It is with a heavy heart that the Ulama Forum makes this press statement, which reflects the deep worries of its members over the deteriorating trend of insecurity in the country, particularly in Northern Nigeria. The Ulama Forum is a collaborative forum of Scholars, Academics, Professionals and leaders of Muslim organizations closely monitoring religious and social issues in the country, communicating, collaborating and conducting extensive researches to unravel Shari’ah rulings and offer advice to all segments of the society, whenever the need arises. It can be recalled that the Forum had earlier published a Communiqué on “Security Situation in Northern Nigeria”, which was released on June 28, 2020 and shared widely. The statement detailed our humble recommendations to the government, the security agencies, traditional leaders, the Ulama and the public on how to pursue a multi-thronged strategic approach to countering insecurity in the land. We are once again compelled to make another press statement on the same issue, which has gone from bad to worse over the last couple of months. The Boko Haram insurgency has led to the death of thousands of innocent lives and caused untold hardship to the entire people of the Northeast and Northwest regions. Among the victims were prominent Muslim scholars, traditional, community and political leaders, including an Emir and a retired army General. To worsen an already bad situation, in the last few years, criminals and bandits have entered the scene, pushing the Nation closer to the edge of a cliff. Now, events in the last couple of months have proven the fact that these and several other forces of destruction are desperately trying to push the nation off the cliff and toss us all into a bottomless pit. Consider the following: Nov. 9 – 9 students from Nigerian French Language Village, Badagry Lagos were abducted and huge ransom demanded along the Kaduna-Abuja highway in Kaduna State. Nov. 15 – Another 9 students from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria were kidnapped and N270m ransom demanded along the same Kaduna-Abuja highway in Kaduna State. Nov. 17 – The kidnap of 12 police officers on transit to Zamfara from Borno and request for ransom before their release, around Katsina State. Nov. 18 – Gunmen invaded staff quarters of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic and abducted a lecturer and two children in Zaria, Kaduna State. Nov. 20 – Gunmen attacked a Juma’at congregation, killed five persons and abducted the Imam and more than 30 others in Dutsen Gari of Maru LGA, Zamfara State . Nov 23 – Gunmen invaded a house in the staff quarters of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and kidnapped a lecturer, while his wife and daughter were rescued after a gun battle with security agents in Zaria, Kaduna State. Nov 23 – Gunmen kidnapped Agric Minister’s brother and demanded ransom in Tofai village, Gabasawa LGA, Kano State. Nov 29 – The cold-blooded murder of 43 innocent farmers slaughtered on their way to cultivate farm produce in Zabarmari – Borno State. Dec 11 – About 400 pupils missing or kidnapped after gunmen stormed secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State. The Ulama Forum viewed with serious concern the apparent failure of government (at all levels) and the security agencies, to contain the raging insecurity in the region. It noted the growing public disenchantment in the region over the deterioration of security, which has disrupted their activities and made normal life nearly impossible. It is apparent that all the efforts and strategies employed by the government to tackle the insurgency and armed banditry have failed to achieve the desired goal. Something must be fundamentally wrong somewhere and it is absolutely necessary to address the problem squarely. It must be stated without mincing words that the buck lies on the table of the President to do the needful in order to tackle the seemingly intractable problem. Members of the Forum observe with all sense of responsibility that unless immediate and decisive actions are taken to halt this dangerous slide into the dark abyss, our beloved country, Nigeria, will collapse sooner than later, creating the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history. We feel highly concerned that despite the continuous assurance that government is winning the war against insurgency, realities on ground point to the contrary. We are deeply concerned that Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and criminal activities have compounded the challenges of insecurity, leading to wanton loss of innocent lives, kidnapping and abduction of persons, forcing thousands to either flee their homes or live in constant fear and uncertainty, which has led to the collapse of economic and educational activities, creating an astronomical number of orphans and widows that is growing in a frightening and exponential way. The Forum observes that, the lack of adequate information from relevant authorities and the clear absence of positive community engagement have created mistrust and dissatisfaction to the extent that apart from physical combat, the Government is currently competing with the Boko Haram murderers in telling the correct position of things. It further observes that the high levels of poverty, the huge numbers of unemployed youths, the hundreds of thousands of students affected by the seemingly endless ASUU strike, the aftermath of EndSARS protests, coupled with the widespread proliferation of illicit drugs, small arms and dangerous weapons in the country in general, have added fuel to the raging fire of banditry, criminality and destruction. Similarly, the continued existence of IPOB and similar agents of destruction and national destabilization and the ease with which they mobilize funds and resources for their nefarious activities is another time bomb waiting to explode.
Based on the above, Ulama Forum has resolved as follows:
1. The Forum most respectfully advises the President, the State Governors and all elected representatives, to sit up to their responsibility and uphold the trust reposed in them – by Allah and then the Nigerian people – to protect the lives, property and honour of Nigerian citizens.
2. The President should immediately address the nation, declare a State of Emergency on Security in Nigeria, and establish a National Task Force on Security (NTFS). State Governors should also set up a State Task Force on Security (STFS). The NTFS/STFS, which will comprise professionals and security experts, eminent personalities and responsible members of the community to, among other things:
a. Coordinate and provide complete synergy between all security agencies, monitor and regularly report progress to the President/Governor while updating the public with unclassified information and guidance.
b. Collaborate with and between the states in gathering intelligence, mobilizing communities and documenting challenges and progress in the security and peaceful coexistence within and across neighbouring the states.
c. To identify and track suspicious persons and movements, criminals’ hideouts, flashpoints and all sensitive intelligence and notify relevant authorities accordingly.
d. Regularly brief the President/Governor and maintain a National/State database of all incidences of security breaches with clearly indicated indices such as location and date of attack, casualties, abductions/kidnappings, response from the security and successes/challenges encountered.
e. Whenever there is an attack on a community, immediately coordinate with NEMA/SEMA for emergency response, assessment of the situation and provision of immediate assistance, preparing and submitting comprehensive reports to the President/Governor.
f. To identify, track and free abducted and kidnapped persons, facilitate the treatment of the wounded and collaborate with relevant Federal and State Ministries to assist internally displaced persons and provide adequate security for their safe return to their homes.
g. Advise the Federal and State governments on measures to monitor and halt the spread of weapons, stimulants and illicit drugs while supporting implementation of government measures against their proliferation across the country.
3. Government should take decisive action against deliberate politicization of security and other sensitive matters of national cohesion, deal with the constant attacks at the fabrics that knit us together, quickly and comprehensively resolve the ASUU strike while finding lasting solutions to all the myriads of challenges stated above before the nation collapses.
In conclusion, the Ulama Forum reiterates the saying of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that “Whoever wakes up safe in his base, healthy in his body, with enough provision for that day, is like one who was given the world in its entirety”, we therefore call upon Government to listen to the cries of its subjects and take drastic measures to protect public peace and security. The President should take full control and should not hesitate to fire any of his lieutenants who fail to perform.
The Forum urges the President to consult widely with all segments of the Nigerian society with a view to harnessing ideas and informed opinions on the way forward towards ensuring everlasting peace and security in Nigeria. Allah says: [Say, “What would my Lord care for you if not for your supplication?”] (Qur’an 25:77).
Thus, while calling on all to repent and avoid sinful acts, we urge Imams to continue supporting peaceful coexistence, lead their followers in alqunut and intensify prayers for Almighty Allah to bring an end to these challenges, guide our leaders, strengthen them and save Nigeria from the evils of insurgents, tribal separatists, armed bandits, kidnappers and their sponsors may Allah bless Nigeria and its good people. Alhamdu lillah. Wassalātu was Salāmu alā Rasūlillah. Signed for and behalf of the underlisted by Mal Aminu Inuwa Muhammad (Convener) Engr. Basheer Adamu Aliyu (Secretary)
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
1. Malam Aminu Inuwa Muhammad, Kano
2. Prof. Mansur Ibrahim Sokoto, Sokoto
3. Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar, Kano
4. Dr. Abubakar Muhamad Sani B/Kudu, Jigawa
5. Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, Kaduna
6. Prof. Muhammad Babangida, Kano
7. Prof. Salisu Shehu, Bauchi
8. Prof. Ahmad Bello Dogarawa, Kaduna
9. Sheikh Abdulwahab Abdallah, Kano
10. Sheikh Ibrahim Shehu Maihula, Kano
11. Dr. Saidu Ahmad Dukawa, Kano
12. Malam Muhammad Lawal Maidoki, Sokoto
13. Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, Adamawa
14. Dr. Ibrahim Adam Omar Disina, Bauchi
15. Sheikh Abdulmuttalib A. Muhammad, Yobe
16. Barr. Ibrahim Muhammad Attahir, Gombe
17. Amir Abdullahi Abubakar Lamido, Gombe
18. Sheikh Abba Muhammad Gadanya, Kano
19. Sheikh Adam Abdullahi Mohammed, Yobe
20. Mal Ahmad Bello Aboo Maimoonah, Katsina
21. Dr. Muhammad Alhaji Abubakar, Borno
22. Malam Aminu Aliyu Gusau, Zamfara
23. Mal Shehu Muhammad Maishanu, Zamfara
24. Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi R/Lemo, Kano
25. Prof. Muhammad Amin Al-Amin, Katsina
26. Dr. Salisu Ismail, Sokoto
27. Dr. Muhammad Muslim Ibrahim, Katsina
28. Dr. Umar Garba Ibrahim (Dokaji), Gombe
29. Prof. Auwal Ibrahim Magashi, Kano
30. Dr. Abubakar Saidu, Gombe
31. Engr. Ahmad Jumba, Bauchi
32. Sheikh Aliyu M. Said Gamawa, Bauchi
33. Sheikh Ibrahim Chiroma B/Kudu, Jigawa
34. Sheikh Muazu Abba Jabir, Bauchi
35. Sheikh Muhammad Sagir Usman, Kano
36. Dr Auwal Adam Tilde, Bauchi
37. Sheikh Yusuf Adam Khalil, Kano
38. Sheikh Zakariyya Mu’azu, Gombe
39. Sheikh Idris Yunus, Abuja
40. Dr. Usman Jibril Mika’il, Gombe
41. Sheikh Aminu Bala, Kano
42. Mal Abdul-Rahman Ibrahim Idris, Bauchi
43. Engr. Basheer Adamu Aliyu, Jigawa