One of the regional groups representing Northern Nigeria, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has argued that insecurity facing Nigeria is not peculiar to the North, but a national problem.
According to the group, the description of the insecurity bedevilling the country as originating from the North has continued to inflame the Northern representation.
The NEF has launched a fierce argument that violence roots are spread across the entire country, rather than confined to one region.
“Boko Haram and armed Fulani criminal activities are not problems of the North or Kanuri of Fulani,” Convener of the NEF, Professor Ango Abdullahi, argued at the Northern Peoples Summit in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria Wednesday, April 7.
“They [insecurity] are national problems, and they threaten every Nigerian in equal measure,” Prof Abdullahi, represented by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s Director Publicity, said.
“Those who think they can solve the criminality amongst elements of Fulani through ethnic cleansing make a terrible mistake: it’s not just the Fulani with an AK47 that needs to be eliminated,” he maintained.
The NEF chief argued: “Every community harbours people who can buy AK47s and do what the criminal Fulani does.”
Prof. Abdullahi observed that the Nigerian state must come to terms with the reality that, “its legitimate monopoly over the use of violence has been severely damaged, and it cannot build straw fences around communities to give them a false sense of security.”
“Banditry, insurgency, cultism, piracy and irredentism are threats to the nation, and they must be treated with a mindset that appreciates their roots, complexities and solutions in a national context,” he argued.
The summit sought to, among others, examine insecurity as an issue in the context of demands for revisiting Nigeria’s structures, systems and processes as a country.