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NEF backs Borno, Yobe elders, opposes emergency rule extension

The Northern Elders Forum on Tuesday expressed support for calls by Borno and Yobe states elders asking the Federal Government not to extend the emergency rule in the two states.

Elders from the two states had on Monday urged the Federal Government not extend the state of emergency in their states beyond April 19 when it was due to expire.

This was contained in a text of a press conference addressed by a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Al-Amin Daggash (retd.), in Abuja.

Deputy Leader of the Northern Elders Forum, Dr. Paul Unongo, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, in Abuja, on Tuesday, advised the government to take the Borno and Yobe elders seriously.

Unongo said the elders lived in the worst affected areas as such they were in the best position to say where it hurts them most.

According to him, his recent experience in the hands of Nigerian troops in his home state of Benue made the concerns raised by his colleagues from Borno and Yobe, worth considering.            

He said, “As I saw and witnessed in Benue, I sympathise with the Borno and Yobe elders when they said they don’t want soldiers.

“In my little village of Jatuaka, not a single Fulani man came into that town, but soldiers from the Nigerian army came in and ransacked the whole place.

“Our vigilantes arrested two soldiers and handed them over to the police who took them to the local government headquarters and the chairman handed them over with their guns, to the Commissioner of Police in Makurdi.

“This thing has become so obscene that people of conscience must speak up. It is sad that soldiers who are supposed to protect the lives and property of citizens will be involved in the wanton destruction of lives and property.

“We are hearing all kinds of things. I sympathise with them, it was soldiers who destroyed all the doors in my hotel, not Fulani people.

“We didn’t complain that we had any trouble with Fulani people in Jatuaka what kind of government is this? It is perpetrating hatred across ethnic lines what for?”

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