Some elders from Borno and Yobe States, on Monday alleged that there was likelihood of complicity in the terror attacks in three north eastern states where there has been an upsurge of insurgent activities in the recent past.
The elders also objected to any plan by the Federal Government to extend the emergency rule in the states, namely Borno, Yobe and Adamawa by the time it expires on April 19.
DOCUMENT: 'Enough is Enough! - Borno-Yobe Forum Questions Security Forces on 'Continuous Bloodletting' _________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Boko Haram Sect has increasingly carried out terrorist acts in the three states resulting to the killing of hundreds of residents, including college students. Reports say no fewer than 1,500 people were killed in March alone.
Only last Saturday at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, North East Zonal Rally, President Goodluck Jonathan blamed the governors of the states for the increasing insurgency in their states.
"The current security challenges are the handiwork of governors in the opposition parties who have not performed, who created the situation for insurrection. They have not done anything in terms of providing social services to the people," the President had said.
But addressing a press conference in Abuja, the elders, under the aegis of Borno-Yobe Peoples Forum, BYPF, a non-religious association, said there were reasons to believe that security agents might have had knowledge of some of the attacks before they were carried out or that they simply refused to prevent them.
Among the elders that attended the conference were a former Finance Minister, Adamu Ciroma; a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe; a former Agriculture Minister, Shettima Mustapha; and a former Chief of Air Staff, Al-amin Daggash.
The Forum in the text of the press conference read by Mr. Daggash, demanded to know who authorized the withdrawal of security personnel from the Federal Government College Buni Yadi before the attack on the college during which over 29 students of the college were killed by the Boko Haram sect in February.
It said that there were security reports on the impending attacks, but that the reports were either ignored or not promptly responded to by the security agents.
"Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strong holds of the insurgents?" the forum asked.
"How were the insurgents able to attack the Maiduguri Air-Force Base and demobilize as well as burn planes and other military installations, despite existing state of emergency and curfew in the town? How could 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles move in a convoy freely with subsisting curfew and still go undetected?
"How did a little band of rag-tag misguided youths metamorphose into a well-kitted, well armed killing machine moving freely in convoy of vehicles and supported by helicopters. How did the Shilka Tank, a multipurpose self propelled anti-aircraft artillery weapon positioned to secure Giwa Barracks fail to function resulting in heavy loss of lives both civilian and military as widely reported in the media? Are we dealing with fifth columnists in this crisis?"
The group warned the Federal Government against extending the emergency rule in the three states, saying it had failed to achieve the purpose for which it was imposed in April last year.
It stated that a total of 18 communities had been attacked by the terrorists in the last one month with heavy civilian casualties.
The Forum argued that rather than end, the insurgent activities had escalated while the insurgent became more daring.
It said, "The continuous bloodletting has led to the loss of over 17,000 lives. Official statistics released by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) revealed that over three million people have been displaced by the insurgency and terrorists attacks in the affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in the first three months of 2014 alone.
"Most of the victims are women, children and elderly. These developments underscore the urgent need for the government, the international community, as well as all Nigerians to arrest the brewing humanitarian crises in the area."
The Forum asked the government to expose the sponsors of the Boko Haram sect and investigate the genesis of the crisis "with particular regards to those who master minded, encouraged or financed it."
It demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North and also revisit other reports relating the security challenges in the country.
"It is the considered view of many commentators that had the latter report been implemented, the insurgency would have been largely contained," the forum argued.