Paul Onongo

The Northern Elders? Forum has said it warned President Jonathan on how to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency before it escalated to its current state, but the president ignored its advice.

The forum also said the national conference which is expected to kick off on Monday is a waste of money and time because it will not solve Nigeria?s problem.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, elder statesman and deputy national chairman of the NEF Paul Onongo described the conference as a jamboree.

He said the current state of insecurity is an attempt to divide Nigeria, adding that it is neither a religious or ethnic crisis.

?Is someone organizing this disagreement so that northerners will kill themselves? They are trying to divide Nigeria for political reason. But this is bad politics,? he said.

Onongo said there is so much impunity going on in Nigeria, stressing that, unfortunately, some people in government do not like the truth being told.

He said, ?There is so much impunity and insensitivity in the activities of some governors and people at the top level of government. They behave like military men.?

Speaking on the Boko Haram crisis, he said: ?When the crisis began, we brought a bunch of suggestions on how to go about it. Then, we gave him the example of former President Yar?Adua whom he took over from. When Yar?Adua came as president, we had a similar problem in Mr President?s place. Mr President himself was used to go down to his people to talk to them and he managed to get them.

That capacity has not been exploited in the case of Boko Haram.

?We told Mr President right from the onset to take whatever action you can take to bring this thing under control. But the manner in which it was done became unfortunate. It could have been done by just offering them amnesty. But some people now brought religion and ethnicity into it.?

On the National Conference, he said the problem with Nigeria is not with the constitution but leaders who have no regards for Nigerians.


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