By Dirisu Yakubu
Foremost rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Monday, called on Northern elders and leaders to do their part in the fight against Boko Haram rather than their fixation on the nation’s security architecture, particularly the service chiefs.
This is even as the rights group faulted what it called frequent media onslaught against the service chiefs allegedly by Northern elders, accusing them of abandoning their role in bringing about an end to the decade-long killings in the North-Eastern part of the country.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA noted that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has done quite well considering the resources available to him in the difficult task of running Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, and all forms of criminal elements, out of town.
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The statement read: “We hereby call on Northern leaders and elders to stop the well oiled calculated and orchestrated campaign of calumny and desists from the beer parlour criticisms of the war on terror and return to their communities to show leadership by example to their wards and children.”
According to HURIWA, “These members of the terror network seeking the destruction of modern-day constitutional democracy in Nigeria are children and wards of these community elders who are now transferring their misdirected angst at the service chiefs. What the Northern elders need to do with due respect, is to articulate a position paper on practical measures to be adopted by them to dissuade and discourage their kith and kin from enlisting into the terror groups that are waging the war of attrition against the Nigerian state and the people of Nigeria”.
The Rights group stressed that the Northern elders supported by the central and state governments should unfold and begin to implement community-based enlightenment crusades to redirect the brainwashed children and youths of the North-East of Nigeria “to accept the universal fact that their future development and aspirations can rapidly be attained in a united, democratic and prosperous sovereign Republic of Nigeria and not by any group of terror warriors,” adding that “as long as we are concerned, we think what is critical is for all stakeholders to stop playing political pranks with the war on terror being waged by the federal government but to contribute our quota.”
The group also called on Northern leaders to seek the inputs of National and State Assemblies on modalities and frameworks of creating enabling laws to bring onboard the traditional institutions in the governance process, particularly at the grassroots.
HURIWA recalled that the Northern elders under the auspices of Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development recently expressed disappointment in the New Year message of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it does not align with the demands of calls for the sack of security chiefs over worsening security challenges in the country.
“What is needed now apart from a well equipped, motivated and battle prepared combatants which the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has endeavoured to institutionalised progressively and rapidly, is the component of community participation in waging the counter-terror measures to deal decisively with threats posed to the territorial integrity of Nigeria by armed terrorists and other desperate armed non-state actors,” the group added.
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