A civil society group, Arewa Lives Matter, has demanded that the federal and state governments take decisive actions to end the violence and incessant killings in Northern Nigeria.
The group lamented that the people were now at the mercy of armed gangs, who roam their towns and villages at will to wreak havoc.
Bilal Adamu Halilu, Convener of Arewa Lives Matter, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and governors of the Northern region had woefully failed in the provision of security and welfare for the people.
The statement reads, “Fast forward to 2020 and security has increasingly deteriorated. More states are under threat and security challenges have increased overwhelmingly. People are killed, injured or kidnapped almost on a daily basis. Farms and houses are razed. Nigerians are increasingly displaced in their thousands. Families that were living happy lives have been reduced to pain, anguish and a state of sober melancholy.
“Most of these problems are far more widespread in Northern Nigeria, particularly the horrors of terrorism, insurgency, cattle rustling, farmers/herders clash, kidnapping, rape and banditry. In fact, 88% of Nigerian deaths resulting specifically from violence motivated by political, economic, or social grievances took place in Northern Nigeria (or the Arewa Zone), from April 2019 to May 2020.
“During that period, 7,986 lives have been lost to the violence. From that total, 7,036 (88.10%) took place in Northern Nigeria, while 893 (11.18%) occurred in Southern Nigeria and 57 (0.71%) in FCT Abuja. According to data sourced from the ‘Independent Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)’, Nigeria Security Tracker April 2019 to May 2020.
“Every right thinking Nigerian will agree that none of all these violent deaths are acceptable under any circumstances. Sadly, the above data suggests a Nigerian is eight times more likely to die from violence, if they are based in the North. It is being reported that some of the perpetrators are being paid to ceasefire. As if we have ceded the territory of Nigeria, such that we have to pay or reward these criminals for us to live in peace! Even more worrisome is the fact that most of the states in the frontline of the battle against insurgency are amongst the poorest in Nigeria.
“While the national security apparatus is controlled by the federal government, every governor is the Chief Security Officer in his or her state. Therefore, they are to ensure synergy between security agencies and avoid polarising them. The governors are also expected to use the well-established structures of traditional institutions for intelligence gathering.
“Governors should ensure the provision of funds and incentives to motivate and encourage the parties involved in the fight. The support from state governments is essential to the quest of making the affected states and Nigeria safer as a whole. It has been established that some of these perpetrators are not Nigerians. Our porous borders have given them room to sneak into the country illegally and kill Nigerians on Nigerian soil. They move around freely without fear and strike at any hour of their choice.
“More worrying is the fact that, huge amounts of money has previously been allocated to cater for military supplies and our troops. Even the security votes to state governments have yielded less positive results in securing lives and properties in their states. With the current decline, deterioration and decimation of security in Nigeria, there is an urgent need for a more motivated security and military-hierarchy with fresh ideas to act decisively. This was witnessed during the early days of the APC administration.”