Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Few months after northern governors as well as the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, kicked against the formation of a security outfit, known as Shege-Ka-Fasa, supposedly for the North by a Coalition of Northern Group (CNG), it has suffered another setback as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has denied its registration.
However, the group vowed to explore all legal means until the security outfit is duly registered by CAC, saying that the Attorney General of the Federation has been intimated on the development.
In the wake of unveiling Shege-Ka-Fasa, in February, the northern governors, the Sultan, Middle Belt Forum, reacted, saying they were not part and parcel of the security outfit because it was not conceived by the leadership of the entire region, but by some insignificant individuals.
But what appeared like the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the latest denial by the CAC to register the security outfit, citing: “Name misleading with the word security.”
In a CAC’s reply to the coalition’s application for registration, the commission through one of its officials, Omekwe Paul Kode, dated March 9, 2020, said: “Notice of Denial: The CAC regrets to inform you that it was unable to approve any of the name(s) submitted for approval”.
However, addressing journalists over the issue on Saturday, the spokesman for the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said the group will head to court to challenge the denial by CAC.
Suleiman pointed out that if a security outfit owned by South West region could be legally registered, he wondered why similar security outfit in the North should not be registered too.
He said: “The CNG takes strong exception to the refusal by the CAC to register the proposed Northern Nigeria Security Initiative via their letter of denial dated March 09, 2020 on the grounds that the word “security” is misleading. We find it contradictory for the CAC to accept to register the Western Nigerian Security Network and at the same time reject another application with a similar title from the North.
“The Corporate Affairs Commission should note that, we at the CNG are conversant with the provisions of the Company and Allied Matters Act that make allowance for consent of the CAC Registrar General in such cases.
“In pursuit of our right under the above provision, therefore, we applied for the consent of the Registrar General, CAC, in a letter dated March 18, 2020 which was duly received by the Registrar’s office same day.
“As a further step, we have written to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation intimating him of the stages we have taken.
“For the avoidance of doubt, CNG is hereby giving notice of its readiness to seek legal redress in the Court of Law in the event the relevant authorities insist on denying our constitutional right to registration.
“While the general northern population has completely embraced the move, the CAC has turned down the request for registration of Northern Nigerian Security Initiative.
“This unfolding scenario has compelled the CNG to invariably conclude that some laws only apply to select sections of the country and not meant to be enjoyed by other sections of the same country.
“This suspicion is confirmed when a Western Nigeria Security Network that encompasses the Amotekun security outfit was registered under the same law, by the same commission that will not recognize a similar request from northern Nigeria.
“Lately, Nigerians have come to terms with the sad reality of the deteriorating national security in which large populations, particularly in northern Nigerian communities have become exposed to severe insecure conditions that have taken a huge toll on lives and properties with only weak and ineffective responses from government.
“While those in authority remain helpless, unwilling, incapable and overwhelmed, the need for citizen action began to manifest across the nation with organized regional self-protection initiatives.
“In the North, a docile section of the ruling elite, as usual remained complacent while the vulnerable population is being decimated and citizens exposed to terror, fear and uncertainties.
“With the upsurge of wanton killings and destructions by an unchecked banditry, kidnappings, rampant drug abuse, decade-old terrorist insurgency, sectarian/communal violence and general restiveness that take a huge toll on the region’s population, social cohesion and economy, the Coalition of Northern Groups unveiled a voluntary regional security initiative codenamed “Shege Ka Fasa” in Kaduna, in February 2020.
“While the general northern public welcomed the initiative as the only sure way of complimenting the weak and insufficient national security efforts, quite predictably, the complacent section of the elite represented by state governors and a section of traditional and cultural leaderships kicked against it without suggesting an alternative.
“The CNG, despite and in spite of the discordant opposition by that reactionary section of northern elite, found justification to fight on for the actualization of Shege Ka Fasa.
“The attacks, destructions, and terror have continued unabated with hundreds of lives lost, communities sacked, thousands displaced, dozens abducted, economic and social activities crushed all over the states of the North.
“While the pervading terror and condition of fear persist, the northern governors and leaders of traditional institutions appear more engrossed with their individual self-preservation in power.
“That the Sultan of Sokoto, in his rhetoric opposition to the CNG initiative had inadvertently exposed the inconsistencies of the northern governors by neglecting to act on several recommendations made to them in the past.
“The CNG wishes to task the Sultan on how if, he, as the paramount leader of the northern traditional institution, would make recommendations that are ignored by the state governors, should expect us to consult them over the same issue and expect a positive result.
“On his expressed fear that we represent a threat by youths to seize power from their generation, we ask the Sultan if he reasonably expects us to continue risking the future of this and coming generations of northerners at the mercy of those leaders who refused to accept and act on his suggestions.”
“The Sultan also chided the CNG for displaying what according to him were just three vehicles without telling the world the amount he has ever contributed towards ensuring security for the people he leads.
“Finding justification in the governors’ unwillingness to act to secure the region as exposed by the Sultan, coupled with the expression of solidarity and encouragement by all sections of the northern population and the responsible section of the elite and elders, CNG went ahead to seek official recognition by exploring all available legal windows.
“By now the entire northern public has seen sufficient reasons not to trust their elected governments after having proved that they are not concerned with their welfare and security.
We find it ridiculous that several months after the governors had rejected the Shege Ka Fasa initiative, are still unable to come up with an alternative security arrangement while the killings go on, including attacks on schools and abduction of school children.
“Evidently, they are only fixated with the struggle for personal political ascendancy in the coming round of fresh elections that is still three years away.
“We assure the northern public that we shall not relent in the effort for pursuing all available options to secure the necessary legal documentation for the take off this regional security initiative.
We call on the public to continue to show restraint and to liaise with CNG state officials to step up onmobilization and sensitization”.