President Goodluck Jonathan
By Godwin Haruna
Concerned by the rising spate of violence in some Northern states of the country, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) Tuesday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to engage the youths in a meaningful dialogue with a view to proffering lasting solution to the menace that has resulted in wanton destruction of lives and property.
The pan Northern group attributed the immediate cause of the insurgence to poverty, illiteracy and neglect by successive governments.
AYF under the leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Gunjujgu, rose from an emergency meeting yesterday in Abuja and called on the President to emulate the virtues of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who introduced amnesty in the then troubled Niger delta region when the youths were agitating for their rights.
They noted: “The cost of maintaining security in the north is quite alarming as it goes to the detriment of core development that we are lacking. It is only when Mr. President listens to the aggrieved youths in the north that he will be able to know their pains and therefore, take practical steps to proffering lasting solution to the poverty, illiteracy and dearth of social amenities that resulted in the seemingly unending violence.”
They stated further in their statement: “We refer to the case of the Niger Delta youth restiveness, which posed a serious threat and challenge to our nation when the late President Yar'Adua in his wisdom took a giant stride by introducing amnesty programme for the restive youths.
“Today, these men and women who were hitherto fighting the government have been trained in various fields of endeavour and now have a sense of belonging. Today we can say with all sense of modesty that the amnesty programme was a huge success.
“The late president dangled the carrots, the militant Niger Delta youths embraced it, surrendered their arms and today the region is in peace. It is this same line that the Arewa Youth Forum is calling on Mr. President to toe. There is no gainsaying that the violence and terror in the north is even worse than what we had in the Niger Delta. And unlike the Niger Delta, the violence in the northern region is targeted at lives, security agents, property and even livestock. In short, life in the north is miserable to say the least.”
The group said the insurgence might seem insurmountable on the surface, but a closer look into the root cause would suggest otherwise; adding: “Insurmountable as it may seem, the insurgence can be curbed if President Jonathan applies the solution-oriented vision that late President Yar’Adua employed during the Niger Delta crisis and this is what AYF is asking for.”