Former Sokoto Governor Attahiru Bafarawa said Northern elders are unhappy with President Muhammadu Buhari over the handling of insecurity in the region.
He accused the administration of neglecting the security of lives and property of Nigerians while spending billions of naira on COVID-19. He said less than 2,000 have so far been killed by COVID-19, whereas thousands of Nigerians have been killed by bandits.
He said Northern leaders can no longer keep mute and allow more people to be killed, while the Federal Government does nothing. He said thousands of people in the North have been displaced and children are orphaned as a result of the growing insecurity.
Bafarawa, who served as Sokoto governor between 1999 and 2007, said: ‘We can’t keep mute because our person from the North is in power. If we don’t speak, when a Southerner becomes president, we won’t have the right to express our feelings.
‘Thousands of people are displaced in the North and in other parts of the country. Instead of the Government to spend N400 billion on COVID-19 vaccine, why can’t we spend it to buy security equipment? Insecurity is our coronavirus in Nigeria.
‘Just a few days ago, about 14 people were killed in my village in Sokoto. It is untrue that security is improving. It is getting worse. If you go to schools in the North, you have you’ll many orphans whose parents have been killed by bandits.’
Speaking further, he added: ‘The threats and acts of armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other forms of arson being perpetrated in our region and Nigeria, in general, is, to say the least, taking an unnecessary dimension to the level that no sane society would watch and perhaps wrap up everything in the hands of the government.
‘Every one of us as members of the society should bear it in mind that while the government does what it is supposed to be doing, we should also be seen to contribute our quota towards achieving the desired goals of ridding our society of these acts of barbarism.
‘We should as well resolve that, we could use any legitimate means through interaction, in the forms of meetings, workshops, seminars, conferences, and any other means possible to identify areas which most negatively border on insecurity issue and reach out to the government or its agencies for the purpose of generating ideas on how best the government could bring to an end these atrocities. More ways of achieving the needed results could be created and channelled to the appropriate authorities for taking immediate measures.
‘Considering the attention that Nigeria is giving to the issue of COVID-19 is, to say the least, getting out of proportion to the extent that other important key areas of our socio-economic development and prosperity are relegated to the background.
‘Even the challenges being posed by our educational system, economic and agricultural activities as well as, most importantly, the security of our country are being severely affected. It appears that the main focus of the federal government is completely shifted to the issue of coronavirus not minding the insecurity issue which is affecting the country for close to a decade now.
‘It should be noted that I am not underplaying the effect of the pandemic across the world in general and Nigeria in particular. It may not be logical to say that the coronavirus effect is not disturbing. But it is plausible to infer that the security of lives and properties of the people of Nigeria do not matter much in comparison to the attention that is being given to the COVID-19. It is everybody’s guess that every aspect of human lives or activities would be completely paralysed.’