The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has raised concern over the rising insecurity in Northern Nigeria.
It says the recent escalation of bandit attacks, rustlers and insurgents had left the people of the region at the mercy of armed gangs who roam towns and villages.
This is contained in a statement by Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Chairman of the Forum made available to Newsdiaryonline on Sunday.
“It would appear that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and governors have lost control over the imperatives of protecting people of the North, a constitutional duty that they swore to uphold.
“The situation is getting worse literally by the day. Bandits and insurgents appear to sense a huge vacuum in political will and capacity which they exploit with disastrous consequences on communities and individuals,” NEF lamented in the statement.
According to the Forum, the people of the North had “never experienced this level of exposure to criminals who attack, kill, maim, rape, kidnap, burn villages and rustle cattle, while President Buhari issues threats and promises that have no effect.
“The situation under which our communities from Kogi to Borno States, from Sokoto to Taraba States live is no longer tolerable. As a responsible body, the Forum has joined millions of others in prayers and in giving advise and encouragement to all authorities that have responsibility to protect our communities.
“It is now time to say, enough is enough. Our people are known for their patience and respect for constituted authorities, but all governments must be aware by now that all Northerners have been pushed to the wall,” the forum further stated.
It stated that while some citizens were contemplating exercising their constitutional rights of peaceful protests, aimed at drawing the attention of President Buhari and all levels of authority to the plight of people of the North, “citizens should conduct themselves in peaceful and responsible manner.”
It said it is also consulting other groups and organizations which share its goals and concerns to lend their voices to the demands for action and relief from what the forum described as “unremitting assaults on our lives and livelihood as Northerners”.
The Forum reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that provision of security and pursuit of economic welfare of citizens were the only two constitutional responsibilities of the state which all leaders must achieve.
“Our current circumstances in the North clearly demonstrate that President Buhari’s administration has woefully failed to achieve either. This is unacceptable.We demand an immediate and comprehensive improvement of our security in the North,” the statement added.
The statement explained that the people were tired of excuses and verbal threats which criminals laugh at, saying that the citizens see such as a clear failure of leadership.