By John Shiklam
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has berated the northern governors and other leaders for focusing attention on #EndSARS protests and censorship of the social media instead of addressing serious issues of insecurity, youth restiveness, unemployment and poverty and that is bedeviling the north.
CNG also condemned the Northern States’ Governors Forum (NSGF) over its silence on the alleged attacks on northerners and destruction of their property in some southern states.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Kaduna, spokesman of the group, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, stated that the group was disappointed with the outcome of the governors’ meeting with traditional rulers and top federal government functionaries on Monday in Kaduna.
Although the group endorsed the need to control the social media, which it noted “has been turned into avenues for dissemination of fake and dangerous information,” it expressed disappointment that nothing was said about the attacks on northerners in some southern parts the country.
Suleiman said: “The CNG and indeed the vast majority of the cultured northerners are disappointed that such a meeting of northern governors and traditional leaders, elected representatives and top federal government officials from the north should find it more important to dwell on #EndSARS and social media and neglecting the more serious issues of security, youth restiveness, unemployment, poverty, dwindling fortunes of agriculture and general economic decline.
“We are disappointed that such a meeting should lack the courage to make clear pronouncements on the unprovoked attacks on northerners and their property at a time when their southern counterparts are proposing claims of trillions of naira in compensation for their people.
“We are disappointed that the meeting lacked the requisite statesmanship to define the northern position with regards to the falsified reports around the fictitious attacks on Lekki protesters that is causing
the nation international
“It is disappointing that the meeting felt to see as priority the need to send a delegation to ascertain the extent of damage and to console the affected northerners in the southern states.
“We are disappointed that the meeting did not have the presence of mind to discuss the necessity of compensating the innocent northerners who were unnecessarily attacked, assaulted, killed, displaced and deprived.”
The CNG however commended the Rivers State governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike for taking steps to protect people from the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), noting that he is “the only southern governor that called out IPOB and its activities, by committing efforts to the protection of residents from other sections of the country, including northerners who were targeted in Rivers.”
“We also commend his swiftness in redeeming the N200million pledge to families of 10 security agents killed in Rivers State and repose confidence that he would extend same to northern communities that also fell victim of the violence associated with the protests.”
Suleiman assured that the CNG is collating information about the all northerners attacked in the south, so as to “come up with a comprehensive framework for ensuring the enforcement of their rights and accruable benefits as well as their safety wherever they live in Nigeria.”
The group also expressed its reservation on the two committees set up by the NSGF during their meeting in Kaduna, noting that in the past several of such committees were set up without any result.
“While hoping the northern governors and other leaders would rethink the apparent weak position adopted at the meeting and redeem their failure to articulate a more favourable northern position, the CNG wishes to express reservations regarding the two committees set up, their stated functions and the all-important issue of implications.
“In the past, several committees have been variously charged with tasks of recommending the way forward for the region.
“But regrettably, a lot of the recommendations, viable though they may be, have characteristically been consigned to the dust bin of history.
“While hoping that it will be different, at least this time around, we also expect that genuinely patriotic and productive minds would be engaged for meaningful input particularly for the Youth and Civil Society Committee, which is expected to engage the youths with a view to addressing their pressing demands to put to rest their agitations.”