A group of northern leaders has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately change the leadership and structures of the military and police in Nigeria.
They described as disappointing, the President’s failure to appreciate the magnitude of the threats, which the protests posed to national security, stability and unity.
A statement by the group of 36 Nigerians from the North, including Engr Bello Suleiman, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Kirfi, Yomi Awoniyi and Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed stated that: “We are particularly disappointed at the tepid and disjointed responses of the administration.
“In particular, we have noted the distinct impression that the administration operates under the impression that the pressures and multiple interests behind these protests can be accommodated by routine and pedestrian approaches in administrative and policy styles.”
The group stressed that the continuation of protests could lead to negative consequences that include more dangerous acts of lawlessness.
This, it said, would worsen the state of insecurity of citizens as well as pose serious damage to the economy, increase the negative influence of foreign interests in the country’s national affairs as well as further damage the image and confidence of security, law and order institutions.
Other consequences, according to the group, include “increasing polarization of constituent parts of the nation and deepening the fault lines in our national politics; further alienation of younger Nigerians from political processes and institutions; widening the scope for opportunistic interests that target the political process, particularly the elections in 2023, and the possibility that the country could be threatened by desperate attempts to pitch supporters and opponents of the administration against each other.”
They urged the government to show a more determined effort at fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and kidnapping in the North, as well as the assumption of full responsibility to maintain all Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps in the northern states.
It called for an immediate resolution of the strike by ASUU and immediate resumption of all tertiary institutions as well as commitment from governments not to prosecute or punish peaceful protesters and the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry into the killing of protesters in Lagos and other parts of the country.