The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has concluded that global attention was drawn by the Zabarmari killings in Borno State because of the number of casualties, insisting, however, that “truth is, these killings and kidnaps by audacious criminal gangs that roam freely are constant across all communities and highways in northern Nigeria.”
This was its decision after a review of developments since the killing of about 100 farmers in the North Eastern state last week and the general outrage that followed.
To this end, the CNG reiterated its earlier position that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has failed in its primary duty of protecting lives and property of Nigerians, particularly the northerners.
This was contained in a statement signed by the CNG’s Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and made available to Abuja Business Reports on Saturday.
The Coalition, comprising several northern groups, therefore called for what it described as “a regulated self protection”, urging citizens across the country to mobilise for regulated self protection initiatives, saying it’s convinced that the government have “abdicated their primary responsibility of securing every part of the land”.
The full statement titled “Statement On Developments Since the Recent Borno Massacre” reads:
“The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has carefully monitored developments since the killing of about 100 farmers in Borno State last week and the general outrage that followed.
In particular, CNG notes the most insensitive responses by presidential aides, top cabinet members and the Army leadership to the renewed national concern around security challenges.
We are thus agitated by the lame unsympathetic excuse of breaching army protocol by the slain farmers made by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu, the indecent and callous attribution of the people’s anger and frustration to mere politicking by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed and the unhelpul, scary twenty-year life span prediction for the rampaging security situation by Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
The level of anger that greeted the recent Borno incident across all sections of the country, including even the hitherto docile section of the northern leadership and elite, and the cold government response have led us to draw the following inevitable inferences:
- That the callous responses by Garba Shehu, Lai Mohammed and Tukur Buratai have further exposed the misleading claims that the President Muhammadu Buhari government and our military have decimated the insurgents and secured vast territories from the insurgency thereby confirming suspicions that the army and other security units involved in the fight have turned the war into a milking cow and money spinning industry.
- That Buhari’s implied endorsement of these insensitive responses suggests that the federal government is not humbled by the enormity of the Borno killings and affirms the fears that obviously, the concerns from many Nigerians on how the security infrastructure could be improved and leadership of the military could be made more effective, have made and shall make no impression on the presidency.
- That these particular killings have heightened the concerns that food security would be jeopardized with prospects for famine in the face of limited production in many of the North where farming communities have not been allowed by bandits and kidnappers.
With no evidence of a willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians, and the fact that it is no longer in doubt that he has lost control over the imperatives of protecting the nation and people of the North in particular, a constitutional duty that he swore to uphold, CNG inadvertently arrives at the following conclusions:
- We restate that President Buhari and his administration have failed totally in the vital area of protecting the lives and properties of citizens.
2 We find the callous and insensitive remarks by his aides and cabinet members on the plight of a North in distress, a North battling with everything that make life difficult for a people, not only immoral, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore unacceptable and condemnable.
- We demand all northerners to dwell on state governors and the federal government to see that our security architecture is reframed and reorganized in ways that will bring an end to the incessant banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and other vices that are dragging the region into socio-economic abyss.
- We demand a thorough review and interrogation of the commercialization of these conflicts by different actors, up and down the ranks and constituencies, defence corruption, as well as the persistent attitude of touting success in the face of failure.
- We condemn with all our might the actions of those who perpetrate criminal acts anywhere in Nigeria and strongly denounce those who instigate others to commit acts of violence and lawlessness.
In the light of the current general and pervasive insecurity being felt across the North with regularity of attacks, killings, kidnapping, insurgency, highway robberies and the sacking of entire communities and the realization that leaders such as the ones we have, who cannot be advised or criticized, are a liability, have increased our conviction that the only remaining option is for the people to mobilize for a regulated self protection.
Consequently, the CNG has resolved to convoke an all Northern Nigeria Security Review in Kaduna on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th December, 2020.
The review session shall draw representation from security experts, traditional and religious groups, the civil society, business community, government, trade, youth and women associations from each of the 19 northern states to discuss how to achieve:
- Comprehensive synergy between states for uniform action as against the against isolated responses that have proved ineffective.
- Mobilization of broadbased community action.
- Improvement of security/ community cooperation in especially information sharing imperatives.
We conclude by pointing out that the attention of the world was drawn by the Zabarmari killings because the number was huge, and it all happened at the same place and hour. The truth is, these killings and kidnaps by audacious criminal gangs that roam freely are constant across all communities and highways in northern Nigeria.
This and the undisputable fact that the president and his government have abdicated their primary responsibility of securing every part of the land, are clear justifications for the demand for concerted but regulated self protection initiatives.
Instructively, when ISIS began invading the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga, did not just surrender their hope and destiny to the Iraqi forces. Instead, they composed regimented and volunteer forces, fully funded and backed by their regional authorities, fought in defence of their homes and families and they prevailed.
This can as well be successfully replicated in the North if all citizens cooperate to raise sufficient funds through individual donations, and mobilize the youth for coordinated action to achieve full cessation of hostilities, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.