The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has urged the federal government to take more decisive action against the growing spate of killings in the country.
Following the adoption of a report of the forum’s secretariat for the expansion of its presence and impact in all parts of the North, the elders also set-up a special committee to unite the Northern region.
The committee is saddled with the responsibility of intervening in the peace and socio-economic unity of the North, particularly in Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna States where the killings have been taking place.
A communiqué issued at the end of a meeting of all the organs of the forum held at the Arewa House Kaduna on Monday noted that the Northern elders reviewed the state of security of Northern communities, the economy and events related to the 2019 elections.
The communiqué signed by Prof Ango Abdullahi, convener of the Northern Elders Forum also took stock of the killings in many parts of the North.
The Northern elders drew the attention of all leaders to the fact that the security of citizens and the promotion of their welfare are the only purpose of government.
They also cautioned politicians and religious leaders to avoid all forms of ‘reckless and senseless’ utterances capable to causing violence.
The forum, while noting the efforts of political leaders, security agents and the federal government to stopping the alarming levels of killings in North East, Zamfara, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau and many other parts of the North, called for more decisive efforts to bring the killings to an end.
The communiqué noted: “Citizens’ faith in the nation and its leadership is directly related to a demonstration of its willingness and success in protecting their lives and creating a conducive environment for the pursuit of their welfare.
“The Forum is also concerned that rising tensions around political and electoral competition towards 2019 general elections will represent additional threats to national security and the conduct of free and fair elections under a safe and secure atmosphere.
“The pronounced presence of physical violence in campaigns and other political activities, as well as reckless and irresponsible utterances by some political office holders/religious and community leaders should be condemned and eliminated by those with the responsibility to do so”.
Announcing the setting up of the special committee to unite the Northern region, the elders stated: “The Forum restates it commitment to improve all relations with other groups in the North to enhance Northern unity. It accepted the report from its secretariat for the expansion of its presence and impact in all parts of the North.
“The Forum has decided also to set up a special high powered committee to pro-actively intervene in the peace and socio-economic unity of the North, especially in Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna states.
“The Forum appreciates the requests from a number of socio-cultural groups from many parts of the country to discuss matters that agitate the minds of millions of citizens on the nation’s current challenges as well as its future.
“The Forum welcomes the opportunity to engage all groups on all issues that are important to the North and Nigeria. It accepts to engage, without pre-conditions, any group that approaches it to examine the foundations of our union and the nature and solutions to our political, economic and security challenges”.
The Northern elders condoled all communities and families who lost their members in the series of killings in the North, even as it urged both the federal and state governments to provide immediate palliative succour for those disposed.
Get your PVCs, Sultan Tells Muslims
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has urged Muslims across the country to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in order to elect competent leaders in the upcoming general elections.
The Sultan made the call yesterday in Kaduna at the annual Pre-Ramadan meeting organised by the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI).
“Islam is a religion of justice and fairness, as such, I urge you to evaluate the current situation of the country and make your own judgment, vote for the candidates you feel will serve you better,’’ the royal father said.
On the commencement of the Ramadan, the monarch urged Muslims to be united and trust the Moon Sighting Committee, noting that members are honest people and would state correctly when the moon is sighted.
“We don’t want division among ourselves on the issue of the Ramadan moon sighting, the Moon Sighting Committee will not give wrong information, ” he said.
Earlier, Dr Usman Bugaje of the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), who spoke on the security challenges in the country, decried the perennial killings in the North.
Bugaje also argued that the presidential system adopted in Nigeria had not yielded positive results, urging a return to the British parliamentary model.
“Resources are being wasted in the name of politics as a result of the American style of government which does not suit Nigeria; the parliamentary system is better,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Secretary General of JNI, Dr Khalid Aliyu, appealed to Muslims to make concerted efforts aimed at bringing sanity into the conduct of Tafsir and other preaching sessions for the benefit of humanity.
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