Indications emerged Tuesday that northern elders were still smarting from last week's declaration of state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States by President Goodluck Jonathan.
A member of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Mr. Solomon Dalung, described the president’s action as an insult to the group, giving the fact that he had misled them to believe that he was sincere in the search for a peaceful resolution of the security crisis that has plagued the north in the last three years.
Members of NEF were part of the groups and individuals the president consulted before he took the decision to consider amnesty for Boko Haram members, who have killed about 4,000 people during their terrorist attacks in the north.
However, Dalung, a lawyer and rights activist, fielding questions from journalists in Gombe, said the declaration of a state of emergency on the three states was deliberately done to spite and disgrace the north, adding that there was no justification for the action.
He spoke just as Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, blamed the collapse of family values for the security crisis in the north occasioned by Boko Haram insurgency.
Dalung, who spoke during the Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Gombe State branch, with the theme, “Social Justice as a Panacea for a Secured Society in Nigeria,” said there was no justification for Jonathan to take the action after consulting with the northern elders who warned against the resort to martial solution to the crisis.
He said: “I was among the northern elders that went to the villa and mounted pressure on President Jonathan and told him that dialogue is the only instrument that can lead us out of the quagmire of insecurity we are facing.
“Shortly after we prevailed on him and left, he declared a state of emergency and my understanding or interpretation of the situation is that he intended to disgrace us as elders of the north.
“There is no justification talking to eminent elders of the north and doing something else. If he had a situation different from what we discussed, it would have been proper for him to call us back and say you told me this and this but this is what is happening, what do we do?”
He further explained that the measures taken in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States did not tally with the situation in the states.
“We did not vote him so that we leave our houses and live like refugees in another place. Nigerians voted him to protect them. So the best that should have happened in that circumstance is for him to call us back as members of the Northern Elders Forum. For us to ask him to grant amnesty means we know more than him.
“Of course, if we are not in touch with the insurgents, we would have not asked him to grant amnesty. We have gauged the state of mind of the insurgents and that is why we confronted the government. He should have relied on us but all he did was to rely on soldiers. I think he has graduated into a military commander,” Dalung.
Meanwhile, Kwankwaso yesterday said the security challenges confronting the country were triggered by collective failure.
"This issue of security challenges confronting us today was sown by every one of us. Our family system has collapsed as parents no longer cater for their offspring. What used to be communal bond no longer exist. Our societal values have degenerated and we are now living a self centred life where no one cares about anyone” he told members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, which visited him in his office .
Kwankwaso explained that "a situation where you have an army of teenage beggars roaming the streets begging for survival and they grow up to hate themselves and the environment and in the process vent the anger of their misfortunes on the society, the end result is what we are witnessing now,’’ he added.
Kwankwaso however blamed the high rate of poverty in the north on uneven distribution of Nigeria’s wealth among its constituent parts, stressing that ‘a situation whereby a particular region wants to corner everything poses a serious challenge to our corporate existence.’’
He therefore criticised the proposed plan to allocate funds to communities under the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) describing it as “a time bomb waiting to explode.”
Leader of the delegation and Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, said they were in Kano to interface with stakeholders and victims of the insurgency with a view to recommending appropriate responses to the federal government.