From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said President Muhammadu Buhari does not understand the magnitude of insecurity in the north.
Its spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmad, who made the statement, yesterday, argued that the president does not show commitment and willingness to address security situations as quickly as possible.
In an interview on the sideline of northern governors meeting he said: “The state of security in the north, 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 willing to address this insecurity issues, we hear everyday that the police are doing their best , military are doing their best, unfortunately their best is not good enough. The person who swore with Quran to protect the north is the President and what we see on ground does not show committed.
“We are in a dangerous situation, we don’t know what the solutions are, we have never had a situation this bad. The Federal Government clearly is unable to protect northern communities, governors are trying their best, but they don’t have control over police, the military and they are desperate too. We see the efforts of the Federal Government, but it is not enough; bandits, kidnappers kidnapping children from schools, threatening education in the north. We have enough problem with poverty. Nobody appears to know the difference between poverty and insecurity. If governors cannot agree on strategies in dealing with herders, bandits and kidnappers then what do you want citizens to do? This is not good enough. They must find a way they can settle and talk to us as our leaders. We don’t have any other leader in the north; it is them and President Buhari”
On how to end insecurity, Baba-Ahmad said: “It doesn’t look as if President Buhari knows how deeply insecured the north is. The second thing is for them to improve security, we know they are governors but there are things they can give to our people, it is not acceptable for them to just say sorry we don’t have police, we don’t have soldiers, there are various ways they can do these things. So, we challenge them to do that. The third advice is to improve the manner they protect northern communities in the south and all over the country. Our people are exposed, they are vulnerable, it is our governors who should engage other governors in the southern part.
“We want southerners to live in the north, we want them to live in peace, but they must stop harassing northerners. This is not the way this country was. We want our governors to do whatever is necessary for all citizens to live in peace in the south. We don’t want them to come back to the north.”
“We agree on multi-positive approach to deal with insecurity. If there are bandits who are willing to stop what they are doing and assure genuine interest to stop what they are doing, we support discussing with them. There is no way you can close the door to amnesty.