The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has again, attacked President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over the slow pace of work on the dreaded Abuja-Kaduna highway.
In a statement released on Monday signed by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the forum lamented the five-year completion time-frame as a sign that the administration does not care about the security and livelihood of the people of the North.
The forum lamented that the slow pace of the work and the consequent deterioration of the highway had 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.
“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 said.
“This 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. The slow pace of the work and the consequent deterioration of the highway had 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.
“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 irrefutable evidence that this administration does not care about the people of the North, their economy or their security.
“This Forum had advised Nigerians, particularly fellow Northerners not to trust President Buhari with another mandate in 2019 because evidence garnered from his first term was strong over his indifference to, and even disdain for our Northern communities. 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 notes that President Buhari will leave a very valuable legacy for Northerners. This legacy will remind us of the importance of electing good leaders who have solid records of competence, empathy and respect for the needs of citizens.
“In the meantime, the Forum calls on all citizens to raise their voices against this decision to continue to leave people who use this vital highway at the mercy of criminals and huge losses in lives and assets.”