There was controversy at the National conference yesterday when delegates from the North and South had a heated verbal exchange over the recent detention of 486 Northerners in Abia State whom authorities alleged belong to the Boko Haram sect.
Speaking to our reporter shortly after the saga, Bashir Dalhatu, a delegate representing Jigawa state who spoke on the issue on the floor of the conference noted that Northerners didn’t support the insurgency, didn’t want destruction, and had no support for anybody who wants to cause any harm to any Nigerian, wherever the person comes from, adding that it was Northerners that were being killed more than anyone else.
Said Dalhatu, “What we are totally opposed is profiling Northerners as initially Boko Haram people. Just because you are a Northerner doesn’t mean you are a Boko Haram member. It doesn’t make you guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
We also want to inform and educate other Nigerians that they must continue to still go along that normal traditional friendship, harmony, cooperation, and hospitality to each other so that this country can continue to prosper in peace and encourage development instead of being too sensitive and uncaring to one another.
We also want to educate and enlighten the states that are looking to bring in a new negative trend whereby wherever they see Hausa people in vehicles they are stopped and detained on grounds that they are Boko Haram members.
This is not proper and is an injustice, and we will not accept it.”
He pointed out that the laws of the country give every Nigerian the right to move freely and go wherever he wants in the country and at whatever time, adding that if every state decides to retaliate against what other states do to their people then this country would fall into a situation where the people that started it will not be able to control it.
“Some delegates informed us today that there was a convoy of cars going to Aba, the same applies to us; everyday there are convoys of vehicles containing there people going to Kano, Sokoto, Makurdi. We have never stopped them and said they are thieves or robbers. We don’t do this in order for us to live in peace,” he added.
He vowed to keep educating people that in any society there are good and bad people, and they can be of any tribe or language.
“Just because a person is a Northerner doesn’t make him Boko Haram, it’s not people that wear a cap, wears a kaftan and speaks Hausa that is Boko Haram. Boko Haram is a problem which God has placed on us which we do not want nor are in support of and pray for it to come to an end,” Dalhatu said.
Also speaking to our reporter on the matter, The Emir of Dutse, His Royal Highness Alhaji Dr. Nuhu Mohammed Sanusi said the saga was actually a simple issue, noting that those concerned about the issue should provide the detained men with lawyers to ascertain whether or not they had committed any offences.
Said his highness, “The current issue which is looking to cause problems in the conference today is a simple matter, all these things we are talking about in today’s session boils down to if the people are concerned they should send lawyers to go and see them, nobody will stop them from being
represented by a lawyer. If a person is within his rights and only looking to make a living, he cannot be stopped from moving from the North to the South or vice versa.
What I am saying is that if our people want to help them and are sure they have committed nothing wrong then they should send them lawyers to talk with them and make sure they are innocent, not for us to interfere with the work of security operatives” On his part, Chief Sergeant Awuse, a delegate representing the South-South geo-political zone, who originally raised the issue on the floor of the conference, explained to our reporter that he believed that Nigerians must know that nobody is happy with what is happening in the North regarding the activities of the Boko Haram.
Said Awuse, “Nobody is happy, we are not happy. Those killed are not only Northerners, so when people speak, they should speak according to how you understand a particular case.”
“I didn’t say that all Northerners are Boko Haram, I did not say that, and I will not say that because it is a lie. But the people that have identified themselves as Boko Harm are enemies of Both the North and south, they are not only enemies of the North. So since they are enemies of everybody, so wherever we hear their movement we are very cautious and ready to take proactive movements, we do not want any more people to die.
So the reason why we are raising the alarm of what happened over the 3-4 days, I call it alarm because the military headquarters just revealed that one of the people caught was in their wanted list of Boko haram insurgents, that point alone put everybody on high gear. We don’t want anybody to go there and cause any havoc,” he said.
He pointed out that what the delegates from the South did was just a pre-emptive action to security agents to take more action and give more details about what has happened.
He also labelled allegations that Northerners had to produce some sort of identification before being allowed entry to the South as a “lie”.
He debunked the notion that he portrayed Northerners as Boko haram because of their language, declaring that it was rather a national issue.