By Ben Akande
ABUJA — Against the backdrop of the bloodletting and destruction of property by Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani mercenaries in the north and middle belt areas of the country, delegates at the National Conference yesterday lamented the security challenges facing the country and tasked the conference to proffer lasting solutions to the problem.
The conference delegates took the position on a day President Goodluck Jonathan called on world leaders to assist Nigeria identify sponsors of the Boko Haram terrorists organization, saying that the world has the responsibility of holding the sponsors of the deadly sect responsible and accountable for their atrocities
The delegates at the resumed plenary yesterday while discussing President Jonathan’s address raised the security concern in the country and called for a united front against the wanton killing of innocent people and destruction of property in some parts of the country.
A former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomassie, representing North‑West, said that the entire Northern Nigeria and most parts of the country have been subjected to insecurity.
According to him, “There is no part of Nigeria that is not being affected by insurgency. Since 2009, the citizens of North‑Eastern states are being killed and property worth billions of naira destroyed. We should therefore look at these issues holistically and ensure that we provide security for Nigeria.”
A woman delegate, Dr Fati Adamu, representing Kebbi,said: “As mothers and as women, we carry pregnancies for nine months, endured the pains of labour, and delivered the children just for them to be slaughtered. We endure the pains of childbirth and we also spent sleepless nights raising these children, please, enough is enough. As a mother and as a woman, we are pleading that whoever is involved, please stop killing our children.”
In his contribution, Chief Edwin Clark, an elder statesman, said the insurgency in the country called for collective efforts to defeat it, irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliation.
“Those who killed the 59 young children in Yobe did not differentiate between Christians and Muslims. Therefore, let us tolerate one another, let us be patriotic; we have no other country to go to. If you are a northerner or a southerner and we do not live together, then there will be no Nigeria; there will be no basis for us to come here,” Clark said.
Brig‑ Gen Muhammad Ali (rtd), representing Zamfara, said that the security situation in the country has deteriorated adding, “life is not worth a penny anymore. The 1999 Constitution states that the security and the welfare of the citizens shall be the primary responsibility of the government. Therefore, the nation has to wake up to its constitutional responsibility by safeguarding lives and property,” he said.
Jonathan tasks European, African leaders on Boko Haram
Meanwhile, President Jonathan, who spoke in Brussels, Belgium yesterday at the European Union/African Union summit on Peace and Security, argued that the world has the responsibility of holding the sponsors of the deadly sect responsible and accountable for their atrocities.
He submitted that there can be no development in Africa if the issue of insecurity is not holistically tackled, emphasizing that “peace and development are two sides of the same coin”.
While expressing appreciation of the government of Nigeria to the European Union for its support to Nigeria and other African countries to tackle the threat of terrorism from groups like Boko Haram and in the Sahel, President Jonathan maintained that “a terror attack on one nation is an attack on us all and everything must be done to expose and defeat them.
“The weapons of choice of these terror groups are the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Of recent, they have acquired the rocket-propelled grenades and even surface‑to‑air missiles. Where do they get “The weapons of choice of these terror groups are the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Of recent, they have acquired the rapid propelled grenades and even surface‑to‑air missiles. Where do they get these sophisticated weapons? The total value of what these terrorists possess as individuals, in terms of what they wear, where they live cannot buy an assault rifle. We all have the collective responsibility to un‑earth their sponsors and supporters who are determined to destabilise Africa. We should hold them responsible and accountable for their actions” the president said.