Jonathan Gets Two Months Ultimatum to End Insurgency, Produce Chibok Girls
The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has given President Goodluck Jonathan up till the end of October, 2014 to end the Boko Haram insurgency in the country as well as produce the Chibok girls who has been missing since April.
The forum which identified “lack of a strong will at the level of the presidency, deep-seated corruption, incompetence in governments and in the management of security challenges” as major factors fuelling the Boko Haram insurgency, said Nigerians would be left with the only conclusion that he had forfieted his right to ask for their mandate beyond 2015 in the evnt that he failed to meet the October deadline.
In a communique issued at a press conference in Kaduna and was signed by Barrister Solomon Dalung and Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, OON, both NEF prominent members the northern elders said after a major review of the state of the nation, it resolved to continue to offer ways to resolve the country’s current political, economic, security challenges, and also facilitate the emergence of a more united, secure and prosperous nation out of its present limitations.
The statement reads: “The security situation in our nation today represents the most serious threat to our individual and collective lives in our entire history. The reality is that the threats posed by what appears to be an insurgency that has many manifestations and defies a clear and consistent identity is growing due to the absence of a clear national consensus over its nature, and it solutions.
“The lack of a strong will at the level of the presidency to fight it, as well as deep-seated corruption and incompetence in governments and in the management of our security challenges has allowed a band of terrorists to take and hold vast parts of our land and populations hostage, while every citizen lives in fear that they will be its next victim.
“The Northern Elders Forum does not believe that the Nigerian military cannot defeat these terrorists. We also reject the notion that multiple internal security challenges such as attacks on villages, ethno-religions conflicts and banditry springing up by the dayin many parts of the north are all a coincidence. Indeed, we are convinced that most of these conflicts are being engineered to weaken the North politically and economically by interests which intend to exploit such weaknesses for electoral benefits.
“In the light of our firm conviction that the insurgency and related security challenges pose threats to the 2015 elections and the survival of our nation, we strongly advise President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to bring an end to the insurgency in all its manifestations and produce the Chibok girls before the end of October, 2014.The circumstances under which our fellow citizens in and around Gwoza in Borno state in particular live and die will not be tolerated by any people who have a government and a leader sworn to defend them, and they must be reversed immediately. In the event that President Jonathan fails to do this, Nigerians will be left with the only conclusion that he has forfieted his right to ask for our mandate beyond 2015?.
They added that, “The Northern Elders Forum calls on the President to immediately set up a Judicial Panel to investigate the recent killing of over 30 members of the Islamic Movement in Zaria. The internal investigations by the military in an event in which soldiers are involved will not meet the minimum standards of fairness and acceptability. The Forum reminds the nation that it was the murder of Muhammad Yusuf by the Nigeria Police in 2009 that formed the major point of escalation in the activities of the group(s) known today under the generic term of Boko Haram. We also call for a thorough investigation into the attempted assassination of General Muhammadu Buhari and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, and the publication of the outcome of these investigations.
“The Forum notes that the state of security and economic challenges of the North are deteriorating, in spite of its wealth of leaders and elders who should use their God-given privileges, power and influence to affect a reversal of these dangerous trends. It is no secret that the vast majority of Northerners lament their marginalization, insecurity and poverty, and blame it in large part on the inability of unwillingness of its past and present leaders to utilize all access to power which they enjoy, to bring us redress and relief. General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, General Abdussalami Abubakar, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Architect Namadi Sambo, General T.Y Danjuma and all retired Chief Justices of Nigeria from the North represent grossly under-utilized assets of the North.
“The N.E.F joins millions of Northerners in appealing to these leaders to raise their levels of involvement in the fortunes of our region in every endeavour or fora they are involved. In these difficult days when every hand must be on deck, if these leaders cannot visibly help to transform the fortunes of the North in the next few months, they will leave northerners with the damaging impression that they have abandoned the region and the people to its seemingly irreversible decline and ultimate destruction.
“The Forum took stock of the performance of northerners at the National Conference, and commends the commitment of the vast majority of the delegates to the core interests of the north and the unity and survival of our nation on principles of equity and mutual respect. The N.E.F appeals to all leaders from other parts of the country to discourage tendencies which suggest that some parts of our federation are dispensable and undeserving of respect.
“The Forum has noted with relief the cessation of plans to single out northerners in many parts of the country for treatments which humiliate them and deprive them of their rights to live and work in any part of Nigeria. While commending the maturity and foresight of northern leaders which informed the restraints against retaliatory and other negative measures, the Forum appeals to young persons from the north to resist the temptation to operate by the very low standards of responsibility set by others. These young northerners should be reminded that their legacy includes the heroic efforts of their forebears to build and sustain this nation to its present state, and they did this in the face of massive provocations and threats. The Forum places on record its appreciation for the prompt response of President Goodluck Jonathan to appeals for decisive action against profiling and other threatening actions against northerners in some states in the southern parts of the country.
“The Forum invites attention of Nigerians to the critical role which the 2015 elections will play in the future of our nation. We call on all leaders and political parties to demonstrate the highest levels of commitment to the rule of law and the demands of the electoral process. At all cost, the 2015 elections must be free and fair. This means that any threat which may provide a cover for militarising the electoral process must be eliminated before the elections. Every part of Nigeria must participate in these elections, and no citizen should be deprived of his right to vote under any excuse.
“The Forum is concerned that political developments in some states which involve removals, threats or attempts to remove elected persons are being informed by partisan interests seeking advantages towards 2015. These are dangerous antics which will deepen violence and other acts of desperation by politicians. The Forum urges the convening of a genuine summit of political leaders and parties to create or reinforce consensus around the imperatives of security of the electoral process, and ensuring that 2015 elections are spared from widespread disputes”.
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