Presidency, Northern Elders Bicker Over Insecurity

Presidency, Northern Elders Bicker Over Insecurity

AREWA AGENDA – The Presidency, Northern Elders and the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF has engaged in war of words over the rising spate of insecurity in the country especially as it mostly affects the Northern Region.

Speaking yesterday, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Muhammed, said those saddled with the responsibility of protecting the people were not in charge. He said the governments at the federal and state levels in north lacked the political will to deal decisively and flush out the bandits and terrorists to end the attacks and address the security challenges faced by the nation.

This is coming on the heels of accusation by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, through its Convener, Magajin Rafin Zazzau, Professor Ango Abdullahi that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to tackle the situation, stating that the crisis is getting worse by the day.

He said the constant attacks by bandits and Boko Haram insurgents shows that the Buhari administration had failed woefully in terms of security and welfare of citizens.

“Recent escalation of attacks by bandits, rustlers and insurgents leave the only conclusion that the people of the North are now completely at the mercy of armed gangs who roam towns and villages at will, wreaking havoc,” Mr Abdullahi said.

“It would appear that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and governors have lost control over the imperatives of protecting people of the North, a constitutional duty that they swore to uphold.

“The situation is getting worse literally by the day as bandits and insurgents appear to sense a huge vacuum in political will and capacity which they exploit with disastrous consequences on communities and individuals. As a responsible body, the forum has joined millions of others in prayers and in giving advice and encouragement to all authorities that have responsibility to protect our communities.

“It is now time to say, enough is enough. Our people are known for their patience and respect for constituted authorities, but all governments must be aware by now that all Northerners have been pushed to the wall. The forum is aware that some citizens are contemplating peaceful protests, which are their constitutional rights, to draw attention of President Buhari and all levels of authority to the plight of people of the North.

“Our current circumstances in the North clearly demonstrate that President Buhari’s administration has woefully failed to achieve either.This is unacceptable. We demand an immediate and comprehensive improvement of our security in the North. We are tired of excuses and verbal threats which criminals laugh at, and our fellow citizens see as a clear failure of leadership which they see as part of them. Enough is enough.”

The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, in a tweet yesterday, asked the Federal Government to take affirmative action against insecurity in the north and the nation at large, saying condemnation was not enough.

“The killing in the North by bandits or Boko Haram in whatever guise they are called is unacceptable. Government must, beyond condemnation, take an immediate and more comprehensive action to stop the bloodshed. ACF calls on government in strong term, to act now.”

However, reacting last night, the Presidency described the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, as a mere irritant and featherweight group without credible membership.

The Presidency in a statement issued by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, likened NEF to a General without troops.

“We are not surprised by this latest statement by Prof. Abdullahi, and our past position on what his group represents remains unchanged: a mere irritant and featherweight.”

“The former vice chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum (NEF). Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders. But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF.”

Before the 2019 presidential election, the one-man army called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Buhari, and its preference for another candidate. They all got beaten together.

“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation.

“They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything,” Mr Adesina said without addressing the worsening security situation.

Arewa Agenda is a publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards National Development and Peaceful Coexistence through positive narratives.