Poverty and insecurity: Northern Elders express dismay

From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

The Northern Elders Council (NEC) has expressed dismay over security, ethnicity, poor infrastructure, alienation and other social malaise bedeviling the country, saying in the past three years, Nigerians have had to contend with insurgency and terrorism in some parts of the North.

.The Chairman of the newly constituted Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Council, Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta made the assertion in his acceptance remarks at the formal inauguration of the board in Kaduna yesterday.

According to Alhaji Gambo Jimeta, the nation cannot continue to pretend that things are all rosy today, but he advised that the situation is by no means insurmountable.

“The good news is that in the midst of all these challenges, our country has remained resilient and has successfully held together. “We recognize the efforts of the Federal Government under the able leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in managing the complex challenges with firmness and effectiveness. We are convinced that such efforts can take this country out of the turbulent waters of insurgency and underdevelopment.

“We also wish to seize this opportunity to register our appreciation for the harmonious working relationship that exists between the President and our leader, the Vice President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo. It is demonstration of leadership by example in our quest to promote peaceful co-existence amongst people of different religion, ethnic and regional backgrounds.

We appeal to all Nigerians to follow this shinning example,” he said In his own remark, Chairman of the Northern Elders Council (NEC), Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said the Council is intended to provide a platform for proactive and constructive engagement in the socio-economic and political spheres of the North in particular and Nigeria in general.

“The council is totally opposed to the use of reckless and inflammatory statements and utterances which may tend to overheat the polity and undermine the effort of patriotic Nigerians who are focused on building a virile and prosperous nation.

“The Council also acknowledges the leadership resources standing in the credit of the North and urges all elder statesmen, leaders of thought, as well as socio cultural organizations to focus more on building harmonious cooperation across all Northern communities,” Yakasai said.

Speaking during the inauguration, Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero said never before has the nation been subjected to the fearful level of insecurity and wanton destruction of lives and property as the present situation in some parts of the region. According to Yero, life has become so cheap in the North, as innocent

people are killed on daily basis without justification whatsoever. “While this temporary setback lasts, our elders must bring their wealth of experience to bear in ensuring that we build stronger bonds of brotherhood in the entire North.

“I challenge the Board of Trustees of the Northern Elders Council to collaborate with other stakeholders in the region towards finding amicable solutions to myriads of challenges facing us, especially insecurity, poverty, unemployment and crime,” Yero said.


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