By John Shiklam
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed optimism about improved security in the country following a recent directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to security chiefs to do more to tackle insecurity.
NEF, in a statement last Sunday, had accused Buhari of failing to tackle insecurity, especially in the North where bandits, Boko Haram and herders have killed hundreds of people and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
But the presidency countered NEF’s accusations and described the Convener of the group, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, as a “General without troops.”
However, addressing the security chiefs at a security meeting on Thursday, Buhari told them that their best efforts at tackling the security challenges were not good enough and that they should up their game.
Reacting to the development, Abdullahi told THISDAY at the weekend that with the recent directive to security chiefs by Buhari, Nigerians would expect an improvement in the security situation in the country.
Abdullahi said Buhari’s directives showed that he appreciated the challenges in the security sector.
“This is what we have been complaining about; so, he is reacting positively as far as I am concerned,” he said.
He added that the president’s reaction to the security challenges “is a positive reaction and we look forward to seeing improvement in the nearest future.
“We raised the issue of insecurity in the country and he seems to agree that his security chiefs have not done enough; we are happy that he is asking them to do more and I think that is what the country needs.”
Spokesman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Emmanuel Yahwe, also told THISDAY that “the ACF is working on an official statement to be issued.”
A coalition of Northern youth groups under the umbrella of Coalition Against Killings In Northern Nigeria (CAKIN) and the Northern Groups Coalition (NGC), last Monday, had asked the federal government to stop the massive killings and raiding of communities in the North by bandits and Boko Haram insurgents.
In separate statements issued in Kaduna, they had also decried the deplorable security situation in the North and demanded the immediate removal of the service chiefs.
The group had called on Buhari to tackle the situation to stop further killings and destruction of property.
CAKIN, in its statement, had given a 14-day ultimatum to the federal government to stop the killings in the North, warning that it would be left with no option than to mobilise citizens to protest the insecurity.
The group noted that five years into Buhari’s administration, the security situation has continued to escalate, leading to massive killings and destruction.
However, the government responded by arresting and detaining the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Groups, Nastura Ashir Shariff.
He was detained at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, but was released after two days in detention, following NEF’s intervention.