President Muhammadu Buhari has been challenged to go beyond “mere rhetoric” and muster the political will to end the unending insecurity and immediately restore peace and prosperity across the country.
The pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Middle-Belt Forum, (MBF), the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere and the Arewa Consultative Forum were among groups and individuals who, yesterday, advised the APC-led Federal Government on what to do to bring about peace as the New Year kicks off.
Specifically, the MBF decried the plight of people of the Middle-Belt, who it said have continued to suffer severe and persistent attacks from marauding gangs of murderous herdsmen. It said it would no longer tolerate the destruction of communities and unprovoked killings of defenceless citizens.
Its National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, in a statement, yesterday stated: “In the New Year, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to send a clear message to the security forces to defeat Boko Haram and throw them out of Damboa LGA. The destruction of our communities and the unprovoked killings of defenceless citizens can no longer be tolerated. When innocent and vulnerable people are left unprotected from the terror of criminals, there can be no option left than self-defence”.
The Forum called on relevant security agencies not to relent in cleansing the Middle-Belt communities of terrorists who take pleasure in kidnapping, destroying communities and dislocating people. It said the continuous wielding of arms by criminals in daylight to intimidate locals must be stopped in order to protect communities and not force them to embrace self-defence.
According to the former Secretary-General of ACF, Anthony Sani, said unless and until the Nigerian elite come together to be a part of the solution, Nigeria’s problems would persist as no president can address it alone.
He disagreed with Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, on communities bearing arms to defend themselves against bandits’ attacks.
Also, Ohanaeze’s message on how to restore sanity in the country, according to its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Chiedozie Ogbonna, is in two forms.
“First, he should ask himself a question on how he wants to be remembered when he leaves office; Secondly, he should do to the South-East what Obasanjo did to the North-West region, when he said it was their turn to produce the president. He should also say it is the turn of the Igbo to produce the president of Nigeria and with it, there will be peace in Nigeria”, he said.
Ohanaeze also identified poverty and injustice as Nigerians’ major problems, stressing that if President Buhari supports a president from Igboland, he would have solved the problem of injustice because such a move would amount to justice.
On its part, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, said the Buhari-led administration must use this year and the remaining part of 2023 before its tenure expires to right the wrongs that have occurred since it came to power.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, challenged leaders of the party to prioritise finding solutions to security challenges at its February National Convention.
Dr. Lukman, in a statement, titled: “Issues for successful APC National Convention” said: “As a party preparing for its national convention in February 2022, we must appeal to APC leaders to include debate about what needs to be done by all APC government to mobilise the support of Nigerians to bring to an immediate end the current national security challenge in the country.