The Coalition of Northern Groups CNG is agitated by the recent unchecked escalation of attacks and killings across Northern Nigerian communities, cities, towns and highways that has literally exposed the entire region to the mercy of Boko Haram- ISWAP insurgents to the North East, and ruthless banditry and kidnapping rings to the North West and North Central.
At the risk of overstating the case, we can unhesitatingly assert that already, Nigeria’s vast land borders with its northern neighbours have been completely overrun by assortments of armed criminal gangs turning them into dangerous conduits for drugs, arms, smugglers, illegal immigrants and foreign fighters from countries in the troubled Sahel region.
Our forests have become ungoverned spaces inhabited by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals while major and vital highways in the region have been taken over by bandits who kill and kidnap with audacity, at will, and with ease.
Pervasive insecurity in the region has cost the lives of thousands of people with thousands more displaced from their ancestral homes to IDP camps; people have been displaced from their farms and pushed deeper into poverty; education in the region is endangered due to school abductions; there is hunger, anger, gloom and terror in the region.
CNG notes that the following recent escalations of attacks, killings and kidnappings while the presidency appears in total isolation or in deep denial by constantly flaunting victory in the face of glaring failure, has reached an unacceptable and intolerable point where urgent citizen action remains the only option.
- North West
The latest, most disturbing and unacceptably devastating incident occurred early this week, when a vehicle conveying 24 travellers was ambushed and shot at by bandits, before setting it and its occupants ablaze, roasting 23 to death at Anguwan Bawa in Sabon Birni Council of Sokoto state, Northwestern Nigeria.
In the last two weeks of November alone, bandits have carried out daring highway operations in more than ten communities in the Shinkafi axis of Sokoto State killing several and abducting of of innocent civilians who are still in captivity.
- North East
Wednesday December 8: ISWAP attacked and overrun a police station and newly constructed Army barracks in Buni Yadi injuring several policemen and sending others fleeing.
Thursday December 2: Two officers and five soldiers in one of the battalions of operation Hadin Kai were killed when ISWAP fighters attacked Rann town in Kala Balge LGA of Borno State
About 24 hours after the attack in Rann, Boko Haram also attacked Malam Fatori in Abadam Local Government Area, Borno State.
Tuesday, November 30: ISWAP fighters waged gun truck attacks in Buni Yadi, Gujba LGA of Yobe state.
These incidents came three weeks after ISWAP fighters killed Dzarma Zirkusu, a Brigadier General and commander of the army brigade in Chibok.
- North Central
The latest among several other incidences in Niger State in North Central Nigeria involved the razing of hectares of cultivated land with crops wasted and the complete siege by bandits on the entire Kagara/ Tegina axis.
Earlier bandit attacks in Niger involved the killing of one hunter and abduction of about 30 persons in Zazzaga Community in Munya Local Government forcing the state Governor to admit that insurgents have taken total control of several local governments in the state.
- Kaduna-Abuja highway
In the last two weeks, the phenomenon of banditry has steadily and increasingly found its way back to the Abuja-Kaduna highway, with operations that result in heavy casualties and huge abductions on almost a daily basis scaring travellers off this vital link road to the South and the far North.
All these are in addition to daily occurrences across several communities in Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Zaria and the entire Southern part of Kaduna State; regular rampant attacks and destructions in Batsari and other communities of Katsina state, and across Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Benue and Plateau States.
- School abductions
In 2021 alone, over 800 persons have been abducted by non-state actors in the North. In September, 73 children were abducted in Kaya, Maradun local government of Zamfara State.
At the College of Agriculture and Animal Health in Bakura, Zamfara State, 15 persons were taken. While 121 were abducted at Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State.
In May, 156 children were abducted at an Islamiyya in Niger state. Similarly, 270 were abducted in Jangebe in Marafa Local Government of Zamfara.
In the light of the above, the CNG has inadvertently arrived at the following inevitable observations and inferences:
- That the federal and state governments in the North have woefully failed in the vital area of providing security of lives and properties to citizens especially in northern Nigeria where the ruling All Progressives Congress extracted the bulk of its votes in the 2015 and 2019 rounds of elections.
That the escalation of the security challenges bedeviling the North today, are not only existential threats to the region but to the whole nation with our very fragile democracy threatened by the worst insecurity of our lifetime.
- That the glaring inability to secure the borders, forests and highways in northern Nigeria are partly a result of incapacity, absence of political will, defence corruption and bad governance.
In recognition of the enormity of these security and socioeconomic challenges, the CNG has resolved to embark on a massive mobilisation of all men and women of goodwill in the region and beyond, to raise their voices to give voice to our voiceless people.
Consequently, the CNG has resolved to organise a Mega Pan Northern Nigerian Summit under the chairmanship of the convener of the Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi to look into and profer definite solutions to the security challenges in the region.
The Summit shall involve such critical stakeholders as traditional rulers, clerics of all faiths, academics, community leaders, security personnel, students, women, youth and all trade organisations including ASUU, COASU, NUT, NUJ, NULGE, NGE, NURTW, NATO, vigilante groups as well as the business community.
The Summit has been scheduled for December 20 -21, 2021 at the Bon Hotel, 2 Monrovia Street, 0ff Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2
Spokesperson CNG, Abuja.