Groups representing indigenous communities have blasted the Hausa-Fulani ruling class, saying their cold response to the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect amounted to complicity.
These groups at a joint press conference in Lagos to mark the United Nations Day of indigenous communities on Friday, urged Nigerians to reject any politician that had links with the violent sect during the 2015 general elections.
The groups including the Green Peoples Environmental Network, Southern Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Alliance, O’odua Nationalist Coalition, the Coalition of Nigerian Civil Right Groups and the United Middle Belt Youth Congress, said the conflict in the Maghreb region and Boko Haram insurgency had led to displacement of indigenous communities and the seizure of ancestral homelands, rape and killings of innocent civilians by the armed Islamic gangs.
In a joint press statement signed by Olu Sulaiman, Michael Popoola, Ovie Godfrey and Hycinth Chiluba, the groups said as the 2015 presidential election drew near, it would begin an intensive campaign against Islamic fundamentalists who might want to contest.
They said, “We assert our full support only for a presidential candidate that will restructure Nigeria and guarantee ethnic self-determination. Any candidate that does not support full resource control of resources by the communities that produce them must be opposed with all our strength.”
The groups noted that a statement by spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, that the Hausa-Fulani will “never return power to the South” once the region obtained it, demonstrated a malicious show of arrogance that must be resisted by Nigerians.
The groups added, “We condemn in strong terms the current realignment of political forces, which has not taken into consideration the interests of indigenous peoples but has been tailored only to promote the wishes and aspirations of the northern caliphate against the genuine interest of the indigenous communities.
“It said Hausa-Fulani political groups are interested in nothing but a system that will sustain and oil their own parochial and self-serving interests saying that little wonder that the violent Boko Haram has become a political scare crow for a section of the Hausa-Fulani political class. The responses of the northern caliphate to the series of bombings have been that of cold complicity.”
They also said without a national dialogue and the restructuring of Nigeria, there would be no end to the circle of violence which has continued in Nigeria since 1960.
Meanwhile, security experts have urged the Federal Government to improve its partnership with the United States in a bid to stop the violent activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the country.
They spoke in reaction to reports that the United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, will lead a delegation of senior US officials to Nigeria to discuss the Boko Haram insurgency with the Federal Government.
The US Consul-General, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins, reportedly said discussions on “security issues” would be the “central focus” of the next meeting of the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission, scheduled to hold in Abuja on August 15.
A former Director of the State Security Service, Mr. Mike Ejiofor, said better cooperation was necessary, adding that the carrot-and-stick approach applied by the Federal Government had not produced the desired result.