A coalition of Igbo youth groups has tasked the Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinnaya Abaribe to ensure that the Armed Forces Commission bill rejected by the red chamber, is reviewed and returned for consideration.
The group, a coalition of Igbo Progressive Youths Worldwide (CIPYW) has also commended the Senate Minority Leader for sponsoring the bill that seeks to address the composition of security chiefs by the President to reflect the Federal Character.
The bill had generated controversy on the floor of the Senate as lawmakers were divided on some of its provisions.
But the coalition in a statement signed by its National President, Dr Chijioke Uba and National Secretary, Mrs Ngozi Anosike, said the bill came at a time of worsening insecurity in Nigeria and deserved all the support needed for its passage.
The group has now advised Senator Abaribe to subject the proposal to more legislative work and consultations, review its content and ensure that it is represented to the Senate for deliberation.
The progressive youths warned against further frustration of the bill, which it argued, will cure the imbalance that has characterised the security arrangement in the country.
It appealed to stakeholders in the security sector, including non-governmental and civil society organisations, religious groups, as well as security experts to support the legislation.
The group said the creation of an Armed Forces Commission will ensure that the federal character principle, which stipulates balance in sensitive appointments such as Service Chiefs, will be strictly adhered to.
They have also tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to review the purported “lopsided” appointment of Service Chiefs, which did not consider officers from the South-East.
The group wants the President to use the opportunity of the anticipated review of appointments, to bridge the trust deficit among Ndigbo, who perceive his administration as anti-South East.
“As progressive youths, we cannot but commend a true son of Igbo and top-ranking Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe, for being a prominent voice on the floor of the Red Chamber, as seen in his contributions to debates, motions as well as sponsorship of the people-centred bill.
“We note with particular attention the proposed bill seeking to establish the Armed Forces Commission, which hopes bring discipline to bear in the management of security affairs”, the statement noted.
“To our distinguished and illustrious Senator Abaribe, we urge you not to be deterred or discouraged, but to quickly go back to the drawing board, fine-tune the bill, and resubmit same for consideration and passage.
“Again, and in the interest of national unity, justice and equity, we reiterate our call for the review of the appointment of Service Chiefs, for purposes of including an officer of Igbo extraction, in accordance to the federal character principle.
“We invite Igbo sons and daughters – both home and in the diaspora to continue to work for a united, indivisible and progressive country, regardless of the feeling of alienation and exclusion,” they added