From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CONEPD) says that Northern Nigeria is under siege by Boko Haram, declaring that it would take the zone over a 100 years to recover from the scourge of banditry, kidnapping, rampant killings and psychological trauma.
Aside from lamenting that the situation has grounded the educational, economic and socio-political activities in the region, the group appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to sack the federal service chiefs and appoint fresh minds to redeem the zone from the perennial pains inflicted by bandits and their sponsors.
CONEPD National Coordinator Engr Zana Goni, in a statement, warned that if the onslaught continues, his organisation would mobilise Nigerians from other parts of the country to thwart the fortunes of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections.
‘We wish to confirm that the entire North is still under siege from Boko Haram, banditry, Kidnaping and other forms of criminality. This ugly security situation we noticed, has been underreported. We are concerned over this poor media coverage by the media,’ the statement read.
‘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 the president 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.
‘From what is on the ground, it would take the North East more than 100 years to recover even if the war stops today.
‘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, fearing our concerns of severe famine if the situation is not immediately addressed.
‘Also, markets, buying and selling besides other economic activities have been brought to a total halt as a result of the 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,’ he said.
Goni hailed the appointment of the former Military Administrator of Lagos State, General Buba Marwa as Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), describing it as a step in the right direction.
‘We express our profound gratitude to the president for the appointment of our son, General Buba Marwa as the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
‘We must confess that it is a right step in the right direction because drug abuse is one of the major banes of security in the North. We know his pedigree and we are sure he would deliver on his mandate.
‘We kindly appeal to Mr President to equally and urgently restructure the entire security architecture so as to give the war against insurgence a big boost.
‘Until we change the security architecture, nothing meaningful will be achieved in the war against insecurity.’
He stressed further: ‘We also wish to 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 Mr President’s continued refusal to listen to Nigerians on the restructuring of the security architecture is rapidly threatening the chances of APC in 2023 and urgent steps need to be taken to restore public confidence in the party.
‘Mr President, we in the North are the backbone of your party and if nothing is done soonest to address the issue of insecurity on our land, we will have no choice than to begin to mobilize against APC come 2023.
‘The current service chiefs have tried so far but it is obvious they are now bereft of new ideas and zeal to change the game against adversaries, hence the need for them to leave the centre state of our security management thus giving younger officers with fresh and innovative ideas on emerging security problems to come in.’