Abdul Aziz Suleiman

OBINNA EZUGWU

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has said it will begin an indefinite protest on Thursday (today) in the 19 states of the North in response to banditry and other security challenges in the region.

The Spokesperson for CNG, Abdulazeez Suleiman who announced the protest at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said the protests would be aimed at drawing the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and governors of the 19 northern states to the plight of the region concerning insecurity.

According to him, the ineptitude and an apparent failure of elected and appointed leaders from the North to either protect the lives and property of northerners or address many distresses the region faced had pushed them to the wall.

Suleiman urged the northerners, who would participate in the peaceful protest to conduct themselves peacefully, while urging the government to respect their rights to protest.

“The Coalition of Northern Groups has followed developments around the bold and necessary steps taken by Nigerian citizens to call attention to police brutality, the deteriorating national security and other pressing concerns,” he said.

“While the southern elected and appointed leaders and representatives are quick to identify with their people at the time of need, their counterparts from the North, including the President, the Senate President, senators, Rep members, governors, state legislators and other government appointees would rather abandon the hundreds of thousands of people in northern communities exposed to crime, lawlessness and insecurity in the hands of  bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, rapists rustlers, and other violent criminals without any form of protection.

“It is contradictory that despite several protests and pleas northerners have made, the authorities never deemed it fit to extend the swift spirit deployed against FSARS into securing the North, or addressing the myriad distresses faced by northerners.

“The Federal Government appears not keen on resolving the lingering dispute with the Academic Staff Union to enable the recommencement of university education.

“In the light of these observations, the CNG has no other option but to direct the extension of the protests to all northern states, commencing from Thursday, October 15, 2020.

“By this, all CNG state chapters and student wings are mandated to resume the mobilisation of responsible sections of the civil society, NGOs, women groups, professional associations, artisans and concerned parents in their respective states for the continuation of our protests started in Katsina State in June.

“CNG will lead the protest to demand the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency on security and take practical steps to end all manifestations of insecurity in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country.

“We demand thorough reorientation of the entire police force and its empowerment by way of additional personnel, modern training and adequate equipment to be able to reclaim its universal internal security function.

“We will mount pressure on leaders to show real commitment to protecting lives of citizens, ending the prolonged closure of our universities, reconsidering hiked commodity prices, reducing youth unemployment and checking the rise in poverty level.

“We publicly condemn and pass a vote of no confidence on those office holders and elected leaders who have abandoned the bulk of northerners to the mercy of a vicious insurgency, destructive banditry, rape and sexual assaults, violent communal clashes amidst mounting poverty and entrenched fear of widespread kidnappings for ransom.”