PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been attacked by the Northern Elders Forum (Nef) over his administration’s inability to address the ongoing insecurity that is ravaging the northern part of the country.
Over the last fortnight about 50 people are reported to have been killed in Zamfara State as the growing banditry there continues to escalate. With gold deposits recently discovered in the state, the mining of these minerals is thought to be fuelling the crisis and in response, the federal government has suspended all mining activities for the time being.
In southern Kaduna State, the ongoing communal violence between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farming communities has also claimed more lives this week. With the violence spiralling out of control, President Buhari returned from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates a day earlier than scheduled last week to address the crisis.
Reacting to the crisis, Nef chairman Professor Ango Abdullahi called on President Buhari to demonstrate a higher level of concern and sensitivity to the plight of traumatised citizens, especially in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue, Niger, Plateau and Taraba states. Apart from the presidency, the Nef also slammed other tiers of government for failing to address and arrest the abject poverty and under-development in the country.
Professor Abdullahi said: “There is serious irresponsibility of governance in the country, especially in the north as the leadership is not doing enough to meet up the challenges of poverty and under-development. We also demand a decisive, comprehensive and fundamental government actions against poverty, under-development and insecurity affecting north as well as show leadership and compassion which are reciprocal expectation of the Nigerian people.”
According to the Nef, the recent report of an international organisation revealed that 90% of the over 13.5m children out-of-school in the country were from the north. Professor Abdullahi expressed sadness that instead of development, northern states were living under horrendous Boko Haram threats, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, marauding youth gangs, herders and farmers clashes.
He added: “The children will be adults in the next 10 years, no education, no vocational training, what do you expect then? It has become imperative for the forum to call President Buhari to respond to threats faced by northern Nigerians following incessant killings in some states.”