Insecurity: Locking Down Communities In The North May Worsen Living Conditions – Northern Elders

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says shutting down communication and imposing curfews will compound living conditions in the northern region.

The forum pointed out that measures such as suspension of markets, restrictions on the sale of petrol, closure of schools and some roads, declaration of curfews, and restriction on movement of cattle and the Federal Government’s plans to restrict communication will only do more harm to the people.

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This was contained in a statement signed by Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Director, Publicity, and Advocacy of Northern Elders Forum, and made available to journalists in Abuja,

“Northern Elders Forum is closely following the condition of many Northern communities that have become particularly vulnerable to attacks and abuse by bandits, kidnappers, and related organized criminals,” the statement reads.

“Measures being taken by some State governments such as suspension of weekly markets, restrictions on the sale of petrol, closure of schools and some roads, curfews, movement of cattle and plans to restrict communication will compound the desperate conditions of living of many communities in the North.

“While it will be unhelpful to criticise these measures without adequate knowledge of their potentials to relieve the desperation under which people live, it is important nevertheless to demand that those who have powers to impose them also have clear ideas over what they could achieve and when.

“These measures represent virtual economic and social lockdowns on people who had been at the mercy of criminals for a long time.

“Unless they are accompanied by an aggressive and effective assault on the banditry and kidnapping industry, they will merely add to the misery and hopelessness of our communities.

“Worse, they could further embolden the bandit and the kidnappers when it becomes clear that governments and security agencies cannot go beyond lockdowns on communities.

“Communities themselves will lose even more faith in the capacity of the Nigerian State to respond to their desperate circumstances.”

He called on the federal government to assist states to relieve communities that are now living under additional pressure.

Some state governments, as part of efforts to curb insecurity, had shut down markets and schools.

On Saturday, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) had also instructed all telecommunications companies to shut down their services in Zamfara over lingering insecurity in the state.

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