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Nigeria is sitting of keg of gunpowder – Sultan Sultan


Nigeria is sitting of keg of gunpowder – Sultan Sultan

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The Sultan of Sokoto and Chairman Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has expressed fear that with millions of Nigerian youths left without jobs and food, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

Speaking in Kaduna at the 6th Executive Committee Meeting of Northern Traditional Rulers Council on Wednesday, February 14, the Sultan emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that Nigeria has reached a point where its people are deeply frustrated, hungry, and resentful.

Also speaking at the meeting themed: “Enhanced Security as a panacea for stability and development of the North”, Kaduna state governor, Uba Sani corroborated the Sultan, saying that, the North has become the epicentre of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping with several lives lost and local economy destroyed.

The Sultan, who was flanked at the meeting by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir, expressed his concern that things are not well in Nigeria, especially in the northern region.

According to him, insecurity and poverty are the two major issues that have been causing trouble for the people of the north.

Sultan said: “We have had such meetings before with the Northern Governors, so many times at Kashim Ibrahim House. We have now entered into a new cycle of leadership, some new Governors have come on board, while some are having their second term and still we at faced with these insecurity issues. To make matters worse, we are faced with rising levels of poverty of most of our people; a lack of normal sources of livelihood for the common man to have even a good meal a day.

“But, I believe talking about insecurity and the rising level of poverty are two issues that we cannot fold our arms and think everything is okay. I have said it so many times and at so many fora that, things are not okay in Nigeria and of course, things are not okay in the North.

“What are the real issues bringing about poverty and rising cases of insecurity? I don’t think it is the issue of the new government. To me, this government is a continuation of the former government; it is the same party. So, what really is the problem? I think that is one of the reasons we are here to talk to ourselves.

“We owe it a duty to the teeming millions of people that believe in the traditional institution, to bring solutions to the various problems facing them. We will not fail in doing that. We will do our best.

“I have said so many times, that we never lack a solution to our problems, what we lack is implementation, because we meet today, we bring out so many beautiful ideas on how to solve our problems, and we go back to our various places and go to bed, leaving such solutions here in this conference hall. So, how do we implement them?

“This is why we invited the leadership Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) to come and interact with us on the outcome of a similar meeting they organized in Abuja. We also invited the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to be part of us and talk to us too, because as elders, some of whom have been in politics, who have done a lot for the North and the Country. At the end of the meeting, we believe we will come up with various suggestions on how to resolve our numerous problems in the North.

“Education is important, so whatever issue you want to bring us here, you must talk about education, you must talk about health issues and of the two monsters that have been harassing all of us here that is insecurity and poverty.

“And let’s not take it for granted; people are quiet, they are quiet for a reason because people have been talking to them.; we have been talking to them, we have been trying to tell them things will be okay and they keep on believing. I pray to Almighty Allah that they will not one day wake up and say we no longer believe in you. Because that would be the biggest problem because we can’t quieten these people as traditional, spiritual leaders and diplomats forever.

“So, I think it is good we talk about these things and let us be very honest with ourselves, let us be very frank about what we are going to tell ourselves here; it is no time to hide things. We have reached that level, people are very agitated, people are hungry, they are angry, but they still believe there are people who can talk to them, they believe in some of their Governors, some other traditional rulers, and some of their religious leaders, fortunately, some of us double as traditional and religious leaders.

“So, we have this onerous task of reaching out to everybody, calming them down, and assuring them things will be okay, and they should continue to pray and pray and still do something good because prayer without work will not bring anything.

“We must find jobs for our teeming youths that are sitting idle and I have said it so many times, we sit on a keg of gunpowder, having teeming youths millions of them, without jobs, without food, we are looking for trouble.

He added: “But, we thank Allah we believe in ourselves, we believe in Almighty Allah to bring succour to all our problems and we will keep on praying and urging our political leaders, who we believe will do something better. We are only advisers to the political leaders, that is all we can do, but if we are empowered and as strong as the Governors by the constitution, by the amount of funds they get from the federal and state revenues, we can also be a lot.

“However, we are ready to work with the Governors, because we believe in them, we believe in what they are doing, and must work with them. And if the Governors too want to have peace and stability in their states, they must work with the traditional leaders.

“I believe at the end of this meeting, we should have very good suggestions to our political leaders, to our security chiefs, that when such is implemented, we will have a better North and at the same time have a better Nigeria.”

Kaduna state governor, Uba Sani who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe said, the North which used to be the oasis of peace, has in recent times been grappling with the problem of insecurity.

The governor, however, said that the way out is for the states in the region must forge strong partnerships on security and other developmental issues and concerns, as well as establish a command and control centre to coordinate our joint efforts against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements within this region.

Governor Sani said: “This region used to not only oasis of peace and stability but also the food basket of the Nation. Unfortunately, this same region has now become the epicentre of terrorism, banditry, and kidnappings. Our local economy has been destroyed. The lives so far lost are simply mind-boggling.

“Our people are deeply worried, they are asking questions, they want answers, they yearn for actions. Leaders whether political or traditional must therefore brace up to face these challenges. For us political leaders, we have a responsibility to frontally address challenges, especially in the areas of education, healthcare, agriculture, poverty, and unemployment. Priority attention must also be given to infrastructural development.

“States in the North must forge strong partnerships on security and other developmental issues and concerns. Agriculture, power, and infrastructure, especially roads are critical areas where we must collaborate to revitalize our economy and address the challenges of poverty and insecurity.

“Going forward, Northern states must develop a common strategy and operational plan to tackle insecurity. We must establish a command and control centre to coordinate our joint efforts against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminal elements within this region.

“Northern traditional rulers must take the lead in the execution of psychological operations geared towards winning the hearts and minds of the people at the grassroots. You have a huge responsibility to mobilize and sensitize our people to support security forces to degrade terrorists and bandits. We must establish early warning systems and intelligence-gathering mechanisms within our communities.

“Our main weapons must be people because terrorists, bandits’ insurgents also live amongst us. Traditional rulers have bigger roles to play within our communities. We must restore the glory of the traditional institution if we want better for our security and stability,” the Governor said.

The Director-General Department of State Services (DSS), Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi who was represented by the State Director of Security, Alhaji Abdul Enenche stressed the need for the traditional institution to play their role by identifying threats before they start manifesting.

While noting that, most of the most of the threats are very mobile, the DSS Boss called for collective collaboration among all stakeholders, as he also lamented the role of informants as a challenge to the fight against insecurity.

He said: “The informant keeps frustrating the role of security agencies. They live amongst communities and this brings to mind the role of traditional rulers who can assist security agencies in fishing out insider threats.”

The meeting was well attended by Chairmen of the traditional rulers from each of the 19 Northern States, as well as leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum and Coalition of Northern Groups.

(The Nation)