•Say life has no value under him
•Describe Garba Shehu’s comment as insensitive
By Adedayo Akinwale
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has demanded the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari following the mounting security challenges in the country with the government appearing helpless.
The Forum also expressed outrage over the massacre of Borno rice farmers, saying life has no value under Buhari’s administration.
It added that, “In civilized nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign.”
The Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Forum, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement issued Tuesday, described the response by the President’s spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, as ‘most insensitive’.
The forum said it had consistently drawn attention to lack of political will to fight the Boko Haram insurgency and other threats such as banditry, rustling and kidnapping.
It added that it had offered suggestions on how the security infrastructure could be improved and leadership of the military could be made more effective.
NEF said obviously, despite advice and concerns from many other Nigerians, these had made no impression on President Buhari.
It stated: “Northern Elders Forum (NEF) joins Nigerians in expressing outrage at the killings of farmers in Borno State and many other people on a daily basis in many parts of the North. Our voices have been raised without pause for a long time against pervasive insecurity in our region.
“These particular killings have been greeted by the most insensitive response by spokespersons of the President. The lame excuse that farmers had not sought permission from the military to harvest produce merely expose the misleading claims that our military had secured vast territories from the insurgency.”
“Under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizens are coming under the influence of criminals. We do not see any evidence of a willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians.
“In civilized nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign,” it added.
The Forum pointed out that these killings and the reality they expose would make relocation of citizens and resumption of economic activities a lot more difficult to achieve even for a leadership that attaches priority to them, adding this administration does not.
It noted that elsewhere in many parts of the North, many farming communities had not been allowed by bandits and kidnappers to plant crops.
It said those who did were being prevented from harvesting by these same criminals, adding that the prospects for famine are real in the face of limited production of food in many of our communities.