John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) wednesday announced the establishment of a security outfit known as “Shege-Ka-Fasa,” its own version of “Amotekun”to tackle the security challenges facing the north.
Announcing the establishment of the outfit at a news conference in Kaduna, the spokesman of the group, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the CNG had written to the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) to support the group.
He said if the northern governors and leaders from the region fail to give the necessary support, the CNG will obtain the required legal backing for the outfit from the relevant federal authorities.
Abdulhazeez explained that “the outfit is designed to be the vanguard of the entire North, encompassing every ethnic group and religion and would be patriotic in its operations in addition to performing general complimentary tasks for enhancing security in the region”.
He said “If the state governments and other leaders of the region fail to take action to protect the region the way their southern counterparts are doing, CNG is willing to follow through with all the processes of obtaining the required legal backing for the outfit from the relevant federal authorities.
“We resolved to formalise this request by writing to the governors through the Northern Governors Forum and to the leaderships of traditional, religious and cultural institutions in the region.
“We wish to draw attention that it is absolutely impossible to expect that communities would continue to fold their arms while criminals invade their abodes, kill, abduct and displace them”.
He said further that “by this, today we unveil the symbols for the Shege Ka Fasa outfit, which would be formally inaugurated in the coming few weeks when all necessary legal processes might have been completed or formally adopted and ratified by the northern states governors.”
According to the group, “for the past 12 years, the North has struggled with disabling challenges that include dwindling economy, rising poverty and more worrying, a crippling security situation that has taken a huge toll in lives, property and the overall cohesion of the region.”
He said “the situation manifested in 2008 in the form of a deadly insurgency from the North-east and within a short time, spread to other parts of the region and virtually turned the entire region into a battlefield”.
The CNG lamented that “while the insurgency raged, other disturbances were created in the region in the form of cattle rustling that pitched northern communities against each other.
“A new dimension was introduced to the farmers/herders conflict, which gradually deteriorated into an uncontrollable proportion and deepened the artificial rift between communities in the region.
According to him, “this trend suddenly metamorphosed into a deadly armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom, which is recycled for arms and drugs.”
Abdulhazeez also noted “the theft and forced trafficking in northern children to other parts of the country for reasons that are largely dubious.”
He said the culmination of these security challenges has turned the entire region into a house of horror with violent killings reported on a daily basis as communities were being displaced with formal and informal IDP camps spreading across the north.
The group decried a situation where people were being attacked, robbed and abducted on highways, while town and villages were being attacked by bandits.
“As the situation grows more desperate by the day with the North as the most porous and vulnerable, with northerners as the most distressed and estranged, CNG hereby makes the following observations:
“That there is an apparent correlation between the current security situation and the unchecked proliferation of hard drugs and other dangerous substances.
“That the current security challenges in the region are therefore driven by the proliferation of firearms and hard drugs which are deliberately introduced into the region by outside interests.
“That the drug and firearms trade is fueled by illegal funds channeled by international financial criminals such as Yahoo boys desperate to launder money into the country.
“That already, this trend has completely undermined the economic and social fabrics of the North, and is responsible for the rampant social problems like banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other forms of security challenges witnessed today.
“That the current desperate situation in the North can be largely contained and eventually controlled by intensifying the task of anticipating and checkmating the manoeuvres of all criminal elements and blocking the supply channels for such dangerous merchandise as firearms and drugs,” he explained.
He stated that this task can only be successfully achieved with the active involvement of the members of all northern communities that are at the receiving end of the apparent security lapses.
“That in the prevailing circumstances, the only option, is to resort to voluntary self-defense mechanisms in line with initiatives taken by other regions that are even least affected in comparison to what obtains in the North”.