Nigeria Presidency has lashed out at the Nothern Elders Forum (NEF) for criticising President Muhammadu Buhari over escalating insecurity in northern Nigeria.
Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina in a statement said the Nigerian Government was not surprised at the statement made by the group’s convener Prof. Ango Abdullahi on behalf of the region.
“We are not surprised by this latest statement by Prof. Abdullahi, and our past position on what his group represents remains unchanged: a mere irritant and featherweight,” Adesina said.
NEF in a statement Sunday signed by Abdullahi alleged that the insecurity in some northern states of the country was an indication that Buhari is incapable of performing his constitutional duty of protecting the people.
Abdullahi said the “recent escalation of attacks by bandits, rustlers and insurgents leave the only conclusion that the people of the North are now completely at the mercy of armed gangs who roam towns and villages at will, wreaking havoc.
“It would appear that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and governors have lost control over the imperatives of protecting people of the North, a constitutional duty that they swore to uphold.”
Presidential spokesman Adesina, however, said the statement should not be given serious attention because “the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF.”
Adesina described NEF as a “quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership” whose leader Abdullahi can be likened to “a General without troops.”
The presidential spokesman recounted how NEF withdraw its support from Buhari in the build-up to 2019 presidential election for former vice president Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who lost the election.
“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast,” Adesina said. “President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation. They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.”