Many Nigerians deeply frustrated, hungry, resentful – Sultan of Sokoto

Sultan of Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar on Wednesday lamented the increasing rate of poverty and insecurity in the Northern region with warnings that traditional and political leaders must urgently find solutions to the two problems they go out of hand.

He said the situation in Nigeria has reached a point where many people in the country people are deeply frustrated, hungry, and resentful.

The Sultan spoke at the meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council convened to deliberate on the critical issues of insecurity and increasing poverty level in the region.

Speaking at the meeting held at the Council chambers of Arewa House on Wednesday, Sultan of Abubakar, said that with many Nigerian youths unemployed and unable to feed, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

The Sultan that insecurity and poverty are the two major issues that have been causing trouble for the people of the north.

We are now faced with rising levels of poverty of most of our people; a lack of normal sources of livelihood for the common man to have even a good meal a day.

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. I have said it so many times and at so many fora that, things are not okay in Nigeria and of course, things are not okay in the North.

“What are the real issues bringing about poverty and rising cases of insecurity? I don’t think it is the issue of the new government. To me, this government is a continuation of the former government; it is the same party. So, what really is the problem? I think that is one of the reasons we are here to talk to ourselves.

“We owe it a duty to the teeming millions of people that believe in the traditional institution, to bring solutions to the various problems facing them. We will not fail in doing that. We will do our best.

“I have said so many times, that we never lack a solution to our problems, what we lack is implementation, because we meet today, we bring out so many beautiful ideas on how to solve our problems, and we go back to our various places and go to bed, leaving such solutions here in this conference hall. So, how do we implement them?

“This is why we invited the leadership Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) to come and interact with us on the outcome of a similar meeting they organized in Abuja. We also invited the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to be part of us and talk to us too, because as elders, some of whom have been in politics, who have done a lot for the North and the Country. At the end of the meeting, we believe we will come up with various suggestions on how to resolve our numerous problems in the North.

“Education is important, so whatever issue you want to bring us here, you must talk about education, you must talk about health issues and of the two monsters that have been harassing all of us here that is insecurity and poverty.

“And let’s not take it for granted; people are quiet, they are quiet for a reason because people have been talking to them.; we have been talking to them, we have been trying to tell them things will be okay and they keep on believing. I pray to Almighty Allah that they will not one day wake up and say we no longer believe in you. Because that would be the biggest problem because we can’t quieten these people as traditional, spiritual leaders and diplomats forever.

So, I think it is good we talk about these things and 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. We have reached that level, people are very agitated, people are hungry, they are angry, but they still believe there are people who can talk to them, they believe in some of their Governors, some other traditional rulers, and some of their religious leaders, fortunately, some of us double as traditional and religious leaders.

“So, we have this onerous task of reaching out to everybody, calming them down, and assuring them things will be okay, and they should continue to pray and pray and still do something good because prayer without work will not bring anything.

“We must find jobs for our teeming youths that are sitting idle and I have said it so many times, we sit on a keg of gunpowder, having teeming youths millions of them, without jobs, without food, we are looking for trouble.

“But, we thank Allah we believe in ourselves, we believe in Almighty Allah to bring succour to all our problems and we will keep on praying and urging our political leaders, who we believe will do something better. We are only advisers to the political leaders, that is all we can do, but if we are empowered and as strong as the Governors by the constitution, by the amount of funds they get from the federal and state revenues, we can also be a lot.

“However, we are ready to work with the Governors, because we believe in them, we believe in what they are doing, and must work with them. And if the Governors too want to have peace and stability in their states, they must work with the traditional leaders.

“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.”

Abubakar, who is the Chairman of Council, advised the traditional rulers to appraise the situation candidly in order to find effective solutions to the region’s problems.

The Sultan, therefore, emphasised the need for honesty in acknowledging all issues, including lack of regular sources of livelihoods leading to insufficient daily meals for the common man.

On his part, Gov. Uba Sani of Kaduna State, represented by his Deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, also expressed concern that the Northern region has transformed from a peaceful area and nation’s food basket to an epicenter of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.

He said immediate collective action must be taken by governors in the region to strengthen access to education, healthcare and agriculture, and in addressing poverty and unemployment.

He said Northern states must form strong partnerships to revitalise the region’s economy, and combat poverty and insecurity.

The Director General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf-Magaji Bichi, represented by Kaduna State Director of DSS, Abdul Enechi, emphasised the inseparable link between security and development.

He called for collaboration within all institutions to counter any security threat, and urged the traditional rulers to monitor activities in their domains and identify informants.

Bichi said rising prices and lack of availability of food is already causing tension and called on the royal fathers to support government in developing alternatives to the issues.

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