The roaring Wave of #SecureNorth Protests in Northern Nigeria 2021

Updated: Dec 20, 2021
By Editorial Staff

11500 Nigerians have fled to Niger for safety from the banditry in northern Nigeria. From a country full of mineral resources and with over 200 million citizens, people have fled to a country with much fewer opportunities in hopes of securing their lives. The citizens in the country have taken to the streets to support the #SecureNorth Protests.

For several years now, there have been serious insecurity problems in our country Nigeria. As of late, these problems are seen to have reached a peak as almost every week, there seems to be a new banditry report. So far, the statistics show that 3,125 people have been killed while 2,703 have been kidnapped by armed bandits.

Thus, it is no surprise that citizens have started to rise and raise the #SecureNorth protest. The protest itself has been simmering for a while but true recognized action began on Friday the 10th of December 2021. On that Wednesday same week, bandits had openly set travellers ablaze in Sokoto. It was reported that 23 people died and several more were injured. The group of protesters in Sokoto refused to take this lying down and they gave a statement on Thursday.

The group leader was arranged and blamed Monguno (the National Security Adviser of Nigeria since 2015) for his inability to curb this situation.

So far, the protest had been ongoing since Friday the 10th in northern Nigeria and the FCT capital. Later, states like Kaduna, Katsina and Kano joined the protest in an effort to bring government attention to the effect of banditry in the country.

The protest was seen to have been held simultaneously at Katsina, Bauchi, Kano and Abuja. On Saturday the 11th, Kaduna, Gombe, Yobe and Kebbi had joined the protesters and Sokoto and Zamfara are said to be making preparation to join it. The protesters aim at bringing together the 19 northern states to declare in one voice for the government to secure the north. They pledged to continue the protest until true action is taken towards ending the massacre.

Youth Protested in Abuja

In Abuja, the protest started when some distressed youths gathered at the Unity fountain with placards mainly written in the Hausa language. The protesters, who were initially chased away by the police were later allowed to gather. However, they were prevented from taking the protest further.

They chanted solidarity songs to call for government attention on the ongoing mass killings in northern Nigeria. They also declared bitter stories to the press and urged for immediate government intervention. They had vowed to continue their protests in the following week and have kept to their word.

One of the Conveners, Rahama Abdulmajid, said that they had kept quiet enough about the ongoing “armed war” in northern Nigeria, hence their decision to raise local and global attention to the insecurity in the north.

We are out this time to raise global attention on the level of human carnage going on in northern Nigeria. Evidently, lives are not long valuable in Nigeria. People are being slaughtered daily like chicken and nobody is saying anything about it. We are tired of these killings and we will continue this protest until steps are taken to end this.

Rahama Abdulmajid

The co-convener, Zainab Nasir Ahmad added; “People have been afraid to speak the truth to the government on the level of daily unreported or underreported killings in northern Nigeria. But I think we can’t take that anymore.”

We are out here to take our destinies in our own hands. It’s better we die with our dignity intact than to be slaughtered like chickens as being experienced in some communities where people are killed in their sleep, markets, roads, and other locations recklessly.”

Zainab Nasir

Police Prevented Protesters in Kano

Protesters had trooped out in their hundreds on Monday against the taking of innocent lives by bandits. The police, working hand in hand with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), barricaded the gate to the office of the National Union of Journalists in Kano state. This was to stop the #SecureNorth protesters from going in as that was the location for their protest.

They arrived in several security vehicles dressed in anti-riot outfits and were heavily armed. The coordinator declared that the Buhari administration and all 36 state governments have failed in securing the lives and properties of their citizens

He also added that the economic state of the country was in shambles.

The problems and sufferings in the north today without being compounded by a further hike in prices of essential commodities and mobility are traceable only to the inept and insensitive leadership at national and state levels as well as the cowardice of other community and religious leaders who lack the courage to stand up to them in the interest of the people of the region and Nigeria.

Some Pro Bono lawyers have stood up to support the motion and are ready to stand up for the protesters who are being arrested after the protests. Barr. Abba Hikima, the head of this team of lawyers confirmed this when he promised to stand up for the protesters after one of them was intimidated by the DSS.

Low Turnout in Katsina

In Katsina, where assassins killed a serving commissioner in his own home, protesters have also been on a march in support. They insist they were calling for an end to the bloodshed and security for their lives. Although the march was hot on Friday, it has been reported that the turnouts have been considerably lower.

They were recently dispersed by the police in an effort to get them away from the streets.

Protesters Trail Kaduna Roads

In Kaduna state, there have been reports of incessant kidnapping for more than half a year. The situation had gone more awry making the Abuja-Kaduna Road more of a minefield than a road. The protest in this particular state is vigorous. The youth on Tuesday took over Kaduna to protest the unending insecurity in the northern states.

The protesters had marched through the Muhammad Buhari way all the way to the NUJ secretariat where they were interviewed by newsmen in the afternoon.

The youths carried placards reading “#SecureNorth”, “Enough is Enough”, “Stop the kidnappers among us” etc. One of the protesters demanded President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation on what his government was doing about the genocides.

Convener Invited by Security Agencies in Jigawa

In Jigawa state, one of the organizers had been invited by the State Police Command and he stated that he shall honour their invitation on Monday the 20th of December.

Despite this, he vowed to continue to join the protests. He left no one in doubt that he will lead Jigawa youths for a peaceful protest over the rising insecurity.

Protestets Storm Sokoto and Zamfara

After the horrible murder of 23 innocent lives in a bus heading from Sokoto to Kaduna, which was what lit the fuse on the already loading protests, it is little wonder that its citizens are eager to join the protest.

For almost 3 years Sokoto has had nonstop terrorist attacks with several local governments under the control of the terrorists. 

The residents of Zamfara state had already been on a statewide protest since August. There was an incident where the youths blocked the Gusau-Kaura highway in the state in protest against rampant abductions in May. In October, hundreds of women were reported to have come out and blocked the Gusau-Kaduna Road.

Although preparations to join the protest are still being made by these states to join the formal protest, it is a certainty that they too shall soon raise against this social anomaly.

How Celebrities Joined the Fight

Celebrities have also taken to their respective accounts to speak out against the killing.

What did we really do as citizens of the country (Arewa most especially) to deserve such cruelty and disregard from our leader?? All we did was VOTED!! We are not calling out anybody but EVERYBODY at the top-level…”

Rahama Sadau

Other celebrities such as Hadiza Gabon posted a video of a crying woman, whose dear one had been raped by 8 men then killed. She put a simple caption which read “My God this is heartbreaking” then posted a picture of herself wearing a red cap with the “#SecureNorth” logo with another caption “Is that too much to ask?”

Other celebrities such as Ali Nuhu, Mansurah Isah, Maryam Booth, Baballe Hayatu etc. have also taken to their accounts to say their piece on the killings.

They are all soliciting for government interference in the situation and a way to make the states safe again.

Conclusion

15 killed in Sokoto, an attack on a Niger Local Government Area where whole houses were set on fire, Kidnap of factory workers, road insecurities, indiscriminate shootings in broad daylight.

All of these are happening right under our noses in our beloved country. Yet, nothing has been done. The woes of this country are truly beyond comprehension. The turn to the Secure North protest is a call by citizens to their government for action. A call that hopefully, will be properly heard and adhered to.

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