A member of the Northern Elders’ Forum and former executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Yusuf has bitterly lamented the state of insecurity in the country, especially in the north.
Prof Usman Yusuf, while interacting with Dr. Reuben Abati on Arise News’ ThisDayLive program, regretted that the economy of the north was literally in the forests where the billions of naira of the northern citizens and poor villagers were now in the hands of bandits, who continue to fleece the people by abducting them and demanding outrageous ransoms, which inexorably ended up in the forests.
Earlier, through their director of publicity and advocacy, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the Northern Elders’ Forum had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign from office as he has proved very incapable of leading the country. He made the call as part of their statement.
“The Northern Elders Forum and people of the north did not take the statement lightly.” The professor also insisted that the Buhari’s government has failed woefully and that Buhari and his government should resign. No one should exonerate himself from the failure of the Buhari government”
Prof Usman lamented that the president was not talking to them and at least reassuring them that something was being done or explaining what the government was doing to secure the people. He was visibly unhappy that instead of Buhari speaking directly to the people suffering under the heavy and dark cloud of insecurity and hopelessness, his aides talked on his behalf and annoyed Nigerians the more.
“The president is not speaking to Nigerians and us despite the spate of insecurity across the country. We voted for President Muhammadu Buhari. The governors are frustrated. Every day, we have Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina talking and annoying the hell out of everybody. We didn’t vote for Garba Shehu and the Femi Adesina. We want President Muhammadu Buhari to talk to us and reassure us.”
The professor, who is from the same state as the president, decried the activities of the bandits in his state of Katsina and revealed that over a third of Katsina state was under the control of the bandits. He lamented that they did not have any IDPs until this government came to power.
“One-third of Katsina state is under the bandits. We did not have any IDPs until this government came to power”
On whether he had any fears about the 2023 general elections, he said, “The politicians are disconnected from the realities of the people. All they are interested in now is elections and campaigns, while the land is drenched with blood. I tell the politicians that if you did not have security,2023 would be a bridge too far, and I do not see how you can hold credible elections in many states without protection. Yes, there will be elections, but how credible are they?” He queried.
He stated the people of the North West would not accept having elections in the IDP camps as was done in the last polls. There cannot be any credible elections without security, and we in the north-West will not accept what happened in the North East where you had elections in the IDP camps. IDPs lined up and voted for this senator and this house of rep. We are calling on the Federal government to bring peace and security so that our people can go home. An election is the least of our problems. Politicians need to realize that they will never have any nation to rule without security. So they need to wake up, he said
Prof Yusuf also remarked that it was an insult to Nigerians for Garba Shehu to tell the country that the insecurity was an ‘inherited problems that the previous administrations could not address, and which they were only trying to solve, while Lai Mohammed and the minister of defense declared that they were ‘on top of the situation as usual.
“It is an insult to Nigerians. We voted you in to secure this country and protect us. Seven years into an 8-year-term, and you are giving us excuses. Where is the minister of defense? Where is the minister of police affairs? Where is the national security adviser? Where is the minister of transportation to address the nation after this train disaster? Nobody has addressed the nation. Nobody has seen the families of these victims, and they are coming t tell us they are on top of the situation. They have been saying this for God-knows-how-long. We are tired of this propaganda, and we honestly have little or no patience for these political shenanigans. People should stand up and do the right thing. We did not elect any minister, we elected president Muhammadu Buhari, and they are not doing a good job. After the train disaster, nobody has seen the families. Nobody has addressed the nation. Nobody has told us how many people were killed on the train, how many were injured, and how many were taken hostage, and you are telling us you’re on top of the situation. what situation are you on top of/ God help us”, he lamented
He stated that the government has failed and that the hon minister of transportation has questions to answer. In October of last year, he recalled a bomb attack and asked what the government had done to prevent a future episode.
Prof Usman Yusuf observed that they sold 362 tickets, but the train had 970 passengers on board, indicating an obvious ticket racketeering, and he wondered how long this has been going on in the industry.
“The Kaduna state government has been writing to the Nigerian Railways Corporation to scrap the 6 am ride to Kaduna because of threats, but all these letters were ignored, and what we hear from the minister of transportation is a declaration for the presidency. Nobody is talking to us after all these failures. All these people would resign in sane places, and the president will fire them today. Our people are in the forests-women, children, and the aged and you’re saying you are on top of it? Quit insulting us We are not in that mood. Nigerians are in a very foul mood. The one year left for you, use it to fix thee problems. We voted you in. Now, if your relative is abducted, you are on your own. You sell whatever you have to sell; you sell your kidney to get your relative out. This is a country where we have a president and standing armed forces and a police force, and they cannot protect us”.
He opined that the nation would not have been this quiet if the Lagos –Ibadan rail line was the one blown up by terrorists.
The former executive director believed that the attackers were not the ragtag bandits that Nigerians knew but a more sophisticated group because the bandits only wanted money and not a conversation with the government. So, asking to talk to the president and not the relatives of the kidnapped victims indicated they were dealing with some people high in the game and that the people in the fourth realm- the media should call the representatives of the govt to ask these people what they want. But govt telling us they are on top of it is insulting s and apolitical language .that who could have a link with the
On what he thought about the current political activities and the people declaring for the presidency, he said, “I raise my hands in prayers and ask the almighty God should give us a leader who will get us out of this mess, but I don’t see that in the horizon. Anybody in this government can’t exonerate themselves from putting in this ditch. They have been in this government for eight years, and they’re coming o tell us to vote them in, and we will ask them why. And I heard the vice president in his declaration speech say he would continue what PMB has been doing. that statement had already lost the election for him; Go to Pasari, go to Kankiya, go to Jibiya, go to Paskari in Katsina or go to Zamfara and tell them that you would continue Buhari’s government. So, what are they going to tell us? For this government or APC, it will be tough because you have a record, we will interrogate when the time comes. You did not secure us, and we are poorer than when you came, and corruption is a lot worse. Don’t tell us about any other 5-point-plan you will bring. You have failed as a party and as a government. You have a year to fix whatever you can and we will vote you out. Insha Allah”