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Unrest looms as Nigerians lament hardship

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By Abraham Adekunle

Northern traditional leaders sound alarm to Federal Government.

Showing concern for the masses, monarchs from the Northern region, convened under the banner of the Northern Traditional Council, led by the esteemed Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, have issued a grave warning to the Federal Government. Their message, delivered during the 6th executive meeting of the Northern Traditional Council at the Arewa House in Kaduna, emphasized that Nigeria, particularly the North, is on the brink of a crisis due to escalating insecurity, poverty, and unemployment.

The Sultan, speaking with urgency, conveyed to the Federal Government that traditional rulers, religious leaders, and state governors have tirelessly worked to pacify the masses and dissuade disenfranchised youths from rising up against the political establishment. But the Sultan lamented, “It is getting to a level that traditional leaders could no longer pacify the people from revolting against government and political leaders that were supposed to find solutions to their lingering socioeconomic plight.” He painted a stark picture of discontent, highlighting the severe conditions faced by the average Nigerian.

Sultan urges action against agitation, hunger and poverty.

“People are very agitated, people are hungry, they are angry,” he noted. “But I believe talking about insecurity and the rising level of poverty are two issues that we cannot fold our arms and think everything is okay.” Indeed, the hardship experienced by the populace, particularly in the North, is multifaceted and profound. Beyond the specter of unemployment looms the pervasive shadow of poverty, depriving millions of even the most basic sustenance. The lack of access to essential resources compounds the despair felt by countless families struggling to survive.

Moreover, the root causes of this turmoil extend beyond mere governance transitions. The Sultan observed, “I don’t think it is the issue of new government. To me, this government is a continuation of the former government; it is the same party.” Thus, systemic challenges persist, demanding comprehensive and sustained efforts to address them. The dire situation necessitates urgent action and collaboration between traditional leadership, political authorities, and security agencies. Recognizing their pivotal role, the Sultan stressed, “We owe it a duty to the teeming millions of people that believe in the traditional institution, to bring solution to the various problems facing them.”

There are concerns about the youth employment crisis.

Central to these challenges is the need to generate employment opportunities for Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population. The Sultan soberly remarked, “We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder, having teeming youths, millions of them, without jobs, without food, we are looking for trouble.” This sentiment underscores the urgent need for proactive measures to alleviate poverty and foster economic empowerment. Merely offering prayers without tangible actions, the Sultan cautioned, is insufficient to effect meaningful change. “Prayer without work will not bring anything,” he admonished.

Furthermore, the gathering at the Arewa House underscored the importance of inclusive dialogue and collaboration. The involvement of various stakeholders, including the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), reflects a commitment to harness collective wisdom in pursuit of solutions. Education and healthcare emerged as focal points of discussion, with participants recognizing their pivotal role in addressing socioeconomic disparities. However, the specter of insecurity looms large, casting a shadow over the region’s prospects for progress and stability. The Sultan’s impassioned plea for honesty and accountability resonated throughout the deliberations. “Let us be very honest with ourselves, let us be very frank about what we are going to tell ourselves here; it is no time to hide things,” he urged.

Related Article: 7 Northern states to face food crisis in 2024

Finally, the gathering affirmed its commitment to charting a path forward characterized by collaboration, innovation, and resolute action. As the Sultan aptly summarized, “I believe at the end of this meeting, we should have very good suggestions to our political leaders, to our security chiefs, that when such is implemented, we will have a better North and at the same time have a better Nigeria.” In essence, the need to address the underlying causes of hardship and insecurity in Nigeria’s Northern region demands nothing less than concerted, sustained, and decisive action from all stakeholders. Failure to heed this clarion call risks exacerbating an already precarious situation, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the nation as a whole.

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