The Arewa Youths Forum (AYF) today warned that Northern Nigeria was heading towards total collapse and extinction. The group, which is one of the most active of its kind, also warned against attempts to politicize the Islamist insurgency plaguing areas of northern Nigeria. AYF also called for an urgent meeting of prominent figures drawn from religious, ethnic, political and traditional groups and institutions to seek solutions to the country’s myriad crises.
The group’s position was contained in a communiqué issued by its national leader, Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, after AYF’s emergency meeting in Kaduna on November 5, 2014. The Forum “reviewed [the] state of the nation with more emphasis on Northern Nigeria,” said the group, adding that it “discussed the increasing insurgency attacks.” The meeting reviewed the consequences of Boko Haram’s control of territories in various parts of the north, a spate of ethnic and religious crises involving Christians and Muslims, and the hostile relationship between Hausa-Fulani and other ethnic groups in northern Nigeria.
The group’s statement drew attention to what it called “the total collapse of mutual relationship, respect for adherents of different religions and other inclinations in Northern Nigeria, and collapse of trust and confidence amongst Nigerians of northern extraction.”
AYF criticized the preoccupation with politics and the absence of attention to “our survival as a people.” The group added: “While the North is burning and heading to a total collapse, those in position of leadership and those outside are only occupied with power struggle to the detriment of our survival as a people. Millions of public resources are now being wasted in the name of seeking power at local, state and national levels.” It added that there was “total failure of Northern leadership in all spheres, elected and appointees, traditional and religious institutions,” adding that many of the leaders were shying away from the dire reality in the northern parts of Nigeria.
It called on all former heads of state, northern governors, northern senators and members of the House of Representatives, religious and traditional leaders, academics, the business class, media proprietors and leaders in every sector to hold an emergency meeting to find practical solutions to the crises in the North, especially the Boko Haram insurgency, ethno-religious crisis, and the loss of trust and confidence.” It warned northern leaders “posterity will hold them accountable of either their courage or non-commitment.”
The group also demanded that the Nigerian government and security agencies demonstrate sincerity and political will “in tackling [the] insecurity ravaging the region and halt the menace gradually finding foot in the whole north.” It added: “Power struggle in Northern states should be de-emphasized in view of our situation for urgent resolution of the danger and deadly crisis the region has been plunged into. We should keep politics aside for survival first.”