By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
Leader of the Northern Elders’ Forum, Prof Ango Abdullahi, has upbraided the protagonists of total military takeover of the three states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, as a means of ending the orgy of violence in those states.
Abdullahi, who spoke in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, noted that those calling for the dismantling of democratic structure in a democratic regime were the real enemies of Nigeria and should be avoided like a plague.
The NEF bigwig said that it was absurd for people who were in a better position to advise the government properly to constitute themselves into agents of destabilisation and confusion at a time the nation needed clear direction and focus.
The former Ahmadu Bello University Vice Chancellor, who likened the protagonists of military takeover of the affected states to anarchists bent on plunging the country into deeper crisis for their selfish and myopic interest, asked President Goodluck Jonathan to distance himself from such elements.
The NEF leader, who blamed rising wave of terrorism in the North-East on the failure of the Federal Government to adhere to the recommendations of the Northern group, said it was unfortunate that the problem of insecurity had been left to blossom into a serious national problem for Nigeria.
Abdullahi noted that it was still possible for the government to defeat terrorism if it gives serious attention to tackling the menace with the firmness that it requires.
According to him, the issue of security should be placed on the concurrent list so as to enable the state governments to also play significant roles in the recruitment and deployment of security personnel to tackle emerging challenges.
“What we need in this country to nib in the bud the rising cases of terrorism is the willingness on the part of government to allow state governments to be involved in security matters of their respective states and be able to recruit and deploy those they believe can handle certain duties based on their knowledge of the terrain.
“It does not make sense for the federal government to continue to monopolise the management of security agencies when states can also contribute meaningfully towards checkmating rising security challenges in the land,” he said.
The former Food Security Adviser to President Obasanjo also threw his weight behind the Northern delegates’ demand for the reduction of oil derivation revenue from 13 percent to five and the abolition of the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Amnesty Programme for militants.
He said since oil was a natural resource put freely on the ground by God for Nigerians to enjoy, it was not necessary to pay heavy derivation to a few states in the Niger Delta, leaving the majority to wallow in penury.
According to him, only derivation earned from cultivated crops should be increased while that of oil, which belongs to nobody in Nigeria, should be drastically reduced.
Abdullahi said: “Nobody put oil in the ground and nobody has the right to call for 100 percent resource control; such can only be given to cultivated mineral resources.”
He said NEF aligned itself with the position being canvassed by Northern delegates at the ongoing National Conference and believed that both the agitation for 100 percent derivation and those calling for a smaller percentage would find a convergent point at the end of the deliberations.