Wednesday, 26 May 2021: The Northern Elders Forum, (NEF), on Tuesday charged President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the nation’s territorial integrity, secure citizens or accept that he is incapable of leading the nation. The forum also asked the president to stop incessant attacks on northerners of Fulani extraction.
In a statement signed by its director, publicity and advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the NEF said majority of Nigerians detest war and as such wants the country to remain as one.
The NEF while condemning the attack on the Fulani in some parts of the South, said that northerners are now living in fear in the southern part of the country.
“The Forum restates that the North will not be cowed and stampeded into escorting political ambitions of politicians at the cost of its rights, security and dignity. It demands that President Buhari asserts the powers our constitution gives him to protect our territorial integrity and secure citizens, or accept that he is incapable of leading the nation through these unprecedented challenges.
“Attacks on lawful Fulani and other northerners in the South must stop, and those who have killed them must be brought to book. The nation needs to know that northerners in many parts of the South now live in heightened fear as they are profiled and harassed by elements in host communities, who believe that there are no consequences for their actions.
“The forum demands an end to attacks on federal agents and facilities. Governors in the South must be unambiguous in their condemnation and resistance against these dangerous activities”, the NEF said.
The Northern Elders said if Nigeria is to survive its current difficulties and build a better nation, President Buhari must improve his levels of competence and awareness as the nation is sliding into disaster.
“Other political leaders who take advantage of the limitations of the President to light fires should know that they will get burnt in them. The overwhelming majority of Nigerians do not want war or an end to our union. We just want an end to insecurity, escalating cost of living and the hate and the fear which our leaders are triggering”, the statement noted.
The NEF expressed disappointment that some elected officials have taken sides with secessionists, especially in the southern part of the country.
“It is now clear that elected people sworn to protect the constitution and protect the unity and integrity of Nigeria have decided to surrender to deeply divisive or outright irredentist and secessionist tendencies and movements. In the South East, governors are yielding their political turf and mandates to secessionists, criminals and subversives who think they can exterminate federal presence and northerners from the region and achieve dubious political goals related to 2023, or break away from the country.
“In the South West, elected leaders and pampered ethnic bullies are closing ranks to provide a front that apes the do-what-we-want-or-we leave-the-country strategy of the marginalised leaders of the South East. Governors are building ethnic monsters and hiding behind them to whip up sentiments in a crude attempt to extract concessions no one is in a position to give or guarantee.”