Northerners must be protected wherever they are ― Northern Elders Forum

Northerners must be protected wherever they are ― Northern Elders Forum

The Northern Eiders Forum (NEF) has called for caution in the attempt to single out a particular people for attack, saying Northerners in any part of the country must be protected.

This was even as it commended the Northern youths for demanding an end to the spate of insecurity in the region.

This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna and signed by the Director, Advocacy and Publicity, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed on Tuesday. The statement added that the demand of the youth will not go in vain.

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“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.”

NEF explained that the meeting was convened to review events of the last few weeks that had been the source of concern for many northerners as well as Nigerians.

It said: “In particular, the meeting reviewed the protest against elements of the Nigeria Police and the response of the federal government, the 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.”

The meeting also reviewed the widespread violence, destruction of public and private assets killings and looting which followed the protests.

Also, the statement maintained that the meetings involving Northern governors, federal government officials and Northern traditional rulers initiated 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 were discussed by the forum.

“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 the government looks 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 advised.

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.

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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 by Northerners 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 traditional rulers 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 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.  (Nigerian Tribune)

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