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Northern leaders, youth differ on Boko Haram

IT reflects how wide apart the old guards and saplings of the sprawling region have grown, lately, and on this one issue, unfortunately, the falcon cannot hear the falconer.

As it is now, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) are at odds over the appropriate measures the Federal Government should take to rein in Boko Haram sect members currently holding Borno State by the jugular through unrelenting bomb attacks, which have heightened the level of insecurity across the country.

Against the backdrop of the ACF recent visit to President Goodluck Jonathan during which the group proffered the way out of the Boko Haram onslaught in the north, the AYF has advised the Federal Government not to listen to the advice of the northern elders, alleging that many in the ranks of the ACF created the septic conditions that led to the Boko Haram uprising in the first place and the insecurity engendered therefrom.

But in a reaction at the weekend, the ACF said it only advised the government on the matter based on the latter’s appeal to all well-meaning citizens and groups in the country for suggestions on how to end the Boko Haram attacks in the region.

Boko Haram is a doctrine by a radical Islamic sect that abhors western form of civilisation and believes one of the best ways to enforce it is by bombing or attacking military and para-military institutions and others.

National Publicity Secretary, ACF, Anthony Sani argued that “ACF was responding to its knowledge and presidential call to Nigerians to regard matter of security as a collective responsibility, and not that of government alone”, adding that “towards that end, no contribution is too small or too big”.

According to him, nobody should doubt the “capacity and capability of the youths to make positive things happen and to prevent negative ones from happening. Therefore, the youths should concentrate on how to live up to our collective national challenges, rather than sublimate their energies in disparaging ACF or their elders.”

Buttressing his point with a Hausa proverb, Sani stated: “Hikima a wurin manya, aiki a wurin yara“, meaning “while experiences and wisdom may be exclusive preserve for the elders, capacity to work and make things happen resides more with the youths.”

But, leader of the AYF, Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, said the meeting between President Jonathan and the ACF elders prompted the northern youths to hold an emergency meeting on the dangers of the Federal Government relying on any advice from ACF on how to end the activities of Boko Haram.

Gujungu said in a statement: “ACF cannot in any way be of help to the Federal Government and security agencies as far as the issue of Boko Haram is concerned. They have no moral ground to meddle in it because they have failed the entire people of the North in all ramifications.

“There is nothing tactful about tackling insurgency of this type that requires any monopoly of such ACF’s boasting. The logic is simple, had Nigerian leadership acted well in running the Nigerian state and nation, many challenges threatening or undermining national security would have been overcome, which will have saved this country huge resources and innocent lives that are being wasted daily.”

Gujungu  added: “It is amazing and also laughable that ACF, a supposed umbrella organisation of the North, which could not influence the 19 northern state governors, in addressing critical issues of abject poverty, cancerous religious and ethnic crises, infant and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, almajiri syndrome, illiteracy, unemployment, collapse of agriculture and total extinction of northern economy, destitution and able-bodied begging, series of avoidable diseases ravaging the region, will be boasting of knowing and having solution in ending the Boko Haram syndrome.

“We challenge them (ACF) to state in details their individual positive contributions to the development of Northern Region after the demise of Sir Ahmadu Bello, while they held sway in the various positions they held in the past.”

Meanwhile, as residents continue to flee Maiduguri in droves because of the insecurity to lives and property, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has appealed to the Boko Haram sect members to lay down their arms, and stop the killings and bombings of innocent people, stressing that Islam does not condone the killing of non-Muslims and destruction of their places of worship.

The governor has also said that the calls for the immediate withdrawal of soldiers in the military Joint Task Force, Operation Restore Order (JTORO) were unrealistic, as there was no “tangible alternative” to the step to protect lives and property in the state.

Shettima stated these at the weekend in a statewide television and radio broadcast to the people of Borno State.

His words: “We are inching towards the concept and principles of tolerance and moderation, and not the taking of people’s lives without any cause as stated in the Holy Quran. We must then return to the basics and embrace tolerance, forbearance and moderation, if we are to progress as a people, society, state and the country at large.”

To this end, he said that his administration has already stated its readiness for dialogue with all the aggrieved sections of society, including the Boko Haram sect, with a view to bringing what he described as a “despicable trend” to an end.

Shettima has also pledged to compensate all the victims of the Boko Haram attacks, appealing that the fleeing residents should return to their respective wards and houses in Maiduguri.

He directed the Ministry of Works and Transport to build and renovate all the destroyed houses and residences in the three affected wards of the metropolis.

But Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO), yesterday called for an urgent political restructuring of Nigeria as a way out of the Boko Haram attacks.

The organisation stated this through its spokesman, Wale Okunniyi.

Okunniyi stated: “By the height of the Boko Haram militancy, the nation is already at a point where only broad negotiation with all aggrieved parties and urgent restructuring of the country will suffice for national stability, as other bottled up grievances especially in the South-West, may soon burst out in the open.

“The panacea of urgent constitutional restructuring through a popular national dialogue and national referendum should be immediately fast-tracked by the National Assembly to assuage stakeholders’ mistrust for government and prevent a situation where Nigeria suddenly goes up in flames.”

In a related development, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has set up four resettlement centres in Borno and Yobe states to accommodate fleeing Maiduguri residents displaced by the Boko Haram sectarian crisis.

The centres are located behind the Maiduguri Police Hospital, Njimtilo, Gwoza; and Kukareta Boarding Primary School, Damaturu Yobe State, according to the North-East Coordinator of NEMA, Aliyu Sambo, in an interview with The Guardian.

Also, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has ordered the evacuation of the state’s indigenes from Borno State.

The governor explained that “a team led by the State Director of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Timothy Oyenekan, was dispatched to Maiduguri, Bornu State after receiving distress calls from our students studying at the University of Maiduguri, whose school was shut down on July 12 as a result of the growing insecurity in the state over the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect.”

But, discordant tunes have continued to trail the need to evacuate over 1,500 indigenes of Ebonyi State from Borno over the Boko Haram crisis. While some in the state doubted that Ebonyi indigenes are still stranded there, others contended that the state government was insensitive to the indigenes plight in the troubled zone.

However, Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Maharazu Ismaila Tsiga, has maintained that the decision to redeploy corps members from insecure states in the country was sacrosanct and irrevocable in spite of the negative signal it might send out.

Tsiga stated this in the Gumel, Jigawa State orientation camp of the NYSC.


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Posted by on Jul 17 2011. Filed under National Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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