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Kaduna-Abuja highway killings, kidnap signs of worsening security in our region — Northern elders

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Kaduna-Abuja highway: killings, kidnap signs of worsening security — Northern elders

Some Northern elders have reacted to the report of abduction along the dreaded Abuja – Kaduna highway, saying the latest incident was just a reminder of the worsening state of security across the region.

According to the elders, the security situation in the North has reached a level where incidents of deaths, kidnapping, armed banditry and other violent crimes against the people, occur on daily basis, with many of such going unreported.

The northern elders, who bore their minds under the aegis of The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD), blamed the increase in foodstuffs, with the corresponding rise in inflation, on the growing insecurity in the North.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its latest report, had indicated that food inflation hit 17.38 per cent in October, from 16.66 per cent in September, even as it put the current inflation rate at an astronomical 14 per cent.

In a statement by the National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, the elders drew a nexus between insecurity and the current food inflation.

Consequently, CNEPD has reiterated its call for the rejigging and restructuring of the nation’s security architecture, for better performance.

While appreciating the efforts of the Service Chiefs in dealing with the security challenges, the elders submitted that the situation may have proven overwhelming, especially with the accompanying complexities.

It was their considered view that the current crop of Service Chiefs, who were appointed sometime in July, 2015, are deploying ideas that do not suit current realities.

They regretted that the high echelon of the military had concentrated energies on quelling the now-rested #EndSARS protests, at the detriment of security for lives and property in the North.

According to the forum, insurgents and other criminal elements had capitalised on the obvious operational lapse, to increase attacks on civilians, who have remained hapless victims of a near dysfunctional security architecture.

While this lasted, women, children and the elderly, were the worse-hit, as farmlands were raided, homes destroyed and more.

They have, therefore, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari, to reconsider his adamance, and replace the military high command with new officers that are expected to deploy fresh ideas and perspectives into the fight against crime and criminality in the country.

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“The latest killings and abduction along Kaduna-Abuja highway which occurred last Sunday, thus making major headlines in the national dailies did not come to us as a surprise. This is because we are faced daily with this situation, especially in the North East and North West zones of the country”, the Northern elders said.

The statement reads in part: “We wish to state here that the Sunday incident, which caught attention in high places, was just little of what we witness daily in other parts of the region. There are many killings and cases of abduction going on in the North, especially the above-mentioned zones that are unreported.

“The victims are sometimes killed or placed on permanent hard labour just as the female ones are forcefully raped and impregnated by their abductors.

“Most victims are captured in their farmlands while carrying out their routine and legitimate duties of farming, in order to provide for their families.

“Again, the latest increase in the prices of commodities, especially food items in Nigerian markets, did not come to us as a surprise, in view of the link between insecurity and food scarcity.

“The helpless situation, which our people have found themselves in, has made them to abandon their farming activities, thus resulting in the current food insecurity in the country.

“The revelation by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, on Monday that the country’s inflation rate has jumped to 14.23 per cent (year-on-year) in October, showing a percentage point increase of 0.52, did not come to us as a surprise.

“We recall with regret that the current inflation rate of the country had risen to this level above the 13.71 in September”.

It continues: “Once again, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgent national priority, sack the Military High Command and engage new and vibrant senior officers, who are not in short supply.

“We further submit that unless and until adequate security was provided for our people in the North, the current food crisis, which has pushed inflation rate to an astronomical height, will only get worse.

“We will like to state, without any sense of equivocation, that as insecurity threatens food sufficiency, so does it have the potential to erode whatever gains the Buhari-led administration may be laying claim to.

“We hold that as the President was able to select this crop of Service Chiefs in 2015, he still has the golden opportunity of recruiting even a better team, as all he needs is to assemble an intelligence team for that purpose.

“Our fear is that, if nothing urgent is done to restructure the security architecture in the country, the poverty situation may worsen, with a consequential negative effect on the already precarious state of insecurity”.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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