The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar 111, yesterday told the Federal Government that Nigerians have a right to express their feelings over the spate of killings in the country, especially in the north.
The JNI also blasted security agencies over what he described as lackadaisical attitude in the fight against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country, saying they seemed to be overwhelmed by the problem.
Its statement came against the backdrop of attacks on the convener of Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and some Arewa youth groups who expressed reservations over government’s inability to stop the orgy of killings in the north earlier this week.
JNI said: JNI’s position was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, titled ‘’Nigeria’s perilous security challenge: Enough of condemnations, government must take decisive action, stop the rhetoric.”
The statement read: “The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and JNI’s President-General, is in utter shockwave over the unfortunate repeated incidents of loss of precious lives and wanton destruction of property arising from well-coordinated attacks of armed bandits, Boko Haram terrorist groups and rapists.
“These repeated calamitous scenarios would have been avoided had the government risen to the occasion. We, nonetheless, as always, condemn the repeated brutal acts in their entirety; especially the lackadaisical attitude of relevant security agencies that seemed to be overwhelmed, despite repeated calls by concerned and well-meaning Nigerians for a decisive action.
What govt should do
‘’We implore government to take all genuine calls, concerns so raised and recommendations proffered so far, even from perceived and/or alleged antagonists in good fate, in order to move the country on the path of glory – human security, as development in whatever guise, is utterly incomplete without security.
‘’Government should also note that citizens have a right to be listened to, over their feelings on insecurity challenge in Nigeria. The repeated massacres of people, as well as the senseless burning of houses and livestock that do ensue in Borno, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger states and, indeed, other states such as Adamawa, Kaduna and Taraba, should give governments and its functionaries at both federal and state levels sleepless nights.
‘’By now, an instantaneous pronouncement, followed by robust actions should have been made by the government of the day, not verbal warnings and condemnations dished out to the perpetrators of the murderous acts.
‘’JNI also notes with dismay the lack of symbolic gestures to affected communities by those in authorities. They remain in their comfort zones as their subjects are subjected to arson and killings of the highest degree.
‘’This has thrown the affected areas into despair and the bandits are emboldened, seeing that the government seems not much bothered, resulting from its action about the plight of the people so affected.
‘’We are, however, not oblivious of the fact that security matters are not often for public consumption, but not in perilous situations. Citizens’ confidence need to be strengthened, with resounding reassurances. Government should not reduce itself to just issuing light press statements on security upheavals.
“As stakeholders, we strongly believe that the repeated killings are blameworthy, and no one found culpable in this gross act of negligence should be spared. In all honesty, all erring personnel would have been dealt with decisively by now or they themselves should have honorably resigned, as oftentimes seen in other climes.
BMO raps Abdulahi, Baba Ahmed
Also yesterday, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, said leader of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, were not fit to speak for elders in the north.
The group was reacting to NEF’s claim that President Muhammadu Buhari had not done enough to curtail the high level of insecurity in the north, other than issue condemnations after innocent people had been slaughtered.
But in a statement signed by the chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Maduekwe, the BMO said: “They masquerade as a Forum of Northern Elders but have no business pretending to speak for northern interests, neither are they fit for such representation.
“The two men are spent politicians; they have neither the character nor mandate to lead anybody. They are simply craving for attention by playing politics with very serious issues.’’
It alleged that NEF, as currently constituted, was an extension of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying “what we have there is a group of politicians who are craving attention after losing out in the 2019 election.
“These two men, who parade themselves as NEF, are members of the PDP who have been exiled from the political space, courtesy the votes of Nigerians.
“They have been shown a red card. They do not have the interests of the north at heart. What we see them pursuing with their ramblings in the media is selfish interest.
US tasks FG on killings
The US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo in a statement on the twitter handle of the U.S Mission, Nigeria @USEmbassyAbuja, also condemned the recent killings of a pastor and his pregnant wife in Taraba State.
The statement read: “We condemn the recent/ senseless and/ brazen killings of civilians in northern Nigeria. In recent weeks, suspected/ ISIS West Africa/ militants launched multiple attacks in Borno State, killing more than 120 civilians, including women, children, and the elderly.
“On June 9, unidentified armed bandits attacked a village in Katsina State, killing dozens. These horrific crimes follow the shooting of a pastor and his pregnant wife on June 1 and the killing of an imam, local village head, and several civilians on June 5 in the course of inter-communal violence in Taraba State.
“Tens of thousands of civilians have lost their lives in Nigeria in recent years to violent attacks by terrorist groups or criminal gangs, in inter-communal violence, or due to their religious beliefs.
“The United States calls on the government of Nigeria to do more to strengthen ongoing efforts to address this violence, hold those responsible accountable and protect civilians.”