The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has written to the governors of the 19 northern states demanding that they urgently address the state of insecurity, particularly the continued massacre of people in the region by Boko Haram, while casting doubt on the combat preparedness of the military to bring the insurgency to an end.
In the letter tagged “Protest against the massacre of our people in the north” addressed to the governors through the chairman of the Northern States’ Governors Forum, NSGF, and governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the ACF said the governors could completely lose relevance over their seeming inability to protect the lives and property of people in the region.
The letter signed by the ACF chairman and former inspector-general of police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, who led other members of the forum to Governor Aliyu in Minna on Friday, alleged that the killings in some parts of the North was more than meets the eye, which makes it necessary for the governors to rise up against the development.
“Over the years and specifically since 2009, thousands of lives have been lost to the war waged at first by the Boko Haram militant group but now only the Almighty Allah knows who is killing our people in the north and destroying their properties”, the protest letter reads in part.
Consequently, he said governors in the northern region should collectively stand up and fight the ugly development or risk losing relevance in the eyes of their people.
Denouncing what it called gradual attempt at annihilating northerners, the ACF said that “governments at federal and state levels go about their normal business as if all is well with us. This insensitivity on the part of government is highly condemnable. Northerners are full of despair and can only turn to our governors who are constitutionally charged with the responsibility of our security and welfare”.
Northerners, it added, want to see their Governors at the forefront of deploying every means at their disposal to bring to an end the massacre of their people, pointing out that the claim that the panacea to the problem lies with the Federal Government alone is no longer tenable.
He said that while northerners generally believe that the complacency of their elected leaders has added to worsening the unfortunate situation, troops deployed by the Federal Government to fight the insurgents appear not to have the combat ability nor readiness, adding that they are thinly deployed and “most inadequately equipped and motivated”.
“Barring insincerity, why was the governor of Borno State so castigated when His Excellency told the truth about the situation?” the ACF queried.
He lamented that “Our people are being made refugees, fleeing from their homes and towns to neighbouring countries. Economic activities have ground to a total halt, with affected families now resorting to unconventional means of survival. There is certainly more than meets the eye. Or else, how come a convoy of thirty to sixty vehicles full of arsenal-men and material travel five to ten kilometers, conduct an operation, killing people and destroying property and return to base unchallenged?”
Charging the governors on a definite action plan, Mr. Coomasie said: “ACF is now constrained to draw attention of our Governors to our collective responsibility as leaders and protectors of security of lives and properties of the entire North. The effort so far made by our governors towards the resolution of this crisis need to be re-doubled.
“No matter how meagre the resources available to our governors, compared with their southern counterparts, we believe that you can do better, individually and collectively”.
While stating that the governors should not allow the people to take to the streets before redoubling their effort in mitigating the situation, the ACF chairman said “as concerned elders of Yan Arewa, the only option left for us in ACF is to join the people and take to the streets. We hope that this unpalatable option will not be allowed to happen before our leaders wake up to their responsibilities. Our governors need to join us so that we can stand up with our people and say enough is enough”.
Aliyu decried the continuous and senseless killing of innocent and defenceless citizens in some parts of the North, saying that there was urgent need for more efforts to find solution to the situation in the region.