By Adedayo Akinwale
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari does not care about the security and economy of the people of the north.
The Forum, in a statement issued Monday by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, decried the slow pace of work on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highway.
It added that the consequent deterioration of the highway has made it the most dangerous highway in the nation and the most attractive to kidnappers who have resurfaced recently to compound routine losses of lives and billions in economic losses.
It stated: “Northern Elders Forum received information from those with responsibility for the reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highway that work on this vital artery in the north will not be completed for the next five years.
“The Forum is deeply shocked by this information. Although it is consistent with a registered record of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to matters affecting people of the north, it is nonetheless an irrefutable evidence that this administration does not care about the people of the north, their economy or their security.
“The only thing that mattered to him were our votes. This administration has just sentenced northerners to another five years to live with many threats to life and economy on this important highway.”
The forum noted that the project involving 375 kilometres of the most strategic highway in the north, and about the only link between the north and south was awarded in 2017 and work commenced in 2018.
This Forum said it had advised Nigerians, particularly northerners not to trust President Buhari with another mandate in 2019 because the evidence garnered from his first term was strong over his indifference to, and even disdain to northern communities.
The Forum noted that President Buhari would leave a very valuable legacy for northerners, adding that the legacy would remind them of the importance of electing good leaders who have solid records of competence, empathy and respect for the needs of citizens.
It therefore called on all citizens to raise their voices against the decision to continue to leave people who use the vital highway at the mercy of criminals and huge losses in lives and assets.