The Northern Senators’ Forum rose from its two-day retreat in Katsina, yesterday, and declared that the political elite from other regions are intimidating the North with restructuring.
Besides, the senators described restructuring as an ambiguous term, “even to its proponents, without clear terms and directions on how to go about it.”
The retreat, however, ended yesterday without any definite position on restructuring.
The communiqué, which was signed by the forum’s Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, equally noted that restructuring “is a term used by the political elite from the other regions to intimidate the North and paint it as a weak link, parasitic and unproductive region that brings nothing to the dining table.”
The communique said the North would, at a later date, take what the senators called, “a well articulated, firm and common position,” on the issue of restructuring, in collaboration with other northern members of the National Assembly.
“The North, as a region, is not afraid of any sensible and meaningful arrangement provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians irrespective of religion, region, age and sex, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”
The communiqué said the retreat also discussed, “the huge infrastructural deficit” in the northern region of the country and posited that the development has tended to weigh down on socio-economic and advancement of the area and reiterated “the need to design an all-embracing Marshal Plan for the development of the region.
“The insecurity of lives and property and the lack of capacity of the state to adequately guarantee the most fundamental of rights are the most critical challenges facing the region in particular, and the country, in general.
“The prevalent ethno-religious crises in the northern region are politically motivated in nature and have little or nothing to do with religion.
“The alarming statistics of out-of-school children and the number of learning institutions in the northern region explains why the region is educationally and economically backward, in addition to poor budgetary funding and bad governance.”
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, declared the retreat open on Tuesday, with governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Borno, Sokoto states in attendance, alongside the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and Dr. Usman Bugaje, among others.