Northern Elders Forum berates Buhari on security, Presidency responds

The Northern Elders Forum on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to secure the citizens from incessant attacks by bandits and other terrorist groups.

Professor Ango Abdullahi, the convener of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), said this in a statement issued after its meeting held in Zaria, Kaduna State.

The forum lamented that poverty, particularly in the north, and massive social security have worsened under this administration.

The statement reads partly: “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 Northern Elders Forum also condemned the insurgents’ tactics of targeting Christians and publicising 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.

Special Adviser to President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina has described the statement by the Northern Elders Forum as comments from a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a general without troops.

Mr Adesina said in a statement that “hearing that title, northern elders forum, 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 noted that 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, yet they all got beaten.

Adesina added that the Northern Elders Forum is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria.

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Last updated: April 7, 2020 - 1:39 pm (+01:00)
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