The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has written to the 19 northern governors demanding that they urgently address the state of insecurity or the continual massacre of people in the region by Boko Haram, while casting doubt on the readiness of the military to bring the insurgency to an end.
This is just as top military chiefs have expressed their dismay over public criticism of how the counter-insurgency war is being waged, blaming intellectuals, lecturers and journalists for the negative public perception of the armed forces.
The military generals also believed that the counter-insurgency war was increasingly being politicised as criticism is affecting the morale of the rank and file.
In the letter tagged “Protest against the massacre of our people in the north” addressed to the 19 governors of the north through the chairman of the Northern States’ Governors Forum, NSGF, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the ACF said the governors could completely lose relevance over their inability to protect the lives and property of people in the region.
The letter signed by the chairman of ACF and former inspector-general of police Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, who led other members of the forum to Governor Aliyu in Minna yesterday, alleged that the killings in some parts of the north have made it imperative for the governors to rise up against the development crippling the region.
“Over the years and specifically since 2009, thousands of lives have been lost to the war waged at first by the Boko Haram militant group but now only the Almighty Allah knows who is killing our people in the north and destroying their properties,” the protest letter reads in part.
Consequently,he said governors in the northern region should collectively stand up and fight the ugly development or risk their relevance in the eyes of their people.
Apparently corroborating the claim of Borno State governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the ACF chairman said that the army division established to fight the insurgents in the north-east seems not to have the combat ability and readiness to checkmate the insurgencies and stop the killings of defenceless persons.
“It is common knowledge that the Army Division claimed to have been established to fight the insurgents does not have up to a full combat-ready battalion on the ground. And troops so thinly deployed are most inadequately equipped and motivated.
“Barring insincerity, why was the governor of Borno State so castigated when His Excellency told the truth about the situation?
“Our people are being made refugees, fleeing from their homes and towns to neighbouring countries. Economic activities have ground to a total halt, with affected families now resorting to unconventional means of survival. There is certainly more than meets the eye. Or else, how come a convoy of thirty to sixty vehicles full of arsenal-men and material travel five to ten kilometers, conduct an operation, killing people and destroying property and return to base unchallenged?” the ACF boss asked.
While stating that the governors should not allow the people to take to the streets before redoubling their effort in mitigating the situation, the ACF chairman said “as concerned elders of Yan Arewa, the only option left for us in ACF is to join the people and take to the streets. We hope that this unpalatable option will not be allowed to happen before our leaders wake up to their responsibilities. Our governors need to join us so that we can stand up with our people and say enough is enough.”
Aliyu decried the continuous killing of innocent and defenceless people in some parts of the north, saying that there was urgent need for more efforts to find solution to the situation in the region.