By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Rising from a just concluded meeting, the Northern Eiders Forum (NEF) while commending youth from the region for peaceful posture, has demanded for the protection of its people all over the country.
This was contained in a statement signed by its Director, Advocacy and Publicity, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, dated November 10, 2020.
“This is the time to commend our Northern youth who demanded for an end to insecurity in the North, and appreciate their respect for our counsel.
“We want to assure them that their efforts will not be in vain, and this Forum stands with them in the demand that the North must be secured by those who swore to secure us,” it said.
NEF explained that the meeting was convened to review events of the last few weeks that had been sources of great concern to nyorthomers and Nigerians.
“In particular, the meeting reviewed the protest against elements of the Nigeria Police and the response of the federal government to them protests against widespread and endemic insecurity in most of the North, and the apparent failure of federal and state governments to improve the security of our communities widespread violence, destruction of public and private assets killings and looting which followed the protests.
“Meetings involving Northern governors, federal government officials and Northern traditional rulers initiatives by the federal and state governments to engage communities and young people towards finding solutions to the causes of the protests and improving official responses to them and the escalating insecurity in the North among other issues
“The Forum had been actively engaged in reviews of developments around these issues, and had made public comments when it became necessary to express opinions and advise,* it said.
The statement pointed out that the public will recall that it had advised that the protests should cease while government looked into the real sources of the grievances championed by young people in the initial stages of these protests.
“We had foreseen and warned of the possibility that elements with different agenda were likely to hijack the protests. Sadly, we were proved right.
“We also raised concerns over attacks on Northerners and their assets and places of Worship in many parts of the south.
“While we appealed to Northerners to stay put and compile records of their losses of lives injuries and assets, we invited attention to the dangers of singling out people from particular parts of the country or of particular faith for attacks,” the statement adviced.
It assured that Northerners will continue to welcome people from all parts of the country, but warned that deliberate targeting of people could have serious repercussions for all communities in the country
The Forum commended governors and community leaders in the South who have taken steps of the safety to their people.
“We demand that our governors must engage the counterparts in the South to improve the responses to the plight of our people.
“We expect that losses suffered byNortherners will be redeemed by those who have an obligation to do so,” it added.
The Forum expressed its disappointment with the meeting in Kaduna with Northern Governors some federal government officials and traditional rulers which they said, barely made mention of the security of their communities in the North.
“That meeting was an opportunity to acknowledge that other communities are in dire need of improved security, and to give assurance that our leaders care about Northern lives and will take steps to protect us.
“We took part note of the pivotal roles of governors and traditionalrulers at the meeting, leaders who are thoroughly familiar with daily assault by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.
“These are leaders who should have understood the high hopes attached to meeting of that nature in Kaduna, so they should understand that the impression left by the meeting and the trend of acts in parts of the South evolving cum Northen leaders to show sympathy for damage from hoodlums leaves only one conclusion on the mind of that lives do not matter.
“The Forum notes the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhar to improve engagements with Northern loaders and hopes that there will not be public stunts in place of real efforts.
“The Forum advises the President and Governors to engage a broad spectrum of leaders and the young in the North to contribute to an appreciation of the dangers which our communities live with on a daily basis, and enlist them as partners in the search for solutions,” it added.