The upsurge in activities of bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and Boko Haram have put Northern Nigeria in a precarious position that could threaten its existence, Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said.
Boko Haram has continued to wreak havoc in the North East, kidnappers and armed bandits currently dominate most parts of North West and North Central, just as farmers herders clashes in Kaduna, Plateau, Kogi, Benue and Nasarawa states remain sensitive issues.
According to the Convener and Chairman of the Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, the North is under serious insecurity threat that could affect its existence with most states in the region currently threatened by one form of security issue or another, he this called for action from Federal Government and security agencies to ensure that the insecurity challenges are nipped in the bud before things get completely out of hand.
Addressing a selected media in Zaria at the weekend, the former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state noted that the security challenges in the region calls for comprehensive, decisive and fundamental government action against poverty, underdevelopment and particularly employment to address the situation.
“The Northern Elders Forum is alarmed and its members saddened by the recent cataclysmic collapse of security and the sanguinary and indeed colossal threat to life and property in many parts of Nigeria but more seriously in the North. 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 Nigeria in particular during these times and beyond. It will be recalled that we strongly engage President Goodluck Jonathan on the need to address the Boko Haram insurgency and even proffered solutions as far back as 2012. All our efforts seemed to have been vitiated by a weak political will and monumental political corruption.
“Today the North still lives under horrendous Boko Haram threats, a situation which has been aggravated by threats of banditry, kidnappings, armed robbery, youth gangs, herders and farmers’ mini wars and seemingly overwhelmed or indifferent governments.
“Large swathes of territory in our region are now effectively bandit land. Agriculture, our pride and national economic comparative advantage, the greatest employer of labour and leading contributor to Nigeria’s gross domestic product is in ruins as animal husbandry and crops and roots farming is in the throes of war and damage.
“Our rural folks live in perpetual fear of attack from sundry terrorist assailants without any reprieve. Our major highways and transportation systems are being abandoned as they have become death traps. We see in all these the cumulative effect of a region whose economy and people, especially the youths have been abandoned. A dangerous youth bulge is indeed a recipe for crime, violence and wars. We understand that poverty and underdevelopment can create a brutish and violent society.
“Nigeria has just emerged from a very challenging and harrowing set of elections. This experience should provide a strategic turning points in the manner that political leaders respond to a basic national challenges. 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 government action against poverty, underdevelopment and insecurity. We demand that President Buhari shows leadership and compassion which are the reciprocal expectations of the Nigerian people from their President. Should the citizens of the most populous black and African country and blessed with bounteous human and material resources be running away from bandits and criminals and become entangled in a causative web of crime, poverty, misery and underdevelopment?
“Without justifying the emigration of our people to other lands, we now see how and why our young men and women seek escape to Europe across the Sahara Desert to pursue menial jobs and perilous. We have the resources to build a better Nigeria and we the people of conscience have the will to insist that this happens,” the academic turned farmer added.