The Prof Ango Abdullahi-led Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has risen from its meeting in Zaria with a verdict that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigeria.
It said that Buhari has failed to tackle insecurity and improve the economy.
The forum lamented that the Buhari-led government appeared helpless in finding solutions to insecurity as well as addressing poverty in the country.
Addressing Journalists shortly after the meeting convened by the Chairman of the forum, Prof Ango Abdullahi, yesterday, the forum’s Director, Advocacy and Engagements of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmad, said poverty, particularly in the North and massive social security have worsened under Buhari’s administration.
In attendance at the meeting were: Abdullahi, former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alamin Daggash (rtd); Secretary of the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdullahi Usman and Amb Yahaya Kwande; Deputy National Chairman of NEF, Alhaji Bello Kirfi (Wazirin Bauchi), DIG Labaran Wurno, Alhaji Yakubu Shehu and former MD, defunct Bank of the North, Hajiya Amina Yahaya, among others.
Baba-Ahmed stated categorically that NEF had before the 2019 elections, warned Nigerians that Buhari lacked the will, competence and commitment to lead the country into a secure and prosperous future.
While noting that the relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, the Northern Elders said, the current administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.
Speaking on the 2023 Presidential election, the forum said the North will only support candidate who can find solutions to problems bedevilling the region.
According to Baba-Ahmed: “Northern Elders Forum has refrained from comments on major developments relating to management of national security and governance because it is convinced that these are times which require the highest levels of responsibility and circumspection in the manner elders and leaders in the nation contribute to the search for solutions to the multiple problems which face the nation.
“It has become necessary and appropriate, however, to make public, the position of the forum on important matters that affect the manner Nigerians live, and the future we must address.
“The forum regrets that by any standard of judgement, the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation in the vital area of improving its security. Poverty, particularly in the North, and massive social security have worsened under this administration. The relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, but the administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.
“It gives the forum no pleasure to say that it had warned Nigerians that Buhari lacked the will, the competence and commitment to lead it into a secure and prosperous future before the 2019 elections.
“It is shocking that in spite of unprecedented consensus among Nigerians that the administration requires a new resolve, approach and leadership in the fight against the nation’s multiple security challenges, Buhari appears either totally isolated or in deep denial over the result of his failures to secure Nigerians.
“With this type of mind set, it is difficult to see how President Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation. Nonetheless, we believe that Nigerians must continue to raise our voices and organize through all legitimate means to demand that the administration addresses major failings in his perception of our situation and his response to our demands for our rights to security.
“The forum demands a thorough overhaul of the leadership of our security and public safety agencies, and the injection of higher levels of competence, integrity and accountability in the manner our troops and the police and security agencies deal with security challenges. We appeal to our religious leaders and fellow citizens not to fall into the trap of insurgents to set us up against each other.
“We condemn the tactic of targeting Christians and publicising their executions by an insurgency seeking to exploit our different faiths.
“We also condemn the murder of thousands of Muslims and Christians in communities which the insurgency has made permanent targets in the last decade. These are times when we must unite and resist a common enemy as well as demand that our leaders protect us all as Nigerians.
“In principle, the forum supports the idea of improving the policing capacities of the nation. It is important to emphasise, however, that all initiatives to improve public safety must find accommodation within our laws, and must not be designed to threaten or harass particular groups or interests. We recommend the adoption of a more vigorous and inclusive process which will result in the creation of acceptable frameworks and higher levels of confidence among all communities with respect to policing strategies.
“This forum extends its hand at any group or interest willing to discuss this important matter, and will utilize its entire assets to collaborate with other groups to achieve an understanding on the way forward. We advise all governments to exercise higher levels of restraint and responsibility in the manner they respond to the challenges of improving our security and safety.
“In this regard, the forum notes that the comments of the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), in response to the opinions of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar do not conform with the culture of respect and reverence for leaders which Northerners are noted for.
“The forum demands that the Chairman of BOT of Coalition of Northern Groups should apologise to His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto without reservations. The forum notes that His Eminence has many avenues for relating with the coalition, and urges him to continue with his close relations with the coalition and utilize his position to extract the maximum benefits which could accrue to the Northern community in his relations with the coalition.
“In moments of tension and stress, Nigerians tend to find easy solutions or scapegoats. This forum is concerned that the apparent resurgence of certain types of conflicts such as ethnic and farmers/herders clashes will have multiplier effects and cause damaging setbacks to the successes made in improving community relations. We appeal to governments and communities to commit further to living together in peace and earning a living within the ample resources we are blessed with.
“With due respect to the rights of the Lagos State Government to take decisions that improve the environment and public safety, we are constrained to draw attention to the impact of its policy on banning Okada and Keke in parts of the state on the poor and operators, many of them from the North, who earn honest living through this trade.
“We urge restraint in the responses of those who are immediately affected by this policy, while we urge Northern State Governments to mobilize and support the people who will be compelled to relocate back to the North with other sources of legitimate living.
“The forum had engaged a broad spectrum of opinion on the stress in relations between the palace of Sarkin Kano and the Government of Kano State. The forum is looking forward to engaging with His Excellency, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on this matter.
“We commend the maturity and restraint of all parties on this matter, and we join others in prayers that Allah will help us all to find a way out of this issue. We are aware of the outpouring of advise and contributions towards resolving these stresses, and we urge the governor and Sarkin Kano, the two people Allah has entrusted with huge leadership responsibilities today, to find a fair and lasting solution to this seeming problem.
“The forum has observed that political manoeuvres around the 2023 elections are targeting the North as a region available for exploitation. We want to make it clear that people of the North will be very careful in committing to persons seeking their support on the basis of their region or wealth.
“The North knows its interests, and will stand together to elect only persons who meet the standards and interests of the people of the North. No politician should assume that they are entitled to our support unless they show a clear understanding and a commitment to deal with our problems and meet our aspirations”.
Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has declared that no true Muslim would desecrate Islam by killing to satisfy God.
The ACF Secretary-General, Anthony Sani, made the remark, yesterday, in response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent remark that 90 per cent of Boko Haram victims are Muslims and not Christians.
In an exclusive chat with newsmen, Sani said Boko Haram was a common enemy of Nigerians and should be dealt with for the good of the country.
He said: “I do not have the exact figures as to how many Nigerians have been killed by the insurgence by religion but it is a known fact that most of Boko Haram sects are not only Muslims but are also people from North-East.
“The same with their victims most of whom are Muslims and from North-East, but I cannot know the exact proportion.”
Sani corroborated Buhari’s claim, stressing that Boko Haram was after what he termed “mundane things like political power.”
The ACF scribe noted that the terrorist group resort to religion is for strategic reasons.
He said: “The sects do not target only Christians but also Muslims whom they consider are not willing to adhere to their version of Islam, even though we all know Boko Haram is not pursuing any jihad but is in search of mundane things like political power.
“Their resort to religion is for strategic reasons and not pity meant to attract the gullible as canon fodders.
“That was why President Barack Obama once made a clear distinction between Islam and Islamic terrorism which desecrates Islam. No true Muslim can desecrate Islam by killing people for God Who does not need anybody to kill for Him.
“I want to believe Boko Haram is a common enemy to all Nigerians who should come together and unleash their synergistic potential against collective challenge for the good of all Nigerians regardless of creed and ethnicity.”
Wike Lifts Curfew On Parts Of Port Harcourt …Lifts Suspension Of Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Deputy …As RSG Moves To Implement Palliatives
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lifted the curfew imposed on Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road, and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba, effective, today.
Wike also lifted the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
He announced these decisions during a state broadcast, yesterday.
Wike said: “With effect from tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the 24 hours curfew imposed from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba has been lifted.
“All borders and markets in the state remain closed.
“Following the interventions of some well-meaning citizens of the state, the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area has been lifted.
“However, this should serve as a warning to local government chairmen and traditional rulers who will allow markets to be open in their areas.
“Residents of Mgbuosimini-Rumueme in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area are hereby warned to desist from flouting government directive on closure of markets or be prepared to face unpleasant consequences.
“Commercial vehicle operators will soon get appropriate directives on their operations in order to maintain social distancing”, the governor said.
Wike explained that his administration was working out palliative measures to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home directive.
He said: “Implementation of palliatives to cushion the effects of recent directives on the citizens will soon take effect.
“International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the state should support government by donating towards the containment of the virus”, he appealed.
The governor thanked Rivers people for their cooperation, saying, “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, let me sincerely thank all of you for your patience and understanding all these days.
“The sacrifices we are all making have greatly helped us not to record any positive case since the index case was reported.
“As we continue to put in our best as human beings, we expect that the Almighty God will intervene on our behalf and wipe away this plague from our midst.
“May I, therefore, urge you all to continue to seek the face of God as we earnestly await His divine intervention,” he added.
US, UK Diaspora Groups Hail Wike’s Measures Against COVID-19 Spread
Two Rivers groups based in the United States of America, Ikwerre Peoples Forum, and Rivers Development Forum, have commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for taking proactive measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
In separate press statements, yesterday, the two groups expressed satisfaction that the governor was committed to the protection of Rivers people through actions that have stopped the explosion of Coronavirus in the state.
The Chairman of Ikwerre Peoples Forum, USA, Mr Michael Ewule, said that after Lagos State, Rivers State was the next major hub in the country that can be accessed through air, land and sea.
He said that the determined efforts of Wike saved the state from the uncontrolled spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The forum stated that: “We have watched closely what is happening all around Nigeria, and we are happy that our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has worked hard to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
“We support the measures that have been taken by Governor Nyesom Wike to stop Coronavirus from killing our people. Worldwide, such measures have been taken by governments to stop Coronavirus”, the forum noted.
The group urged the Rivers State Government to continue to review the measures in line with new developments.
The forum stated that it was working with non-governmental organisations and faith-based groups in Rivers State to reach out to Rivers people with donations of hand sanitizers and face masks.
The group also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for setting up a world-class treatment centre, which was handling the index case in the state.
The IPF further lauded the Rivers State governor for mobilising health professionals, facilities and drugs to tackle the disease.
Similarly, the Chairman of Rivers Development Forum, USA, Piegbara Baridoma, said the union was happy with Governor Nyesom Wike for working for the people at this tough time.
He called on Rivers people to support the governor to keep the state healthy through the right measures.
Baridoma noted that the sensitization process by the Rivers State Government since the index case of Coronavirus in Nigeria was reported has helped to create awareness of the disease in the state.
He explained that because the people are aware, it would be easier for health professionals in the state to contain the disease.
Meanwhile, Rivers United Front, a Coalition of Rivers State Indigenes based in the United Kingdom has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for displaying pragmatic leadership in the fight against coronavirus.
In a statement issued by the President and the Secretary of the Group, Dr.Tubotamuno Mpaka and Mr. Kingsley Chimzi respectively, they stated that the proactive approach employed by the Governor has helped to contain the virus.
Lockdown: Open Food Reserve Centres Now, PDP Tells Buhari
Federal lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the House of Representatives have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately unlock the national food reserve agency and distribute items to Nigerians across the 774 local government areas.
This, they said, will curb the spate of hunger in the land amid the lockdown order to halt the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement issued by the parliamentarians under the umbrella name, “PDP House of Reps Caucus”, yesterday, signed by their leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State, PDP) and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the members said that available records indicated that compliance to total lockdown has not always been 100 per cent successful if the food question was not addressed.
While commending Buhari for the directive during his state broadcast last Sunday, the caucus, in the statement titled, “COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Further and Decentralized Action”, also asked the National Assembly to immediately enact a law for national food prices control.
The caucus said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on the emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year that strategic legal, policy and legislative responses have dovetailed into measures directed at curtailing or halting the pandemic.
“As members of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives, we have consistently called, and we still continue to call, for measured responses that take the poor economic conditions of Nigerians, the rights of citizens, the scaling up of the medicare framework, into account in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While many governors have stepped away from what Prof Wole Soyinka rightly described this week as an attempt to halt the spread of the pandemic virus by constitutional piracy, we note that the absence of a structured federal response, based on the dictates of the law, may have led them to ramp up measures outside the remit of their constitutional powers.
“The rule of law has now prevailed, and it is in this light we welcome some of the measures outlined in the President’s belated broadcast and in the Regulation (COVID-19 Regulation 2020) made pursuant to Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act; though the presidential broadcast and Regulation took a long time coming. Well, better late than never. While we find the measures largely satisfying, it is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
“Experiences through history have shown that citizens’ rights to movement are often heavily implicated when measures directed at halting the spread of contagious diseases and restoring public safety do not address the food question behind the curtains, worsening food security conditions.
“During the Ebola outbreak a few years ago, citizens of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone openly defied the restrictions that were imposed on movement to limit the transmission of the disease, after staying indoors for a few days in hunger. We must learn quickly from these experiences by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the Local government level. The President should as a matter of utmost urgency issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the Constitution 1999, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.
“The Executive Order must set out clear consequences for breach, particularly as they relate to public officials who seize on the times to make brisk businesses and gains from the miseries of the people.
“Other measures such as food prices control should be ramped up; though specific, targeted and temporary legislation on food prices control will be needed for enforcement. This is where the National Assembly comes in – by establishing a framework of teleconferencing and social media communication, where the current lockdown and the medical advisories that bar public gatherings make it impossible for the reconvening of the National Assembly, to deliberate and pass such bills, as the Food Prices Control, COVID-19 Containment, Emergency and Disaster Management, into law.”
Also commending the Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and the House for the timely passage of an emergency bill to provide palliatives and the donation of members’ of March and April, 2020 salaries to fight the disease, the opposition lawmakers, however, asked that their deductions be transferred directly to their constituencies, saying they had no confidence in the sharing formula of the government.
Niger Delta4 days ago
Returnee Nigerian Assaults Health Workers Over Self-Isolation
Featured4 days ago
FG Orders Abuja, Lagos, Ogun Lockdown …Suspends Operations Of Passenger Planes, Private Jets …Promises Relief Materials As Positive Cases Hit 111
Niger Delta4 days ago
Contractor Threatens To Shut Down Isolation Centre
Editorial4 days ago
No To Generator Ban Bill
Politics3 days ago
Wealthy Nigerians, Religious Groups Must Give Back To The People -Commissioner
Featured2 days ago
Join Fight To Defeat COVID-19, Wike Urges Rivers People …Extends Curfew To 24 Hours …Monitors Level Of Compliance
Business4 days ago
Dollar Sells For N402 As CBN Suspends Forex Sale
Politics4 days ago
Buhari, Jonathan, Others Congratulate Tinubu At 68