The North, In A Dangerous Situation
… FG Unable to Protect Northern
Communities – Akeem Baba Ahmed
Kaduna, North – West, Nigeria
The Publicity Secretary, Northern Elders Forum, Akeem Baba Ahmed has described the situation in the north as dangerous.
With banditry, kidnapping becoming the order of the day, there is more expected from the federal government.
The federal government has failed in protecting the northern communities.
The north he lamented has not had it so bad.
These were his views while fielding questions from journalists shortly after the Northern Governors, Traditional Rulers and Security Chiefs meeting held today at Council Chambers, Sir Kashim Ibrahim House Kaduna.
According to him,
“The state of the North is in a dangerous situation. We have never had a situation this bad.
We don’t know where the solutions are, the federal government clearly is unable to protect the northern communities. The governors are trying their best. They have no control over the police, they have no control over the military. And they are desperate too because we keep telling them, people look up to them. And governor in turn say, what do you want us to do?
They don’t have the authority of the federal government.
“We see efforts of the federal government but is not enough. Banditry, kidnapping is getting worse.
Now the kidnappings of children from schools is threatening education in the north.
We have enough problem with poverty.
“Nobody appears to know the connection between poverty and insecurity , so, we are in a very serious situation , when the governors ask us to make a comment, we advised them in 3 areas.
First, they must stop quarrelling between themselves; Governors don’t quarrel , leaders don’t quarrel if you have issues settle it among yourselves , if you Governors cannot agree on strategies on dealing with herders , if you can’t agree on how to deal with bandits and kidnappers then what do you want us as citizens to do ? This is not good enough they must find a way they can settle the agreement and talk to us as our leaders, we don’t have any other leaders in the north it is them and President Buhari and it doesn’t look as if President Buhari knows how deeply insecure the north is , we told them to stop quarrelling.
“The second thing we told them to do is for them as northern governors to devise ways to improve the security of the north, we know they are governors but there are things they can do to give to our people a little bit of security. It is not acceptable for them to just say sorry we don’t have police, we don’t have soldiers , there are devises and means various ways which they can do these things so we challenge them to do that.
“The third advice we gave them is to improve the manner they protect northern communities in the south and all over the country.
“Our people are exposed, they are vulnerable. They still come under threats and attacks and this is not acceptable.
It is our governors who should engage other governors in the southern part of the country, draw their attention to dangers of what some community leaders and some individuals are doing to northerners and prevent a situation whereby some northerners will want to do same to southerners.
“We want the north to continue to harbor southerners. We want southerners to live in the north. We want them to live in peace. We want them to live the way they lived before but they are harassing northerners. This is not the way we want this country. We want our Governors to do whatever that is necessary for all our citizens to live in peace in the south, we don’t want them to come back to the north.
On way forward and his take on the issue of amnesty, he said,
“Northern Elders Forum agree on multi- positive approach to deal with situations. If there is a bandits who is willing to stop what he is doing and shows genuine interest to stop what he is doing , we support discussing with them.
“There is no way you can close the door to amnesty. If that is the only way you can deal with it.
We do not encourage criminality , we do not say forgive a criminal if the criminal wants to continue to commit criminal acts but we support Gumi initiative but where we draw the line is, we must never give them the impression that criminals should just simply be pardoned and they will continue committing crime that is not what we are saying.
Still lamenting he said,
“We do not see evidence that President Muhammadu Buhari as the President and Commander in chief of armed forces understand the magnitude of insecurity in the north or has the commitment and willingness to address this insecurity issues, we hear everyday that the police are doing their best , military are doing their best, unfortunately either the public is much bigger than their capacity or their best is not good enough ,either way, the person who swore with Quran to protect the northerner is the President and Commander in Chief of armed forces and what we see on ground does not suggest that we are protected. He added.