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You’re lucky this is democracy, presidency tells Northern group

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Aso Villa has asked the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) to thank their stars that the country is operating a democratic government where the right of free speech is guaranteed and protected.

It said if the group dared to issue comments under non-democratic government, it would have met a swift and harsh retribution from the government.

A coalition of Northern groups had on Monday bemoaned the growing insecurity in the region and called on the Federal Government to implement sweeping measures.

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It asked President Muhammadu Buhari to “immediately relieve the service chiefs of their duties,” saying unless killings in the region stop within 14 days, the coalition would “mobilise citizens to take to streets until the government is completely shut down.”

But the presidency, through the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated that the Buhari administration had done more than any other government to beat back terrorism in the country.

Buhari is working hard to fix all the ailing sectors in the country before it hands over a clean state of affairs to the youths, it added.

“That the government is issuing this statement in response to the puerile message is a testament that today Nigeria is a country where disagreements can be aired publicly through the press, not through less gentlemanly methods used in the past.

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“We hope that CNG will consider the facts and reconsider the unhelpful and inaccurate message their statements contain when issuing them in the future,” Shehu stated.

Meanwhile, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has challenged the Federal Government to expose those traditional rulers accused of aiding banditry in Katsina State or remain silent forever.

Leader of the forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who maintained that the Buhari administration had lost the battle to banditry and criminality, especially in the North, advised the president to be responsive to core responsibility rather than apportioning uncharitable blames.

The former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, spoke on a radio programme, ‘As E Dey Hot’ on Wazobia FM, Kano.

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He was apparently responding to Shehu, who accused traditional rulers in Buhari’s state of Katsina of working with armed groups to kill their subjects.

When Shehu granted an interview to Channels Television on Monday, he stated, “While avoiding direct accusation, some traditional rulers have been found complicit in collaborating with the bandits to harm their own people.”

Abdullahi said, “If Garba has no courage or honesty to tell us who he was referring to when he claimed traditional rulers are aiding banditry in the North, he should shut up. We expect him to come out to tell us who these people are; otherwise, he should just shut up.”

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