By Luminous Jannamike
The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has said it would begin non-stop protests against the wave of insecurity in the Northern region on Thursday.
The plan, according to the group, aimed at drawing the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the 19 northern states governors to the plight of the region.
CNG said 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 the myriad distresses the region faced had pushed them to the wall.
Explaining that the government has failed woefully in many fronts, the group argued that the authorities appear bent on sustaining the hikes in electricity tariffs.
According to the CNG, it also appears President Buhari and the governors are not keen on resolving the lingering dispute with the university lecturers.
The CNG noted that it was no longer an exaggeration that the security situation in the country and in particular in the North had deteriorated, while the authorities did not deem it fit to extend the swift spirit deployed against FSARS into security the North.
The group told the President point blank that he has abandoned hundreds of thousands of people in northern communities exposed to insurgents and bandits’ attack.
It, therefore, urged the citizens (northerners), who would participate in the peaceful protest to conduct themselves peacefully, while urging the government to respect their rights to protest.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the spokesman of CNG, Abdulazeez Suleiman, said, “The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) 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.
“The CNG notes the appreciative progression of the citizens’ action that climaxed with government’s swift response to one of the concerns raised with the scrapping of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, and its immediate replacement with Special Weapon And Tactics Team (SWAT).
“In the unfolding scenario, the CNG hereby inevitably arrives at the following observations and inferences:
“That 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.
“That 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.
“That the authorities appear bent on sustainig the harsh, unacceptable regime of exploitative hikes in electricity tariffs for which the North shall bear the brunt more than other parts of the country.
“That 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 the foregone 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 mobilization 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.
“Demand thorough reorientation of the entire police force and its empowerment by way of additional personnel, modern training and adequate equiptment to be able to reclaim its universal internal security function. .
“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.
“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.
“To declare the agreement reached by labour with the government on new electricity tariff unacceptable and demand the immediate, unconditional reversal to the old rates.”
Suleiman noted that while CNG welcomed the creation of the SWAT to replace SARS, it urged the government to expedite action in improving the professionalism of the personnel drafted into SWAT.