Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD) has cried out in alarm that the Northern part of the country is under siege by Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers, whose criminal activities have grounded educational, economic and socio-political activities in the region.
The elders, who claimed the ugly situation is being under-reported by media, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to device new approach to restoring peace in the troubled area.
They reiterated their call on Buhari to urgently sack the service chiefs and totally restructure the nation’s security architecture.
According to the elders, it would take the region over 100 years to recover from destruction, killings and trauma associated with the insecurity in the region if the development is not brought under total control now.
In a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by National Coordinator CNEPD, Zana Goni, the coalition said the situation in the region was not getting any better. They threatened to mobilise Nigerians from other parts of the country against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections if their demands for the administration to stop the killings in their region through adoption of new approach is ignored.
They, however, hailed the appointment of former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Gen. Buba Marwa as Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Noting that drug abuse is one of the major causes of insecurity in the north, CNEPD urged the new NDLEA boss to be more decisive with drugs peddlers, with a view to ending the menace not only in the region but also in other parts of the country.
“We confirm that the entire North is still under siege from Boko Haram terrorism, banditry, kidnaping and other forms of criminality. This ugly security situation, we noticed, has been underreported. We are concerned over this poor media coverage.
“The inability of the service chiefs to change the game against terrorists, bandits and kidnappers threatening the continued existence of the region despite the heavy investment made by Federal Government so far to ensure restoration of peace, is no doubt worrisome to us. We believe wholeheartedly too, that this development is a source of great concern to all patriotic Nigerians out there.”
CNEPD lamented: “As we write this to present our plight to the public, there is no school opened to academic activities in the region, except perhaps in Maiduguri metropolis of Borno State. Farmers can’t go to farms anymore, especially in the North East, fueling our concerns of severe famine if the situation is not immediately addressed.
“Also, buying and selling, besides other economic activities, have been brought to a total halt by activities of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers. There is equally no social activities anymore in the region as people preferably stay in their various houses now to avert being prowled on by the adversaries.”
On the plan to move against APC should their demand not heeded, the elders said: “We remind Mr. president that for you to be successful and an accomplished president, your party should succeed you when you take a bow.
“Nigerians should be happy to vote for your party, but your continued refusal to listen to Nigerians on the restructuring of the security architecture is rapidly threatening the chances of APC in 2023. Urgent steps need to be taken to restore public confidence in the party.
“We in the North are the backbone of your party and if nothing is done soonest to address the issue of insecurity in our land, we will have no choice than to begin to mobilise against APC come 2023.”
First published in The Guardian