Major General Henry Ayoola (retired), former commander (Special Task Force), Operation Safe Haven in Jos, Plateau State, has stated that the government lacks the resolve to combat insecurity.
Friday’s Daily Sunrise breakfast programme on Channels Television had him discussing the Sunday terrorist attack on St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, and the broader security situation in the country.
At least 40 people were killed, according to Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, in an incident connected to the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Ayoola stated, “There is no way around the fact that we need an increase in all our security agencies, especially the armed forces, police, and even civil defence, who are the first responders to the majority of these situations.
“Both the military and the police are already stretched beyond their limits. Even if you have the best weaponry in the world, you still need individuals to handle them. These men must be adept at running the equipment and possess the skills necessary to use them successfully and efficiently.
“Only the federal government can make all of these [decisions]. Therefore, it boils down to the federal government giving this issue serious consideration. What you tolerate cannot be changed. I believe we have not dealt with this matter with sufficient determination.”
He said that when he was the commanding officer of operation Safe Haven, there was a standard deployment every Friday and Sunday to cover all the mosques and churches, but that it is difficult to do so now because insecurity has spread across the entire country and the armed forces and police are already stretched to their limits.
Christians and Muslims would feel more secure attending their places of worship if the government stationed security personnel there, he claimed.
Regarding the attack on Owo, the former general stated, “I warned about this before political activity began. I stated that the introduction of political activity would divert attention. And that if we do not implement some preventive measures before to engaging in politics, our adversaries will take advantage of this, as we have observed.
“The urgency is establishing a surge in armed forces and police as quickly as possible, conducting emergency recruitment and commissioning, acquiring additional equipment, and using technology to make up for some manpower shortages in some locations. All of these tasks must be accomplished simultaneously.”