Measures taken to combat insecurity hurting North, NEF warns




In a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja, Sunday, signed by NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Forum said that, “these measures represent virtual economic and social lockdowns on people who had been at the mercy of criminals for a long time and will merely add to the misery and hopelessness of our communities.”


The statement further reads: “Northern Elders Forum is closely following the condition of many Northern communities that have become particularly vulnerable to attacks and abuse by bandits, kidnappers and related organized criminals.


“Measures being taken by some state governments such as suspension of weekly markets, restrictions on sale of petrol, closure of schools and some roads, curfews, movement of cattle and plans to restrict communication will compound the desperate conditions of living of many communities in the North.


“While it will be unhelpful to criticize these measures without adequate knowledge of their potentials to relieve the desperation under which people live, it is important nevertheless to demand that those who have powers to impose them also have clear ideas over what they could achieve and when.


“These measures represent virtual economic and social lockdowns on people who had been at the mercy of criminals for a long time. Unless they are accompanied by an aggressive and effective assault on the banditry and kidnapping industry, they will merely add to the misery and hopelessness of our communities.


“Worse, they could further embolden the bandit and the kidnappers when it becomes clear that governments and security agencies cannot go beyond lockdowns on communities. 


“Communities themselves will lose even more faith in the capacity of the Nigerian State to respond to their desperate circumstances.The perception that communities are on their own must never be allowed to take deeper roots, but it will, when people see only the bandit and the kidnapper winning.  “The Forum calls on the federal government to assist states to relieve communities that are now living under additional pressures. State governments imposing additional hardships on communities must know that the measures they are introducing must produce tangible results within a period that makes them meaningful and tolerable.”