The Convener, Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has said the concept and practice of justice as a foundational principle is the most difficult challenge that confronts the country.
He noted that virtually all communities and aggrieved parties in Nigeria point to the absence of justice in the manner they relate with each other or the Nigerian State.
Speaking at the Northern Peoples Summit in Kaduna on Wednesday, Professor Abdullahi explained that no country survives with injustice, stressing that if Nigeria has to overcome its challenges and grow to meet the yearnings of future generations, it has to rediscover the place of justice as the foundation of all systems.
He observed that the North has its issues with Nigeria but believes they would be best addressed by Nigerians agreeing to collaborate and find solutions to them, adding that secession is not the solution for any grievance.
He noted that it is not acceptable that the state should tolerate growing irredentism which holds communities’ hostage and threatens national security, pointing out that Nigerians are naturally worried over alarming rhetorics, suggesting serious elite polarization and failure of the state to address basic elements that guarantee their co-existence.
“We can vastly improve our mobilization of economic resources, reduce inefficiencies and waste and improve effective governance if we take the issues of restructuring more seriously. In the event that those we elected to represent us believe that this is not what we need, Nigerians should encourage a citizen-driven review of our foundations and systems, and democratically put in place leaders who will address them as matters of national survival or collapse,” he emphasized.
“In this respect, we should advise those who conflate the vital national imperative to restructure with issues of rotation or zoning the presidency to avoid doing major injury to our future as a nation.
On insecurity, Abdulahhi said dealing with criminality, poverty and destitution in the North would require a national effort to mitigate, saying the nation needs to prepare to consider massive investment in human capital development, infrastructure and basic security if it will reverse the rising tide of frustrations, destitution and criminality which afflicts most of the North.
He noted, “Banditry, insurgency, cultism, piracy and irredentism are threats to the nation, and they must be treated with a mindset that appreciates their roots, complexities and solutions in a national context. As Northerners, we know that the roots of banditry in which Fulani are substantially involved have very young roots, and it is still possible to eliminate it, provided we deploy resources and resourceful attitudes towards dealing with it.
He observed that Boko Haram and armed Fulani criminal activities are not problems of the North or Kanuri or Fulani but are national problems and threatens every Nigerian in equal measure, adding that those who think they can solve the criminality amongst elements of Fulani through ethnic cleansing make terrible mistakes.
It is not just the Fulani with an AK47 that needs to be eliminated, every community harbours people who can buy AK47s and do what the criminal Fulani does.