The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed dismay over the rising spate of insecurity in northern Nigeria and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to show more concern and sensitivity to the plight of the people in the region.
At a press briefing by the Arewa elders, NEF’s convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said it is alarmed and its members saddened by what it called recent cataclysmic collapse of security, and colossal threat to life and property in many parts of Nigeria but more seriously in the North.
He said, “We at NEF cannot in good conscience, remain silent as criminal activities and bloodletting escalate in Nigeria and our region. We have sadly lived with unfortunate violence in the last few years but this should not continue or escalate.
“It would be irresponsible for us to refrain from calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to decisively respond to the existential threats faced by northern Nigerians in particular during these times and beyond.
“NEF as a matter of social responsibility and tradition, would never shy away from speaking truth to power, irrespective of the partisan, sectional or whatever constellation of political power in the nation.”
The northern elders said while the North still lives under horrendous Boko Haram threats, the situation has been aggravated by threats of banditry, kidnappings, armed robbery, marauding youth gangs, herders and farmers mini-wars, and seemingly overwhelmed or indifferent governments.
They noted that large swathes of territory in the north are now effectively bandits’ land while agriculture is in ruins.
They said they see in all these the cumulative effect of a region whose economy and people, especially the youth have been abandoned.
The elders warned that a dangerous youth bulge is indeed a recipe for crime, violence and wars stressing that poverty and underdevelopment can create a brutish and violent society.
“We hereby demand that President Buhari demonstrates higher levels of concern and sensitivity to the plight of traumatized citizens in the country, especially in the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue, Niger, Plateau, Taraba and virtually the entire North.
“We demand for decisive, comprehensive and fundamental governmental action against poverty, underdevelopment and insecurity.
“Above all, we demand that President Buhari shows leadership and compassion which are the reciprocal expectations of the Nigerian people from their President,” they stated.
The NEF described as adhoc afterthoughts recent measures taken by the government to curb the security threats like banning mining in Zamfara saying illegal mining have been going on in different parts of the country and have nothing to do with the rising spate of insecurity in the north.