Being text of a press statement issued by the coalition of corncerned Northerners which met in Asokoro, Abuja on Friday.
A coalition of Northern politicians, academics, professionals and businessmen met yesterday at Asokoro, in Abuja, to deliberate on matters of serious concern to the Northern states of Nigeria and their peoples.
In the course of the meeting the Northern group reflected on the deteriorating security situation in the region, particularly with regards to the growth and spread of attacks and impunity by the Boko Haram insurgents and other ethnic and religious militias in the North. In addition, the meeting dwelled on the threats posed by the resurgent activities of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), other Niger Delta militant groups, Movement for the Actulisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). The meeting also dwelled on the threats and recent calls by groups for a Sovereign National Conference.
The meeting reflected on the elements that bond Northerners and their cultures together, irrespective of ethnicity and religion, over many years and expressed sadness that the basis of unity of the region, has of recent come under serious assault.
The meeting noted the positive fallouts of the recent nationwide strike, in the course of which the ordinary people of the North and of the rest of the country manifested a refreshing desire to support and protect one another against the clear evidence of orchestrated designs to polarize and keep the people apart.
The meeting also received the shocking details of the several excesses of the JTF (Joint Task Force) which amounted to no less than gross human rights abuses. The meeting expressed the view that the threat posed by Boko Haram insurgency could be attended to without the attendant attacks on individual, rights and on businesses.
The meeting resolved to support the calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian Federation in the hope that the lopsidedness in the structure of the nation’s politics and economy will be a key agenda issue.
It then called on the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) to liaise with other stakeholders in the North, such as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Union (NU), Jama’atul Nasirl Islam (JNI), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Women, youth and student bodies and other groups to join hands to tackle the identified threats confronting the region.
Among those who attended the meeting were the governors of Niger and Jigawa states, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, OON CON, and Alhaji Sule Lamido, CON the convener of the meeting, Dr. Junaidu Muhammed; former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, former Deputy Senate President Dr. John Wash-Pam, CON; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, CFR; former ministers such as; Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri and Malam Lawal Batagarawa; and a former Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council, Prof. Nur Alkali.
Others were a former Chairman of Langtang South Local Government Council, Mr. Solomon Dalung; former Presidential Legal Advisers; Ibrahim Ismail and Prof. Awwal Yadudu; as well as newspaper publishers including Sam Nda-Isaiah and Mohammed Haruna. The rest included University Vice Chancellors Prof. Abubakar Rasheed and Prof. Risqua Arabu, Sokoto Businessmen such as the Chairman of Mainstreet Bank, Alhaji Falalu Bello; a former Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, Engr. Hamman Tukur; the former Solicitor-General of the Federation, Professor Ignatius Ayua; Prof. David Iyornem, Alhaji Dahiru Mohammed, and two former Managing Directors of the New Nigerian Newspapers.
Others included the first female Editor of the New Nigerian, Mrs. Bilkisu Bintube, and another female Editor from Trust Newspapers, Mrs. Aisha Kabiru Yusuf; Dr. Bashir Kurfi of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU, Zaria) and Timaus Mathias, a veteran journalist.
Also present were Mr. David Garnva, former President of the Nigerian Institute of Town planners, Malam Abba Gana, former Deputy Director of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG); Alhaji Shehu Kaikai, Sanusi Abubakar, Garba Shehu, Mr. Simon Gunkat, Mallam Adamu Yakubu, Barr. Zannah Mustapaha, Malam Sambo Ingawa, Kalli Ghazali, Abubakar Michika and Prof. Abubakar Mustapha, (mni), OFR.
Signed: Dr. Junaid Muhammed Convener