• Northern govs set up committee to tackle insecurity
Godwin Isenyo and James Abraham
The Prof Ango Abdullahi-led Northern Elders’ Forum has said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and the All Progressives Congress used to protest before the elections which ushered them into office in 2015.
The forum said it wondered why the President and his party, who were beneficiaries of protests under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, were now averse to similar protests by Nigerians.
The Director, Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement in Kaduna on Friday was reacting to the arrest and detention of the leader of the Katsina protesters, Nastura Sharif.
Sharif is the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Coalition of Northern Groups, which recently organised protests against insecurity in Katsina State.
The group held a protest on Tuesday in Katsina State. Similar protests are to hold in other northern states’ capitals on Saturday (today), according to a statement by the group on Monday.
Sharif’s arrest was announced in Kaduna on Wednesday in a statement by the CNG’s Director of Operations, Aminu Adam.
However, following public outrage, Shariff was on Thursday evening released.
But the NEF condemned the government’s action as it raised the alarm that there was a plot by the government to further disrupt planned protests of the coalition.
It, however, advised the CNG to suspend its planned protests and explore other avenues with other groups in the region.
The NEF statement added, “Northern Elders Forum is aware that the Coalition of Northern Groups has commenced a planned series of peaceful marches in all parts of the North to invite attention to the dire state of insecurity in the North.
Two of such marches had held in Minna, Niger State, and in Katsina. After the protest in Katsina, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CNG, Nastura Ashir Shariff, was invited to Abuja and detained. He was released yesterday (Thursday) evening.
“We recall that the then President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC exercised these same rights before his (Buhari) election as President.
“Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that there are plans to disrupt these peaceful protests and subvert their objectives in some parts of the North.
The goals of these subversives are to create a hostile environment that will worsen the state of insecurity in which our people live, and divert attention from their goal, which is basically to urge the government to take firm and immediate steps to arrest the bleeding in the North
Meanwhile, the Northern Governors’ Forum has set up various committees to address the insecurity challenge in the region.
Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, said in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham, that the committee, headed by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, had the governors of Zamfara and Gombe states as members.
He said, “Worried by the challenge of insecurity in the country, the Northern Governors’ Forum met on Thursday, June 18, 2020 to review the security situation in the Northern Region.
“They agreed to set up a standing committee on security in the North which will foster synergy between security agencies in the enforcement of security measures in the region.”
They also set up another committee to consult with traditional, religious and community leaders in the region.
The governors called on the Federal Government to closely look into the ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of persons as it relates to the cross-border movement of herders from other countries into Nigeria, particularly the North.
They also called on the government to accelerate the Livestock Transformation Plan to create jobs among farmers and herders in the region and the country at large.