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Presidency, northern elders at war over insecurity in the north ~ Truth Reporters

The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, yesterday urged the Federal Government and Northern governors to take urgent action against the high rate of insecurity in the north.

NEF stated that President Muhammadu Buhari and the northern governors have lost control in protecting the people of the region.

According to NEF, Northern governors appear not capable of upholding the constitutional duty they swore to protect the lives and property of the people.

Chairman of the Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, who stated this in a statement yesterday, said NEF was concerned about the rising insecurity in northern communities.

The statement read: ‘’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.

“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. Bandits and insurgents appear to sense a huge vacuum in political will and capacity which they exploit with disastrous consequences on communities and individuals.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the people of the North have never experienced this level of exposure to criminals who attack, kill, maim, rape, kidnap, burn villages and rustle cattle, while President Buhari issues threats and promises that have no effect.

“The situation under which our communities from Kogi to Borno states, from Sokoto to Taraba states live is no longer tolerable. 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.

“The Forum urges all citizens to conduct themselves in peaceful and responsible manner, and urges governments to respect the rights of citizens to express their opinions peacefully. The Forum is also consulting other groups and organizations which share its goals and concerns to lend our voices to the demands for action and relief from the unremitting assaults on our lives and livelihood as Northerners.

“The Forum reminds President Muhammadu Buhari that provision of security and pursuit of economic welfare of citizens are the only two constitutional responsibilities of the state which all leaders must achieve. 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.’’

On their part, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, in a tweet yesterday, called on the Federal Government to take affirmative action against insecurity in the north and the nation at large, adding that 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, into their reaction last night, the Presidency described the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, as a mere irritant and featherweight group without credible membership.

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

The statement read:  “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. It is a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.

“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.”

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