By John Shiklam
A coalition of Northern youth groups under the umbrella of Coalition Against Killings In Northern Nigeria (CAKIN) and the Northern Groups Coalition (NGC) have asked the federal government to stop the massive killings and raiding of communities in the north by bandits and the Boko Haram insurgents.
In separate statements issued on Monday in Kaduna, they decried the deplorable security situation in the north and demanded the immediate removal of service chiefs.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle the situation to act fast to safe the maiming and destructions of lives and property.
CAKIN in its statement gave a 14-day ultimatum to federal government to stop the killings in the entire states of the north, warning that it would be left with no option than to mobilize citizens to take to streets until the government is completely shutdown.
The group lamented that five years into President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the security situation had continued to escalate, leading to massive killings and destructions.
Their statement was signed by Isa Abubakar (Northern Youth Council of Nigeria), Yerima Shettima (Arewa Youth Consultative Forum), Yusufu Amoke (Northern Anti Corruption Front), Mohammed Danlami (Arewa Youth Assembly) and Murtala Abubakar (Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Association) among others.
The group declared that Buhari has failed Nigerians who gave him massive support, believing that as a retired military general, he had the capacity to tackle
the security challenges bedevilling the country.
“It is on a sad note that this coalition wishes to remind the federal government and government at all levels, that the primary responsibility of government anywhere particularly the one that was democratically elected by voters is to protect the lives and property of citizens.
“Recall that, Nigerians particularly Northerners voted President Muhammad Buhari enmass to power in 2015 in anticipations that as a former military head of state, and a retired General he is positioned to deal decisively with all forms of threats to the security of our people, particularly challenges of Boko Haram that had caused hardship and unprecedented destruction of lives and economic activities.
“Alas, five years into President Muhammad Buhari’s tenure instead of reducing insecurity, it has escalated thereby exposing great numbers of our people to avoidable deaths and loss of property in a manner that history has never witnessed before, ” the CAKIN said.
It maintained that “as patriotic citizens, it is our constitutional duty to raise voices and call attention to the killings that is taking place across states of the Northern regions on a daily basis and mobilize citizens on how to constructively engage government at all levels and make demands to end the killings.
“The coalition is saying enough is enough and an end must be put to the mindless killings of our people particularly in the villages, and the nonchalant attitude displayed by government and its agencies to the plights of people going through horrific experience in the hands of criminals that seems to have overwhelmed our security agencies.
“Consequently, the Coalition Against Killings In Northern Nigeria wishes to put forward the following demands”.
The group demanded “unequivocally that President Muhammad Buhari as Commander in Chief should immediately relief the service chiefs of their duties.
“Equally, the coalition demands that all security personnels who are living above their legitimate earnings should be investigated and prosecuted immediately.
“The coalition further demands that security votes by the state governors be abolished without second thought.
“The coalition strongly supports the idea community policing and calls for its immidiate implementation nation wide.”
It declared that “enough is enough” as it “can no longer tolerate mindless killings of innocent citizens of the northern Nigeria without the government doing much to stop it.”
“The Coalition from today June, 15th 2020 give a 14-day ultimatum to federal government to end killings in the entire states of the north.
“After the expiration of this ultimatum, any reported case of killings will leave the coalition with no option than to mobilize citizens to take to streets until the government is completely shut down”, the statement said.
On its own, the NGC demanded “a total overhaul of the leadership of the nation’s security apparatus and injection of a higher levels of competence, integrity and accountability.
The group declared that it will embark on a protest against the killings on Tuesday (tomorrow) in Katsina.
The statement signed by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, spokesman of the group, said the second round of the protest will hold in the various northern states capitals on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
The statement said the protest “shall take the form of a controlled gathering at the palaces of respective heads of the traditional institutions or Houses of Assembly in the states” to submit written letters of complaint for onward transmission to higher authorities.
It said the protest “shall not in anyway involve mass street processions, pathway obstructions, denigration or tampering with symbols and or structures.”
The statement urge governments and security agencies to respect the constitutional rights of citizens to express their opinions peacefully.
The group lamented that over the last three weeks, the escalation of killings and destruction in most northern states had accentuated tension across the country and ultimately placed the current administration on the wrong side of public opinion and history.
The group maintained that: “The rise in the spate of violence and bloodshed in Katsina, Borno, Taraba, Sokoto, Kaduna, Zamfara and several other northern communities has become a major trying point for everyone but the President – who has remained detached from the reality.
“The sixth sense required for recognising the urgency of the situation appears to have deserted President Buhari, putting him on a different wavelength with the suffering public.”
The statement said “at this time of national reckoning, the entire administration seems out of tune with much, if not all, of the rest of the Nigerian population, necessitating a general opinion shift so fast and deeply.”
The group said “the consequences of the events of the last few weeks have therefore grown politically, economically, and socially too great to be ignored by any genuine northern stakeholder.
“The administration’s various attempts to reassert public confidence with repeated rhetoric of being on top of the situation, seems increasingly discordant as the violent attacks, killings, kidnaps and looting become more regular with calls to protest becoming overwhelmingly loud and widespread.
“Moved by the urgency of these public agitations for citizen action, the CNG has accepted to champion regionwide peaceful protests to identify with the estranged northern population and to register the mounting public safety concerns with the authorities.
“The CNG is thoroughly convinced that the northern population must rise to raise its voice and organize through all legitimate means including peaceful protests to demand that the administration addresses major failings in its perception of the desperate situation in the North and its response to the people’s demands for their rights to security.”