FOLLOWING the October ultimatum purportedly given to President Goodluck Jonathan by the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) to rescue Chibok schoolgirls and bring an end to Boko Haram insurgency or lose the support of the North in the 2015 presidential election, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the forum has thrown its weight behind the president and his war against terror.In an apparent repudiation of NEF’s position, NEC said in a statement issued by the spokesman of the council, Ambassador Yusufu Mamman, in Abuja on Wednesday, that rather than criticise the president, northern leaders must continue to support the effort to bring the insurgency to an end.
The elders’ council admonished against politicising terrorism, which it noted was a global phenomenon and stressed the need for all Nigerians to cooperate with security agencies to put an end to the menace.
The council stated its appreciation and support for the Federal Government in the fight against insurgency and “also appreciates the timeline as agreed by the council of states towards ending the insurgency and similar criminal activities across the country on or before the end of the year.”
According to NEC, “it is necessary to also appreciate our security agencies for their untiring effort and sacrifice to end the senseless killings of our fellow citizens. Terrorism, as we are aware, is a global phenomenon and any attempt to politicise it will not augur well for our country.
“It is time that we understood and fully appreciate the danger posed by this menace so that we put all hands on deck and cooperate with government and our security agencies towards ending the scourge.
“Insurgency does not recognise sectional, ethnic, linguistic or cultural interests, as it has no respect for them. To ensure that insurgency is nipped in the bud, President Jonathan has said that he will mobilise logistics and international support to ensure that our security agencies are fully provided to motivate them in surmounting the challenge posed by insecurity.
“As measures of concern, strategy and compassion, there is the Presidential Initiative for the development of the North-East region and Insurgency Victims’ Fund, all set up to cater for the victims and respond to the challenges posed by insurgency.
“Similarly, Nigerians and the world at large are aware that the president held a meeting with the parents of the Chibok girls, assuring them of the safe return of their children.
“Management of such delicate and complex release of hostages presupposes the primacy of having the girls alive and well by tact, carefully planned and executed strategy to ensure success.
“We call on all Nigerians to appreciate the efforts of our elder statesmen, such as General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari, General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Vice President Namadi Sambo, including all retired Chief Justices of the Federation, because of the level of their involvement in our collective will and effort to move the nation forward.
“We call on all compatriots to, separately and collectively, join hands with the Members of Council of State and the Federal Government in the collective fight against insurgency. It is not a time to criticise, but to cooperate,” the NEC said.