Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation minister, has advised the Defence Headquarters of the Nigerian Military to tackle insecurity rather than engage him in a war of words.
The former minister stated this in a statement on Sunday while responding to the reaction of the military to his outburst on rising insecurity, particularly the recent jailbreak in Kuje.
Mr Fani-Kayode in a now viral video clip lampooned the military for not doing enough to secure the country. The All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain, who called on service chiefs to resign, alleged that troops, stationed at the attacked prison facility where he was detained in the past, were withdrawn hours before violent members of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) struck, freeing hundreds of inmates, including over 60 of their detained members.
Denying the allegation of withdrawing its personnel before the attack in a statement by its spokesman, Jimmy Akpor, a major general, the Defence Headquarters said the controversial politician is unaware of whose duty it is to guard prison facilities.
Mr Akpor, who went ahead to describe the former minister as a rabble-rouser, cautioned the minister against attempting to “cause division and rivalry amongst all Government Agencies that have been working collaboratively in addressing issues of insecurity in the country.”
The image maker of the military denied it received intelligence report from the State Security Service (SSS) as alleged by the politician, before the attack.
Previous attacks where the minister accused the military of complicity were also discountenanced.
“Finally, in a miserable attempt to malign the leadership of the military, Mr Kayode gave the impression that, while junior military commanders and non-commissioned officers are working hard, senior commanders are doing nothing. This is sheer ignorance and nothing more. Mr Kayode is completely oblivious of the fact that in the military, orders, instructions and directives are issued from the hierarchy to the lower rungs of command. Therefore, junior commanders cannot be working hard while their superiors are idle,” part of the statement reads.
Replying in a statement reproduced on his website, the minister advised the military to work harder if they do not want to be criticised.
“If you do not want to be criticised then work harder. If you do not want people to demand for your sacking or resignation then do your job and stop seeking to intimidate, attack, discredit or undermine those that criticise you,” the politician advised. “I am not an enemy of the military but rather a true friend who is candid and courageous enough to speak the bitter and plain truth even where others dare not. I am merely saying what millions are thinking and know. Again I am merely a concerned citizen who is genuinely worried about the way things are going in our country when it comes to security and other matters.
“When the leadership of our Armed Forces have got it right on past occassions I have commended their gallantry, professionalism and courage and this is on record. Given this when they do not rise up to the occassion and their performance is below expectation I reserve the right to criticise them, point out their shortcomings and call for their resignation or removal.
“That is the way things work in a nation which prides itself on free speech and given the fact that this is a democracy with laws and a constitution. We are not a under a military dictatorship and the Military High Command or Defence Headquarters who speak for them cannot silence us or expect us to remain silent when they get things wrong.
“I believe that if they had any honor and integrity they would have resigned for their abysmal performance rather than spitting in the wind, beating their chests and pretending that all is well. Given the fact that they have refused to do this, I once again call on President Muhammadu Buhari, as I did in my video, to retire them and appoint Service Chiefs that can do the job properly and meet the expectations of Nigerians.
“For this I offer no apology and I stand by everything that I said in that video including the assertion that the leadership and rank and file of the DSS, NIA and NPF have continued to give the necessary intelligence, confront and tackle the terrorists and do their job as best as they can but the Military High Command have not. Others may be intimidated and compelled to remain silent but I will not.
“I would advise strongly that the military High Command and Defence Headquarters spends it’s time facing up to and fighting the terrorists that have turned our nation into a functional killing field and horrendous bloodbath and abattoir over the last few years and attempt to carry out their constitutional role of protecting us from enemies within and without rather than trying to engage me in a press war or cow me into silence,” he added.