CNG in Fresh Demands; Asks FG to Tame Bandits, Halt Inflow of Small Arms Within 3 Months or Face Protests

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THE Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has listed a number of demands from the Buhari-led federal government asking it to meet them within three months or face the resumption of the recently suspended protests from the group.

The CNG on Wednesday, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, entitled; “New Resolutions Security Situation in the North” also directed its state coordinators to raise their level of vigilance and assist the security agencies with credible intelligence that will help in tackling the state of insecurity in the North.

For the avoidance of doubt, the CNG shall see no course in holding back the commencement of renewed protests on a much wider scale if at the expiration of the three months period, the government’s commitment to safeguarding the lives of citizens all over the country remains mere rhetoric,” the group said, as it called on its state coordinators to identify and compile security challenges in the respective domains and make them available to the police.

“In place of the halted protests, the CNG hereby resolves to direct its state coordinators to raise their levels of vigilance and to assist the security forces with credible relevant intelligence needed to tackle the situation

“…All CNG state coordinators and officials of affiliate groups to commence the immediate process of compiling all aspects of security worries in their respective states to deliver to the various state commissioners of police for onward transmission to the chief executives and thereafter, address the press at NUJ centres in groups of not more than 25 each,” the statement said

The CNG demanded that within the next three months, federal security agencies “must carry out proper threat assessments” geared towards, among other things, evaluating the current state of insecurity including a review of the current poor law enforcement, poor intelligence and the lack of synergy among the security agencies.

The CNG said: “The federal authorities must tame the exponential rise in the rate of attacks and the number of terror gangs, halt the proliferation of illicit arms and mop up the estimated 350 million small arms and light weapons already believed to be in Nigeria with a large percentage in the North.

“Government must take steps to ensure that all security budget allocations are released in full to the relevant agencies on quarterly basis to ensure efficiency.

“The federal and state governments must commence the process of resettling the displaced communities.

“The federal legislators must do their job by quickly moving to amend the clause in the Constitution to allow for multiple security and public safety arrangements in the country – at the federal, state, and local government levels.

“Legislators must move for enactment for the provision of special welfare packages for front line security personnel including hazard allowances to their family, scholarships for their children’s education and health insurance for their families.

“The Northern states governments must halt treating security issues with kid gloves, and address the current threats with the seriousness and purposefulness that they deserve.”

The group also called on the general public to cooperate with, and pray for, the security agencies in their effort to stem the deadly menace “once and for all and for the restoration of a lasting peace and enduring stability.

It also urged the business community and the wealthy in society to replicate the similar gesture extended to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic to the current war against insecurity.

Read the full statement below:

June 24, 2020

NEW RESOLUTIONS SECURITY SITUATION IN THE NORTH

OVERVIEW

For a couple of years now Nigerians have steadily lost confidence in the ability of authorities to reverse the uncertainties arising from the cyclical violence, which has continued to ravage particularly the northern part of the country lately.

The escalation of attacks on defenceless northern communities by bandits, and insurgents and atrocities of kidnappers among sundry criminal elements, raised a lot of concerns and a raging uproar from an agitated public.

Within just six days – between Monday, June 8, and Saturday, June 13, 2020, the North lost over 240 lives in several attacks representing the highest number of deaths in such a short period in recent times.

The Nigeria Security Tracker, which compiles violent incidents around the nation stated that 114 persons lost their lives in Borno State alone within this period with Katsina State following on the list of fatalities, as 75 people were killed.

In the previous week, deaths caused by violent events stood at 183, while between Monday, May 25, and Sunday, May 31, the number of violent deaths reported by the tracker stood at 149.

Alarmed by the regularity of these incidences and the audacity with which the killers roam and operate freely, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), organised a series of regionwide protests against the killing of innocent people starting from Katsina and Niger States on 16th June, 2020.

The protests, scheduled to take place simultaneously in all the remaining northern states were to call attention to the numerous deficits in the security arrangement that needed to be rectified to tackle the current capabilities of the bandits and other terrorist groups.

POSITIVE IMPACT

As clear evidence that the administration had finally taken note of the mounting public outrage and the courage of the CNG in raising their voice and acting against the prior indifferent and ineffective approach, the following successive events unfolded:

* As usual, President Muhammadu Buhari quickly appealed to the people and the protesters to be patient as plans to tackle the situation are under way.

* Encouragingly, the Presidency dispatched a high-powered security delegation to some states in the North to convey its renewed concerns and plans to take firmer action against the bandits, rustlers, kidnappers, rapists and insurgents who were hitherto allowed to operate unchallenged.

* Amazingly, the President Buhari met with Service Chiefs and expressed disappointment at their performance, and directed them to take full charge to protect our communities.

* For the very first time, the President emphatically warned that he would no longer tolerate any more excuses from the security chiefs.

ELDERS INTERVENTION

Following these evident successes, the Northern Elders Forum, religious leaders and other genuinely concerned institutions and statesmen intervened by wisely counseling the CNG to suspend its marches and explore additional avenues to sustain the momentum and ensure government keeps to its renewed commitment.

We agreed to halt the protests upon conviction that the Northern elders are concerned that protests and marches do not become the only means of getting our leaders to do what is right.

NEW RESOLUTIONS

In place of the halted protests, the CNG hereby resolves to direct its state coordinators to raise their levels of vigilance and to assist the security forces with credible relevant intelligence needed to tackle the situation.

AND:

1. All CNG state coordinators and officials of affiliate groups to commence the immediate process of compiling all aspects of security worries in their respective states to deliver to the various state commissioners of police for onward transmission to the chief executives and thereafter, address the press at NUJ centres in groups of not more than 25 each.

2. To demand that within the next three months:

a. The federal security forces must carry out proper threat assessments of the situation to review the current poor law enforcement, poor intelligence and the lack of synergy among other vulnerabilities.

b. The federal authorities must tame the exponential rise in the rate of attacks and the number of terror gangs, halt the proliferation of illicit arms and mop up the estimated 350 million small arms and light weapons  already believed to be in Nigeria with a large percentage in the North.

c. Government must take steps to ensure that all security budget allocations are released in full to the relevant agencies on quarterly basis to ensure efficiency.

d. The federal and state governments must commence the process of resettling the displaced communities.

e. The federal legislators must do their job by quickly moving to amend the clause in the Constitution to allow for multiple security and public safety arrangements in the country – at the federal, state, and local government levels.

f. Legislators must move for enactment for the provision of special welfare packages for front line security personnel including harzard allowances to their family, scholarships for their children’s education and health insurance for their families.

g. The Northern states governments must halt treating security issues with kid gloves, and address the current threats with the seriousness and purposefulness that they deserve.

CONCLUSION

For the avoidance of doubt, the CNG shall see no course in holding back the commencement of renewed protests on a much wider scale if at the expiration of the three months period, the government’s commitment to safeguarding the lives of citizens all over the country remains mere rhetoric.

Meanwhile, we urge improved public cooperation with security efforts and concerted rigorous prayers for divine intervention to grant our troops victory in stemming this deadly menace once and for all and for the restoration of a lasting peace and enduring stability.

We also call on the business community and the wealthy in society to replicate the gesture they extended to support the Covid-19 fight to the current war against insecurity.

Thank you

Abdul-Azeez Suleiman

CNG Spokesperson

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