The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has lamented the increase in the spate of killings across Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states.
According to the coalition of over 52 northern groups, no fewer than 500 persons were killed by the terrorists in the aforementioned states within four weeks.
This, it said, is attributed to the activities of AK-47-wielding terrorists in the four states.
This was made known by the National Coordinator of CNG, Balarabe Rufa’i, while addressing a press conference on Sunday after its meeting to review the security situation in the North.
The group, however, called on residents of the states to rise and “defend themselves against aggressors”.
He said, “The Coalition of Northern Groups has reviewed the resurgence of violent attacks across some northern states in the recent days with deep concern.
“We are deeply disturbed by the despicable and irrepressible decimation and elimination of our people; the destruction of their livelihood; raping and exploitation of our women and extorting our poverty-stricken villages and towns by terrorists.
“In the last few days, armed bandits/terrorists across four northern states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger States have killed scores of helpless and defenceless citizens in addition to multiple kidnappings and other forms of exploitations. Regrettably, these killings, abductions, maiming and exploitations have been going on incessantly with no respite in sight.
“The CNG has gathered shocking and frightening information that suggests that some of our villages are firmly under the control of the bandits where levies or taxes are imposed on our people, subjecting our poor people into further economic deprivation and devastation.
“The stories are condemnably demoralising as over 500 innocent, defenceless and impoverished northerners were killed systematically in the last four weeks.
“In view of the above happenings, the CNG observed that: governments at all levels, particularly the Federal Government has surrendered their rights and privileges to the bandits/terrorists as the bandits/terrorists operate parallel governments in villages and communities in Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states where they impose taxes and levies on the villages and kill people at will.
“Governments and its functionaries lack the political will and determination to decisively deal with the problems once and for all.
“The security forces are grossly understaffed, ill-equipped and poorly motivated to confront the monstrous terrorists in an aggressive manner to eliminate them from their hideouts. It is also alleged that top security personnel are siphoning the little resources earmarked for the purpose of prosecuting the war.
“Therefore, the CNG calls on traditional rulers to stand with their people at this difficult and scary situation to confront the challenge for our collective survival.
“Communities must work together under the traditional institutions, religious leaders and community leaders to source for an alternative method of preserving and protecting their lives, properties and communities as our security architecture proves incapacitated and or reluctant to decisively and resolutely deal with the problem.
“Unfortunately, the political leaders who are supposed to protect our lives and properties are busy with their politicking without showing an iota of sympathy and empathy for the plight of our people.
“The CNG, therefore, advocates concerted and strategic efforts to create an independent-community based security outfit that can be funded through community efforts, donations from wealthy individuals, friends and associates of the North among others to take the war against this imminent existential threat to the hideouts of the hardened criminals.
“We reiterate our call to the traditional and religious leaders because of their proximity to the people and the trust they enjoy from our people that they must lead from the front by setting an example; they should create and manage a special trust fund to support the community-based outfit.
“Hence, our people must rise up in an organized manner and defend themselves from the systematic and genocidal annihilation; plundering of their resources and extortions by their terrorist-enemies.”
Also speaking on the ‘Idon Mikiya’ programme, the group described the suspension of the program as unacceptable stating that it is an affront to freedom of speech and expression as contained in Nigeria’s Constitution.
Recall that some days ago, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) imposed fines on the station and subsequent suspension of the programme.
The station discussed, in one of its programmes, ‘Idon Mikiya’ on January 5, 2022, the extension of the tenure of Director General, NIA, Rufai Abubakar, and his alleged incompetence.
NBC in a letter last Wednesday, stated that it was unconstitutional as the discussion breached section 39 (3) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Reacting, Rufa’I said: “We call on the Federal Government as a matter of urgency; to rescind this unpopular and dictatorial decision that has no place in democratic governance. We must remind the government that it rode on the fundamental right of freedom of expression to capture power.
“It is therefore expected that the government will reciprocate by championing freedom of speech and expression for all Nigerians without fear or favour.”