THE insurgency broke out from the region and a homebrew remedy might just be what an exasperated nation needs to have its peace. What remains to be seen now is whether those behind the uprising would listen to the voice of their elders on this score and stop forthwith.
Nevertheless, leaders of the North-East geo-political zone yesterday appealed to the leadership and conscience of the Jama’atul Ahlus Sunnati lidda’awati Wal Jihad, otherwise called Boko Haram, and asked the sect to end its bloodbath in the North and embrace dialogue.
The North-East elders gave this charge to the sect in a communiqué issued after their maiden zonal meeting in Bauchi, Bauchi State.
Former Finance Minister, Adamu Ciroma, chaired the meeting attended by many prominent elders of the North-East, including Alhaji Shettima Mongono, Alhaji Sule Katagum and Alhaji Abdullahi Danburam Jada, among others.
They charged the sect members to see all residents in the North-East region as their blood relations whom they would not ordinarily harm, stressing that everyone in the area, including Boko Haram members, were suffering from the current situation in the North-East.
The North-East leaders pledged to do everything humanly possible to initiate dialogue with the sect’s leadership with a view to finding “acceptable and permanent solutions” to the current terror campaign.
They also resolved to explore traditional and political channels at all levels of society in ending the terror attacks.
The elders stated that the North currently reeled from several socio-economic problems like poverty level and unemployment, which could only be tackled through the practical application of the region’s human and material resources in a peaceful atmosphere.
In a related development, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has attributed the Boko Haram insurgency in the North and youth restiveness in other parts of the country to population explosion without a corresponding increase in job creation.
Shettima, who made the assertion on Tuesday, said unless the development was checked, peace would continue to elude the nation.
The governor, who inspected the five wards of Lawan Bukar, Shehuri North, Galadiam, Budum, and Abaganram in the Maiduguri metropolis, which are worse hit by the Boko Haram attacks shortly after his return from the United States (U.S.), lamented that most of the residents had fled the areas.
But he appealed to Boko Haram members to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue, pledging the state government’s readiness to rehabilitate those willing to embrace peace.
Sounding philosophical, the governor said: “Tough time don’t last but tough men do and if my blood will bring end to the killings in Borno, so be it. If I can be threatened, every other persons can be threatened. I therefore call on all people living in Borno, including the security agencies, to work together towards restoring peace in the state and the country at large.”
Meanwhile, three people were shot yesterday in a broad day light by unknown gunmen in Bukuru, Jos South Local Council of Plateau State.
Confirming the incident yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Deputy Superintendent Abuh Emmanuel, said the three men were in serious critical conditions in a hospital.
“They are not yet dead. There is still life in them. Don’t conclude that they are dead. They are still breathing,” Emmanuel said.
He added that although the gunmen escaped from the scene, “the police have intensified efforts to track the criminals down.”
But in defiance of a ban order on their operations in Jos, commercial motorcycle operators yesterday took to the streets of the state capital.
However, they were forced to beat a retreat by the combined force of the Police, Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) and members of staff of the state’s ministries of Works and Transport.
The motorcyclists hit the street as early as 6.00 a.m. But at about 9.00 a.m. when the security team made move to stop them, it met stiff resistance as the cyclists pelted the government officials with stones and other objects.
The police replied by shooting live bullets into the air to disperse them, which sent the motorcyclists scampering away.
Although the motorcyclists alleged that five of them were injured in the face-off, Emmanuel claimed ignorance of any casualties in the incident.
But President, Association of Commercial Motorcycle Riders of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), Plateau State, Babangida Shehu, kicked against the state’s move, saying the government had betrayed them.
He added that the association had initiated a dialogue with government over the ban and how to resolve it amicably “but unfortunately, they by-passed us. We arranged to hold a meeting at the Commissioner of Police office but the commissioner postponed it indefinitely.
Shehu added: “They don’t want to do this thing amicably. When I personally contacted the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni, he denied that he made the statement on Monday banning the operation of the commercial motorcycles.
“All the same, what we are saying is that let proper things be done. They just brought small quantity of palliatives. Our union (ACOMORAN) got 15 tricycles and the other union, Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria (MTUN) also got 15 tricycles. It is very unfortunate to announce that politicians and government cronies hijacked everything.”
Commissioner for Information and Communications, Yiljap Abraham, who monitored the raid, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance on the ban, stressing that the law had come to stay. Commissioner for Transport, Abdulhamid Gamzaki, who also monitored the exercise, said government had purchased 120 taxis and buses, 500 tricycles to ease transportation in the city centre.