THE Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed concerns about President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying that Nigerians are becoming more endangered by the day.
The group has also warned state governors, especially those from the northern part of the country, to design their security architectures while maintaining cooperation with the existing national security operatives.
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s director in charge of publicity and advocacy, in a statement, stressed that the current administration had lost the initial confidence reposed in it by the citizenry.
This is coming on the heels of Friday kidnap of 317 schoolgirls attending Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
“It has become painfully obvious that the federal government is unable to muster the will or the capacity to limit exposure of Nigerians to violent criminals,” the forum stated.
The statement said that “in spite of assurances from the federal government that it will end banditry and kidnappings, the life of the Nigerian is becoming more endangered by the day, and citizens have lost faith that governments will reverse the successes of the criminal against defenseless citizens.
“The forum advises particularly Northern governors to explore all lawful avenues to improve the security of citizens.”
“While they should improve their support to the military, the police and security agencies, they should also explore avenues which give them more powers to secure citizens within the confines of the constitution which gives states powers to establish policing structures, including those with specialisation such as forest rangers. This should now be pursued as a matter of national priority.
“Bandits who refuse to submit to mediation and cessation of criminal activities should be treated in accordance with the laws of the country,” the forum advised.
The forum expressed concerns on the implication of continuous child abduction on the education sector in northern states.
The group urged parents to remain resolute and not be discouraged from sending their wards to school.
It further urged state governments to also ensure adequate security around school premises.
“Apart from the likelihood of similar abductions reccurring as bandits engage in copycat crimes in a region that is basically unprotected, these abductions will severely damage the poor state of education in the North, particularly girl-child education,” it said.
The recent incident is one of the series of abductions that have occurred in the country since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.