Northern elders have appealed to President Muhamadu Buhari to device a new approach to restore peace in the region considering that the current security situation in the area has grounded educational, economic and socio-political activities.
The elders, who reiterated their call for an urgent sack of service chiefs and a total restructuring of the nation’s security architecture, alleged that the region is under siege but was being underreported by the media.
The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, while analyzing the security situation in the area, claimed it would take over 100 years for the region to recover from the destruction, killings and trauma associated with the insecurity unless the situation is brought under total control immediately.
A statement by the Coalition’s National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, yesterday, maintained that it was time to try new hands in the security sector, since according to the elders; the situation in the region was not getting any better.
The elders also threatened to mobilize Nigerians from other parts of the country against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023, if the administration does not end the killings in the Northern region.
The coalition, however, applauded the appointment of the former military administrator of Lagos State, Gen Buba Marwa as the chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), describing it as a right step in the right direction.
While stressing that drug abuse is one of the instigators of insecurity in the North, the Northern elders tasked the new NDLEA boss to be more decisive with drugs peddlers.
“The inability of the service chiefs to change the game against terrorists, bandits and kidnappers threatens the existence of the region despite the heavy investment made by the president to ensure restoration of peace.
“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“, the statement said.
“Until we change the security architecture, nothing meaningful will be achieved in the war against insecurity,” it claimed.
“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 stage of security management to younger officers with fresh and innovative ideas on emerging security problems to come in”, the elders added.
Group Urges Police To Apologise To Protesters
The Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), has asked the Nigeria Police to apologise for violating the fundamental right of the protesters to freedom of expression.
A statement by the human rights group yesterday, by its Interim Chair, Femi Falana (SAN), also accused the police of deliberately contravening Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020.
The section provides that “Where a person or organization notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilize personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.”
The group noted that Section 36 of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression including the right to protest against policies of the government.
Many Nigerians in many states across the country trooped out on Saturday, June 12 to mark the day– Democracy Day – with protests against bad governance.
The protesters chanted ‘Buhari must go’ in apparent dissatisfaction with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government that has seen security, economy, youth employment rate and some other sectors and indices worsen.
However, there were arrests and harassment of peaceful protesters by the policex particularly in Abuja, Lagos and Cross River.
The group in the statement said, “For having the audacity to insist on their fundamental right to protest against unpopular policies of governments, teams of armed police personnel fired teargas to disperse the peaceful rallies. As if the unprovoked attack was not enough, the Police brutalised and arrested scores of protesters in Lagos, Abuja and Calabar (Cross River State capital).
“Since the protesters who were arrested during the peaceful rallies did not commit any offence, they have since regained their liberty. But the police authorities ought to apologise for violating the fundamental right of the protesters to freedom of expression.
“More so that the Police had deliberately contravened Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020 which provides that ‘Where a person or organization notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilise personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.’
“While commending the protesters for conducting the themselves in a matured and peaceful manner, we condemn the official lie that the protesters were teargassed to prevent hoodlums and miscreants from hijacking the peaceful rallies. Since the Police admitted that protesters committed no offence whatsoever why were some of them arrested? Why were the so-called hoodlums and miscreants who wanted to cause mayhem and unleash violence on the protesters not arrested?
“Or were they treated like sacred cows because they had been hired to disrupt the peaceful rallies of the protesters? Why were the scanty pro-government protesters who were reported to have fought openly in Abuja over their booty not arrested for breach of the peace in the Federal Capital Territory?
‘MKO Most Acceptable Nigerian Democrat’
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has described the late Chief Moshood Abiola, widely believed to have won the June 12, 1993 presidential poll, as “the most acceptable democrat cherished by Nigerians”.
Mohammed said this in Gamawa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state during the distribution of empowerment items to youths and women under the Kaura Economic Empowerment Programme (KEEP).
He said the empowerment scheme historic as it coincided with Democracy Day which he described as an unforgettable day in the history of Nigeria.
The governor, who was full of praises for the late business mogul, said Abiola provided the country with a lot of empowerment programmes without considering the tribe, language and geographical location of the beneficiaries.
“Our launching of this empowerment programne today is historic and passionate; we remember today is democracy day and we decided to do it on this day.
“This is because Chief Moshood Abiola, who we are celebrating, empowered several people.
“He did that across board without considering the religion, language and origin of those that benefited from the gestures.
“Abiola will remain in our memory as the most acceptable democrat or politician in Nigeria.
“We all voted for him and that is why myself, my deputy and the government decided honour to him this day by coming to Gamawa and Zaki to empower the people,” he said.
Mohammed noted that democracy day meant remembering people who had empowered the masses, adding that the late Abiola was in that category.
The gesture, he said, was also to show appreciation to the people who brought his administration to power, adding that his government had a lot to offer to the people.
Buhari, Bello Greet Abubakar At 79
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated former Head of State, retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on his 79th birthday, joining family members and friends to celebrate with the iconic leader.
The president’s congratulatory message is contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja yesterday.
Buhari noted that Abubakar’s legacy of setting the country on the path of democracy and good governance, and passionate pursuit of peace had continued to yield results.
He congratulated the General for another age, appreciating his patriotism and visionary leadership style of always advocating unity, projecting maturity and wisdom on national discourse, and providing a rallying point for the future of the country.
The president noted the goodwill that the former Head of State had continued to attract to the country, both at national and international levels.
He particularly lauded him for sacrificing his time and resources to reach out to individuals and institutions on the need to work for the growth of Nigeria.
Buhari prayed for increase in wisdom, strength and long life for the former military leader that midwifed return of democracy to the country in 1999.
Similarly, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger has felicitated former Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), on his 79th birthday.
Sani-Bello, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel-Berje, last Saturday in Minna eulogised Abubakar and described him as a “complete gentleman”.
According to him, the former head of state is a patriot who has remained “consistent and significant” in the progress and development of the country.
He said Niger and the country were indeed lucky to have an outstanding leader and statesman who had consistently remained on the path of promoting national unity and integration, as well as pursuit of global peace.
“Undoubtedly, your resolve to rededicate yourself to the service of our fatherland and humanity in general is a clear testimony of your statesmanship and influence which cuts across the length and breadth of the country,” Sani-Bello said.
He noted that at 79 years, Abdulsalami had remained a reference point for good governance, diplomacy and conflict resolution.
He prayed Allah to grant him sound health, many more years of wisdom, courage and determination to continue to offer selfless service to the nation and humanity.
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