Two weeks after lawmakers in the House of Representatives called for the sack of the Service Chiefs, the Northern Elders Forum has also lent its voice to the call by demanding a total overhaul of the nation’s security architecture, in a bid to competently tackle all the security challenges confronting the nation.
The convener of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, said in a statement that the current government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to secure the citizens from incessant attacks by bandits and other terrorist groups.
According to the statement, the forum also lamented that poverty, particularly in the north, and massive social security have worsened under this administration.
“With this type of mindset, it is difficult to see how President Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation.
“Nonetheless, we believe that Nigerians must continue to raise our voices and organize through all legitimate means to demand that the administration addresses major failings in his perception of our situation and his response to our demands for our rights to security,” the statement reads in part.
The Northern Elders Forum condemned the insurgents’ tactics of targeting Christians and publicizing their execution but it also appealed to religious leaders not to fall into the trap of insurgents setting them against each other.
On community policing, the forum recommended the adoption of a more vigorous and inclusive process but asked state governments to exercise higher levels of restraint and responsibility in the manner they respond to security challenges.
Another issue the Northern Elders forum commented on was the restriction order on by the Lagos state government on the operation of commercial motorcycles and tricycle riders.
The forum urged northern state governments to mobilize and support affected riders from the north who may wish to relocate back to the territory.
Buhari Reacts: Northern Elders Forum is Ango Abdullahi’s one-man army
While reacting, the presidency says the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is a body that lacks credible membership.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, described NEF as a “one-man army” and accused Ango Abdullahi, NEF chairman, of showing antipathy against President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2019 election.
“Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders. But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF,” he said.
“It is a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.
“Before the 2019 presidential election, the one-man army called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Muhammadu Buhari and its preference for another candidate. They all got beaten together.
“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation. They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.”