The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), and 15 other Northern groups have slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over the rising insecurity in the North.
In a communiqué released at the end of a two-day Northern People’s Summit in Kaduna on Friday, the groups said that the region has been overtaken by insurgents, bandits, and poor governance, urging political actors to change the narratives.
The Chairman Communiqué Drafting Committee, Professor Doknan Sheni, asked the federal government to show effective presence in all ungoverned spaces in the region.
The communique reads: “The North invites the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, Northern Governors and legislators to the fact that under their watch the North has sunk lower in all indices of human existence.”
“Delegates at the summit are committed to continuously engage in searching for solutions, as well as raising their voices against poor governance, corruption, and absence of commitment to deal with insecurity, poverty and hopelessness among Northerners.
“The North resolves that there should be government-backed negotiations and dialogue with the bandits, Boko Haram and affected communities for effective peace in the North.”
The communique added that the seventeen groups have rejected zoning of the presidency and supported restructuring of the polity to save the nation from socio-economic degradation.
It noted that the groups reiterated restructuring is a vital necessity for the survival of the nation as one united entity.
The communique reads: “The North believes that restructuring the country is now a vital necessity for survival as one united entity. The North will not be stampeded or blackmailed into taking major decisions around rotating the Presidency.
“The North draws the attention of the country to the inherent fragility of Nigerian State. For Nigeria to survive, all parts of the country must equally commit to supporting its continuation as one entity, without equivocation or subterfuge.
“The North extends an invitation to groups that are genuinely interested in discussing the future of the country.
“The North believes that every interest can be accommodated in one united, just and equitable nation but the North cannot be the sole custodian of this endeavour.
“The North warns against the continuation of demonisation, attacks and killings of Northerners in the Southern parts of the country.
“It demands that federal and state governments must take firmer steps to protect members of Northern communities who live in the South.
“This includes the arrest and prosecution of persons who are involved in these dangerous activities. The North urges Northern communities to continue to exercise restraint and be good hosts.”