NIGERIA – Northern elders have decried the continued spate of kidnapping along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, lamenting that the incidents affirm the worsening security situation across the region.
The elders say their concern follows attacks on commuters along the same highway, where many victims have been killed in the past, females raped and turned to sex slaves by their abductors.
The northern elders under the auspices of the Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD), however, blamed the increased rate of crime in the region on poor security, inflation and poverty.
A statement by the forum, signed by its National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, called on the government to consider restructuring of the nation’s security architecture for better performance.
‘‘The security situation in the North has reached a level where incidents of deaths, kidnapping, armed banditry and other violent crimes against the people, occur daily, with many of such going unreported.
“The latest killings and abduction along Kaduna-Abuja highway which occurred last Sunday, making major headlines did not come to us as a surprise. This is because we are faced daily with this situation, especially in the North East and North West zones of the country”, the Northern elders noted.
The forum further appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the military high command with officers who can deploy fresh ideas into the fight against banditry and insurgency in the country.
“Most victims are captured in their farmlands while carrying out their routine and legitimate duties of farming, in order to provide for their families.
‘‘Insurgents and criminal elements have capitalized on operational lapses in security to increase attacks on civilians who remain hapless victims of a near dysfunctional security architecture.
“Again, the latest increase in the prices of commodities, especially food items in Nigerian markets, did not come to us as a surprise, in view of the link between insecurity and food scarcity.
“The helpless situation, which our people have found themselves in, has made them abandon their farming activities, thus resulting in the current food insecurity in the country.
“We further submit that unless and until adequate security was provided for our people in the North, the current food crisis, which has pushed inflation rate to an astronomical height, will only get worse.