The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has thrown its weight behind the call by a former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida for the federal government to equip the military with modern weapons and faulted the federal government's approach in handling the issues of defence, security and law and order.
The Forum urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to ensure that the advice by Babangida for equipping soldiers with modern weapons and training was not ignored.
Babangida had also noted that there were many other things politicians needed to do right to bring an end to the insecurity in the land.
Reacting, NEF's spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said "Under all circumstances, the advice of President Babangida should be accorded the highest consideration. '
"He is not given to advising presidents outside the most confidential settings. The substance of his advice, which acknowledges major deficiency in our military's capacities, is fairly well known, but few persons in his place have addressed them.
"It is an advice that must not be ignored because it reinforces the concerns that our military needs massive injections of additional technical, manpower and other professional requirements if it is to shoulder the increasing burdens it is being asked to shoulder.
"There are other related matters that should also be addressed. The need to re-invent policing and related agencies that should deal with internal security challenges is a major and urgent priority. So is corruption in all our defence, security and law and order institutions.
"There are major issues with our country's ability to procure weapons that our leadership is aware of. They must be addressed. We are talking about the foundations of our very existence as a country here, and the fact that leaders of the calibre of President Babangida are raising issues around them should alert the country over threats and our abilities to deal with them."