Irked by the increasing number deaths and security challenges posed by the activities of the Boko Haram sect, elders and leaders of the South-west, South-south and South-east geo-political zones of the country Thursday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to treat the activities of the sect as treason and apply the relevant laws on the culprits and their sponsors.
The call by the leaders also came on a day former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, described the law establishing the NYSC, as a bad law and called for its review.
Rising from a one-day meeting under the aegies of Conference of Southern Nigeria People Assembly, in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the leaders frowned on the continued escalation of threats to lives and property in some parts of the country due to the Boko Haram insurgence, which had resulted in the loss of innocent lives, especially Christians from the South.
The meeting was convened by former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme (South-east), Rev. Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi (South-west), and elder statesman, Chief Edwin K. Clark (South-south) had as its theme: "Building a United and Cohesive Nigeria."
Speaking through a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the leaders stressed that the gathering was to deepen the relationship between the three geo-political zones and to strengthen bridges of cooperation and understanding aimed at promoting the ideal of a united and cohesive Nigeria.
"Until the security situation in volatile and life threatening areas of the country improves we insist that none of our youth should be posted to serve the compulsory one year national service in any part of these volatile and live threatening areas in the North," the communiqué stated.
While noting that the state of insecurity had compelled Nigerians of southern origin to begin to having a rethink over the posting of their children to undergo the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in volatile areas in the North, the forum tasked President Jonathan and all organs of government, especially the Judiciary to demonstrate a high sense of fairness by prosecuting the war against corruption without fear or favour in order to serve as deterrent to others. Also, the forum explained that the impunity with which corrupt practices were being perpetrated in the country as revealed by the various probes, particularly the fuel subsidy, pension fund and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), among others had had far-reaching consequences on the economy, thereby heightening the scale of poverty and under development in the country.
"In particular, government should fast-track the prosecution of all those identified culprits in the probe reports according to law, noting that in reposting the country for the attainment of Vision 20-2020, the leadership must sanitise the economy of fraudsters and economic saboteurs".
"That the convocation of a national conference is urgent and therefore conference urges the President to take urgent necessary measures to convene such a conference," the communiqué stated.
They equally argued that the six geo-political zone structures should be incorporated into the 1999 Constitution and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate and work with President Jonathan in building a new Nigerian nation.
The communiqué, which was signed by nine leaders-three from each of the zones, including Clark, Gbonigi and Chief Mbazuilike Amaechi (South-east) resolved to hold the conference quarterly with the next to be hosted in Imo State.
Meanwhile, Bucknor-Akerele, who was one of the participants representing South-west at the conference, argued that the law was a bad law because it promotes the sending of innocent Nigerians to crisis area where they are killed.
"The NYSC law is a bad law. A law that sends our children to where they can be massacred is a bad law. We must object and resist such law even as they say it is a constitutional institution," she said.
She argued that no parent is happy to see his or her child killed in the name of NYSC and stressed that southern Nigeria must resist such law that allows their children to be sent to the north where they are massacred carelessly.
Proposing a national conference where all ethnic nationalities would come together to deliberate on the way forward for the country plagued by security and other challenges, she berated the national assembly of not being representative of all ethnic nationalities in the country.
Bucknor-Akerele position came barely two days after Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly moved a resolution asking the Federal Government to review the NYSC scheme to make prospective corps members serve in their geo-political zone.
Speaker of the assembly, Hon. Sam Ikon, who expressed the sentiment of the lawmakers, noted that by making the corps members serve in their geo-political zones the current insecurity challenges faced by unsuspecting citizens will be averted.