SPONSORS and couriers of terror may be in for an uphill task as Northern leaders have vowed to finally take the bull by the horn and halt the spiraling dastardly attacks which have engulfed the region in recent months.
Hope that sanity would soon return to the northern states, currently dreaded as a terrorism siege region, no thanks to the incessant bombings and other violent strikes by suspected members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram emerged at the weekend.
Northern traditional leaders, governors stake in peace
With the suicide bombings and other strikes putting Nigeria in terrorism spotlight, Northern emirs and chiefs, on Saturday converged for what has been described as an all-important parley at the Council of Chief’s Chamber, Lugard Hall, Kaduna on ways of tackling the problem which is fast tearing the country apart.
Participants at the meeting included four Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger State; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa; Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Kaduna and Tanko Almakura, Nasarawa. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Speaker of the National Assembly was also at the parley on the crisis in the North.
Prominent Nigerians of Northern extraction told National Daily that the parley held exactly a week to the 51st independence anniversary could not have come at a better time. It would be recalled that last year, Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations were jolted by dastardly bomb attacks near the Eagle Square venue where over 50 heads of governments joined President Goodluck Jonathan’s predecessors and a multitude of dignitaries from all works of life for the epoch event.
Crises in the North
Though a lot of challenges have been ravaging the northern states, just as their counterparts in the South, there has been nothing like the emerging terrorism trend, sources said.
The terrorism menace which crept into the northern states in the electioneering period has since gone full blast, with Borno as the attackers’ prime base. Ever since then, efforts by Federal Government, concerned citizens and groups to nip the crisis in the bud have yielded no fruit, while the image of the country remained rubbished in the international arena.
Ahead of October 1, National Daily checks across the federation reveal security fortification at all important installations, yet the Northern leaders at the weekend urged all hands to be on deck, stressing that with a united front and sincerity of purpose, the perpetrators of violence will surely be subdued soon.
Chairman of the Northern Traditional Council, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar who also is the Sultan of Sokoto without mincing words, charged northern politicians to be serious and sincere with one another. He stressed that the sustenance of peace and harmony within the various communities depends on the ability and willingness of the leaders to discharge effectively their responsibility to those who elected them.
Sultan Sokoto remarks on attacks
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important to draw our attention to the unfortunate flare-up of the Jos and Boko Haram sectarian crises which had claimed a large number of innocent lives and destroyed the livelihood of a significant percentage of our people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I believe the time has come for us all to renew our determination as a people, as a region and as a nation, to resolve these crises. We must work together to ensure that peace, security and religious harmony return to every nook and corner of northern Nigeria. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We must be able to revamp our governance infrastructure to ensure that government at all levels is able to meet the basic needs of Nigerians, including security of life and property.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But above, we must imbibe the spirit of dialogue and reconciliation and open effective channels of communication among our people, to discuss common concerns, acknowledge differences and explore means of overcoming these differences,Ã¢â‚¬Â the Sultan said.
On the other hand, Dr. Aliyu, Chairman of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum, urged the Emirs to be decisive and courageous in tackling our socio-political problems as soon as they arise to forestall escalation and degeneration beyond control.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need to do a lot at different levels to change the perception of the North as the bastion of violence, poverty and religious extremism. As traditional leaders, you cannot do a lot to assist the development process in the society by involving yourselves in matters that affect the socio-economic well-being of the people.
Gov Aliyu remarks on extremism
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think we have a responsibility to act decisively to conquer poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, diseases and extremism of all forms before we can genuinely hope to achieve desirable lasting peace and stability. We can’t drag our feet any longer, we can’t continue to double speak in our handling of the issues, saying one thing in the open and acting differently in private. We must categorically say no to the recurring wave of bombings, terrorism and crimes in our communities.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need to go beyond that, to address the underlying causes of these symptoms to take practical steps to cure the diseases and to move forward. To secure our future and forestall violence, crises and conflicts, we must create the space and opportunities for people to realize their full potentials and aspirations,Ã¢â‚¬Â he advised.
Yakowa lauds the rare peace move
Host of the leaders Governor Yakowa of Kaduna lauded the traditional rulers for their collaboration to find a lasting solution to the frequent ethno-religious and political disturbances, as well as general insecurity in the region and the nation in general.
He said the meeting provided the rare opportunity to review issues of concern to the North and the country, particularly on matters of peace, security, stability and socio-economic progress and development.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Your overwhelming attendance at this meeting today demonstrates your resolve towards uniting and building the society, so as to enable every stakeholder contribute his or her quota to the progress of our common goals and aspirations.
The traditional leaders’ participation at the meeting, according Yakowa said, shows their Ã¢â‚¬Å“determination and sincere commitment to the peace, progress and development of the North and Nigeria in general.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Meanwhile, National Daily gathered that prominent traditional rulers, Emirs of Kano and Zazzau, Alhaji Ado Bayero and Dr. Shehu Idris did not attend the meeting, a situation which sources said sends serious worrisome signal on the whole cause.
More reactions to national security and Boko Haram
Despite the weekend’s meeting, the popular impression has been that Northern elites have maintained lukewarm attitude in tackling the problem. National Daily earlier last week spoke with Alhaji Lawal Kaita who was governor of Kaduna State in the Second Republic, 1983.The 80 years old elders statesman said the leaders have been somewhat handicapped by the Federal government’s stance on the issue,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, I don’t know your expectations but elders of Borno State, led by Shittima Ali Mongunu went to meet with President Jonathan in Abuja and advised him to withdraw the military in Borno State but he said: No. So, what do you expect the Northern leaders to do? The troubled area is Borno, Shittima Ali Mongunu is a renowned Northern leader who is respected in this country. If our president refused to listen to such respected leader from the North, who else can he listen to in the North?
But Kaita was emphatic that the traditional leaders and governors could stop the mayhem in the North. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the northern governors should sit down and tackle this problem once and for all. It is indeed their responsibility to stop the senseless killings in the north, the Boko Haram in Maiduguri and the Jos ethnic crisis.
Kaita tasks Northern leaders, Nigerians on security
Alhaji Kaita said it is a national plague which should bother every citizen. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every sensible Nigerian should be worried with what is happening today in our country. I don’t know the best approach to tackle this menace whether to assemble all the northern religious and political leaders, governors etc and take them to Borno and discuss with the Boko Haram because I think the answer is negotiation and dialogueÃ¢â‚¬Â
Recently, the United Nations House in Abuja was blown up and several people die and scores others wounded. Though Boko Haram has been blamed for the attack, indications are that other small terror groups are breeding though with alleged alien components, as trainers and sponsors. National Daily gathered that the United States and most Western countries have since raised travel security alerts to Nigeria and their security agencies are said to be ready to offer logistic support to put down terrorism scourge.