The Coalition of Northern East Elders for Peace and Development (CNEEPD) has accused the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) of insensitivity to the plight of thousands of people in the region.
The elders said only anti-people and anti-progress groups would attack anyone calling for the sack of Service Chiefs in the face of violent attacks and insurgency in the North East, banditry and kidnapping in the North West and North Central, as well as other crimes across the country.
Recall that HURIWA had issued a statement wherein it attacked the Northern elders for calling for the replacement of the security heads, who have remained in office, despite the embarrassing precarious security situation in the country.
In its reaction, however, the CNEEPD berated the Onwubiko-led association, alleging that the group was paid to malign its hard-earned reputation.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, CNEEPD challenged HURIWA to visit communities and territories in Borno and other North-East states without security protection.
While describing HURIWA’s attack as shameful, the Northern elders said the former’s statement showed that they were paid agents of those that did not wish President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration well.
The elders accused HURIWA of approbating and reprobating at the same time and invited the public to recall a statement by HURIWA a few days ago criticising President Buhari for not doing enough to check the spate of insecurity across the country.
The CNEEPD reproduced the HURIWA’s attack on President Buhari, signed by Onwubiko and one other thus: “What the President does is to practise his deep-rooted nepotism and favouritism in appointments, whereby he prefers his fellow Fulani/Hausa northern Muslims to hold such strategic portfolios as heads of Department of States Services; Inspector General of Police, Comptroller Generals of Customs and Immigration; Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“The President has failed to use the opportunity of his reflection on the bloody attacks against Nigerians by a broad range of armed non-state actors, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, armed Fulani herdsmen and cultists of the last twelve calendar months to tell Nigerians categorically of his pragmatic approach to solving the widespread insecurity and widening spectre of bloody attacks.”
The Northern elders said the above position of HURIWA when juxtaposed with the sorry attack on its patriotic call for Service Chiefs’ sack, gave HURIWA away as an unserious group that cares less about the security crisis besetting Nigeria.
“Our attention has been drawn to a rather insensitive and shameful statement by a group that goes by the acronym, HURIWA.
“Ordinarily, the Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development would not have dignified the group with a response, but for the need to remind the undiscerning public what characterises the aforementioned group.
“May we hasten to state that our consistent call on our dear and amiable President to sack Service Chiefs, has been borne out of patriotism and the need to restore public confidence.
“We remind the group led by one Emmanuel Onwubiko, that our position has continued to align with those of our respected Senators, members of the House of Representatives, as well as other concerned Nigerians, who are in the majority.
“We are, therefore, of the considered view that Onwubiko and his co-travellers may have lost touch with reality, or are being mischievous in their attack on our members,” it said.
While wondering why any sane group will oppose the call for the appointment of new military heads, CNEEPD asked if HURIWA understood what career progression meant in the military circle.
“We challenge Onwubiko and his followers to appear before officers (both serving and retired), whose career growth have been affected by the continuous stay of the Service Chiefs, to make that argument,” it added.