Army must involve volunteers from these affected areas, who know the terrain very well, so that they are at the forefront of the fight, so that they can achieve the desired result. “

He noted that the Army had been overloaded as a result of the multiple operations it was carrying out in the country, adding that it was slow in recruiting the civilian JTF members who had contributed to the restoration of relative peace in the majority. of the local government areas of the state of Borno. for his vast knowledge of the terrain.

Nigeria at war in Borno, says ACF

However, the pan-north socio-political organization, the Arewa Consultative Forum, said that the recruitment of 400 civilian JTF members into the army was normal in a war situation.
ACF National Advertising Secretary Emmanuel Yawe told one of our correspondents in an interview in Kaduna on Thursday: “We are in a war situation in Borno.”

Yawe said that during Nigeria’s civil war, many citizens were drafted into the army, adding that some even received military ranks, but after the war, they were disbanded.
The ACF spokesperson stated: “We are in a war situation in Borno. What you do on the war front should not be compared to peacetime or decisions made in a peaceful environment. He embarks on mandatory military service and field promotion on the war front. All of these are not normal military traditions. “

Army spokesman Colonel Sagir Musa did not respond to questions about the recruitment of 400 JTF civilians into the Nigerian army and whether there were any plans to extend the same gesture to members of the self-defense groups in other parts of the country.

Source: – Punch ng