Leadership (Abuja)

13 April 2014

Nigeria: Northern Delegates in Crucial Meeting Over Insecurity

Photo: Abubakar Yakubu/Daily Trust
Vehicles and motorcycles hit by the impact of the explosion at the Nyanya Motor-park, along Abuja-Keffi Expressway outside Abuja.

Worried by the spate of killings and general insecurity pervading the northern part of the country, delegates to the ongoing National Conference from the north have scheduled a meeting today in Abuja to discuss the thorny issue.

The meeting, which is at the instance of the Assembly of Northern Delegates' Forum being co-chaired by chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum Alhaij Ibrahim Coommasie and Professor Jerry Gana, is to consider proposals on the lingering insecurity in the north.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP Sunday yesterday, assistant secretary of the Northern Delegates' Forum, Ambassador Yusuf Maman, who is the brain behind a proposal for the convening of a peace and reconciliation commission in the north, said, "we need to talk to each other frankly and honestly with a view to forgiving one another so as to forge ahead".

"We have to talk to ourselves frankly on the inter- and intra-ethnic as well intra- and inter-religious conflicts which are being witnessed in parts of the north" he added.

He stated that one sure way of ending the hostilities is for the northerners to sit down and talk to one another in an atmosphere of honesty and faithfulness. "We have to talk to each other so as to provide the opportunity for those who wronged to seek forgiveness and for those who were offended to forgive them."

Ambassador Mamman averred that "the first step to heal our wounds is the convening of the truth and reconciliation commission".

Another proposal that would be tabled before the delegates at today's meeting is urging them to stage a two-day boycott in protest of the killings in the region.

One of the promoters of the idea who spoke to LEADERSHIP Sunday last night said, "We have to send a strong message to the government on our concerns over the insecurity in our region which has continued unabated."

If this proposal sails through, northern delegates would stay away from the venue of the National Conference on Mandy and Tuesday.

According to the promoters of the boycott plan, the protest is meant to pressurize the government to step up action on the general insecurity in the north, especially the killings of innocent people. "The protest is one sure way of expressing our feelings on the security situation in our region," he said.

Reacting to the development, an elder statesman in the confab, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said that he was aware of the plan to stage the protest, but that it is better for them to stay at the conference than to walk out, as that will be the only way to protect the interest of the region.

At today's meeting, the northern delegates may also take a decision to remain in or boycott the conference.

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