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The Northern Elders’ Council yesterday attributed the continued Boko Haram insurgency to what it described as mutual distrust and provocative statements.

The group said it is yet to take a position on who to support as the North agitates for power shift in next year’s presidential election.

The body, however, promised to support all efforts aimed at ending violence in the country.

Addressing journalists after a crucial meeting in Abuja, one of the group’s leaders, Alhaji Tanko Yakassi, listed poverty, unemployment and mutual suspicion as some of the critical factors that are promoting violence in some parts of the country.

Yakasai said: “The security challenge of Boko Haram and other ethnoreligious crises in the North as well as violent crimes of kidnapping and armed robberies in

other parts of the country pose a serious challenge to the nation, including wide spread poverty and unemployment.

“In an effort to find lasting solution to this national malaise, there have arisen mutual distrust and suspicions leading to utterances by some people capable of affecting the standing, respectability and unity of the North in particular and the country in general.

“Boko Haram started in 2002. We do not support any form of violence whatsoever. We are a peace-loving people.”

He recalled that the nation’s founding fathers demonstrated tact, wisdom, courage and moderation in their conduct of public affairs.

Yakasai said: “Rather than follow the footsteps of these elders, today politicians and leaders have been inciting people and promote hatred, intolerance and violence.

“It is unacceptable to allow some people to exploit the situation to create disharmony, hate and general instability in the polity”.

He, however, alleged of moves by some politicians to drag traditional rulers to political controversy, describing such move as dangerous.

Yakasai said the group would not comment on the agitation by the North to produce the next President until all political parties made their presidential candidates known to Nigerians.

He said: “When we know the presidential candidates, we will make up our mind.”

Yakasai added: “We are not out to compete with the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). We recognise ACF as the umbrella organisation for all northerners and we are therefore part and parcel of the ACF, but we are not in parallel of ACF, we are in harmony.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

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