The Coalition of Northern Groups, (CNG) has bemoaned the “escalation of attacks and killings across Northern Nigerian communities,” describing it as a sign of government failure at all levels.
The group particularly condemned the escalation of attacks and killings by terrorists in the North, saying the government’s slow response to killings suggested that it was not disturbed by the loss of the lives of its citizens.
The group stressed that the nation’s forests have become ungoverned spaces inhabited by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals while major and vital highways in the region have been taken over by bandits who kill and kidnap with audacity, at will, and with ease.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the spokesman of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, noted that the recent roasting to death of 23 travelers at Anguwan Bawa in Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State by bandits, the attacks of ISWAP in the Northeast, and the unabated phenomenon of banditry along Abuja-Kaduna highway as well as school abductions have exposed the helplessness of the government.
In the last two weeks, he said the phenomenon of banditry has steadily and increasingly found its way back to the Abuja-Kaduna highway, with operations that resulted in heavy casualties and huge abductions on almost daily basis scaring travellers off the vital link road to the South and the far North.
“All these are in addition to daily occurrences across several communities in Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Zaria and the entire Southern part of Kaduna State; regular rampant attacks and destructions in Batsari and other communities of Katsina state, and across Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Benue and Plateau States,” he said.
On the abduction of school children, he said: “In 2021 alone, over 800 persons have been abducted by non-state actors in the North.”
He stressed that a further escalation of the security challenges bedeviling the North today would pose existential threats not only to the region but to the whole nation.
According to him, “The Coalition of Northern Groups is agitated by the recent unchecked escalation of attacks and killings across Northern Nigerian communities, cities, towns, and highways that has literally exposed the entire region to the mercy of Boko Haram-ISWAP insurgents to the North East, and ruthless banditry and kidnapping rings to the North West and North Central.
“At the risk of overstating the case, we can unhesitatingly assert that already, Nigeria’s vast land borders with its northern neighbours have been completely overrun by assortments of armed criminal gangs turning them into dangerous conduits for drugs, arms, smugglers, illegal immigrants and foreign fighters from countries in the troubled Sahel region.
“CNG notes that the following recent escalations of attacks, killings and kidnappings while the presidency appears in total isolation or in deep denial by constantly flaunting victory in the face of glaring failure, has reached an unacceptable and an intolerable point where the urgent citizen action remains the only option.”
Sequel to this, the CNG said it has inadvertently arrived at certain inevitable observations and inferences: “That the federal and state governments in the North have woefully failed in the vital area of providing security of lives and properties to citizens, especially in northern Nigeria, where the ruling All Progressives Congress extracted the bulk of its votes in the 2015 and 2019 rounds of elections.
“That the escalation of the security challenges bedeviling the North today, are not only existential threats to the region, but to the whole nation with our very fragile democracy threatened by the worst insecurity of our lifetime.”
The spokesman of the group said the glaring inability to secure the borders, forests and highways in northern Nigeria were partly a result of incapacity, absence of political will, defence corruption and bad governance.
In recognition of the enormity of the security and socioeconomic challenges, he said the CNG has resolved to embark on a massive mobilisation of all men and women of goodwill in the region and beyond, to raise their voices to give voice to our voiceless people.
He continued: “Consequently, the CNG has resolved to organise a Mega Pan Northern Nigerian Summit under the chairmanship of the convener of the Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi to look into and proffer definite solutions to the security challenges in the region.”
He added that the summit billed to hold in Abuja, would involve critical stakeholders.