Northern, southern leaders, elders bemoan killings, Nigeria woes

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Leaders and elders from Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones have accused the President Muhammadu Buhari government of lacking the capacity to arrest the drift towards a state of anarchy that looms in the country as a result of the security challenges.

They noted that there appears to be palpable government complicity in the killings going on around the country, disclosing that the killings have claimed 3,500 lives last year and that the figure that could be much higher in 2018.

The leaders of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum, therefore demanded a visionary and dynamic leadership that will effectively deal with Nigeria’s security and economic challenges, and ensure good governance in the country.

At the end of the meeting in Abuja which lasted several hours on Wednesday, the leaders and elders resolved to put in place a template on the issue of Federalism and Restructuring in Nigeria, stating also that it was imperative to revamp the security architecture of Nigeria.

They took this position in a communiqué signed by former Federal Commissioner for Information and South South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark as leader of PANDEF; former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, ABU, Prof. Ango Abdullahi for NEF; Chief Ayo Adebanjo for the Afenifere and the President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo.

The communiqué, which was read by Prof. Banji Akintoye, disclosed that the summit agreed on the following among others: “to insist on the emergence of a visionary and dynamic leadership which will effectively deal with our security and economic challenges, and ensure good governance in the country;

”It is necessary to ensure the removal of marauding killers from the communities they have occupied and return same to their rightful owners who now live in IDP camps.

“To strive to reach a consensus on the positions of the various Nigerian communities and arrive at an agreed template on the issue of federalism and restructuring in Nigeria, among others.”

To underscore the failure of public policies which have resulted in enormous hardship to vast segments of the Nigerian population, the Summit observed the following: “i. That the general state of insecurity and incessant killings in Nigeria have escalated in recent times with several communities at the mercy of marauding killers. This has reached totally unacceptable proportions that gravely endanger the peace, unity and development of the country. That the security of lives and property is the cardinal responsibility of government. And the present Administration had identified security as one of the three pillars of its change agenda. However, the country’s entire security and law and order assets appear incapable of arresting the drift towards a state of anarchy. Summit therefore observes with regret the negation of this Administration’s commitment and undertaking to provide security to all Nigerians.

“That the country now witnesses unprecedented incompetence and enthronement of mediocrity in dealing with the horrendous spate of killings and general insecurity across the country.

“That in the eyes of many affected communities, there appears to be palpable government complicity in the killings going on around the country. These killings claimed more than 3,500 lives in 2017, a figure that could be much higher in 2018.

“That the number of internally displaced persons has risen to about 4 million from 1.5million in 2015.

“On the issue of the national economy, Summit notes with dismay the mismanagement of an economy, already approaching recession by 2015. Today, the economy is characterized by significant loss of output, massive youth unemployment, a rising level of poverty, instability, and irregular migration of skilled and unskilled labour.

“In fact, according to the World Bank, the unemployment rate in Nigeria has increased despite its purported exit from recession in 2017. This is a national embarrassment and a disgrace to a country that is endowed with abundant resources. Summit further notes that, according to World Data Laboratory, Nigeria overtook India this year as the poverty capital of the World. In addition, Nigeria’s ranking on the Human Development index was one of the lowest in the World standing at 152 out of 188 countries surveyed in 2017.

”Summit also notes with great concern that despite the present Administration’s war against corruption, the highly acknowledged global monitor of corruption perception, Transparency Intentional, has adjudged Nigeria to be more corrupt today than it was in 2015. It is disturbing that Nigeria has in the last 3 years degenerated from the 136th to the 148th place out of 180 countries surveyed for corruption perception in 2018. ”

“Summit observes that the kleptocracy nature of governance and appointments to public offices and institutions, as well as the carefree attitude of government to citizens’ discontent have resulted in breeding deep divisions and inter-communal distrust. This is a development that is of grave concern to all Nigerian patriots.

“Furthermore, Summit observes with alarm the flagrant abuse of, and disrespect for, the rule of law, as well as the systematic violation of our electoral processes. These infractions are steadily eroding public confidence in our hard-earned democracy,” the communiqué read in part.

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