Okwe Obi, Abuja
Pan-Arewa socio-political organisation, Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), has urged Northerners whose properties were destroyed as a result of the #EndSARS in the South-South, South-East and South-West region of the country, to compile the list for compensation.
The Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said in a statement after a stakeholders meeting, that the Forum would engage northern governors to speak to their counterparts in the affected region to carry out the compensation.
Baba-Ahmed also maintained that Northerners would continue to welcome people from all parts of the country living and earning a legitimate living in the North, but warned that deliberate targeting of the people could have serious repercussions.
“We also raised concerns over attacks on Northerners and their assets and places of worship in many parts of the South.
“While we appealed to Northerners to stay put and compile records of their losses of lives, injuries and assets, we invited attention to the dangers of singling out people from particular parts of the country or of particular faith for attacks.
“Northerners will continue to welcome people from all parts of the country living and earning a legitimate living in the North, but we have to warn that deliberate targeting of people could have very serious repercussions for all communities in the country.
“We demand that our governors must engage their counterparts in the South to improve their responses to the plight of our people. We expect that losses suffered by Northerners will be redeemed by those who have an obligation to do so,” he said.
The Spokesman expressed “disappointment that the meeting organised in Kaduna with Northern Governors, high-level federal government officials and traditional rulers barely made mention of the insecurity of our communities in the North.
“That meeting missed a historic opportunity to acknowledge that Northern communities are in dire need of improved security, and to give firm and specific assurances that our leaders care about Northern lives and will take steps to protect us.”
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, he said the region would not cave in blackmail and intimidation to make jettison its interest.
“The Forum is aware of attempts to weaken the North by interests that believe that this is their only path to success in the 2023 elections. These interests should know that the North will neither be blackmailed nor intimidated, and we are quite capable of identifying and protecting our own interests. Some of these interests seek to exploit our plural nature and deepen what they see as divisions.
“They will fail because northerners know that what unites us is a lot stronger than what divides us. Others create the impression that the North is opposed to the country being restructured along lines that will improve the quality of our union, ensure higher standards of justice, better security and progress for all Nigerians. These too will fail.
“The North is ready to discuss all elements of our co-existence, but will not be stampeded into submitting to other interests who feel uncomfortable with a strong and united North, or blackmailing us to adopt their versions of our future,” he said.