Human rights’ activist and co-convener of #BringBackOurGirls, Aisha Yesufu, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari displayed his wickedness and dictatorship to Nigerians from both Northern and Southern regions.
She added that Buhari had a nuisance value, and Nigerian youths should unite and build a better country for themselves, rather than accepting the division that politicians sold to them.
Yesufu said these on Monday in an interview with SaharaReporters regarding the #NorthIsBleeding protest.
Speaking about her roles in the demonstrations, Yesufu said, “As a human being and Nigerian, I did participate. I have an online petition ongoing right now where I’m making demands on the Nigerian government to secure lives, and also on things that they are supposed to do.
“I was not part of the street protests, just like the #EndSARS protest; I was not part of the organisers. I joined like every other Nigerian, it was at the point when protesters were attacked that I came to the frontline of the protest.
“In the #NorthIsBleeding, I’m not part of the organisers too, but I’m rooting for young Nigerians. I give advice and other things. My joy is that I see young Nigerians taking leadership roles in this whole thing.
“I will also make demands for the better life of people just I will like to make for myself. We don’t want to be victims as the dead people are. That’s why we are demanding that lives and property will be secure.”
In her reaction to a distinction between the #EndSARS and #NorthIsBleeding and what they represented, the activist said the former had enough time to build up and were carried by main victims, while the latter was about empathy.
“There is a difference between #EndSARS and #NorthIsBleeding. At the #EndSARS, there was a whole lot of coordination; there were a lot of victims that were out. The EndSARS was a protest of survival. The NorthIsBleeding is a protest of empathy. This is a case of the people that are showing concern about how people are being killed.
“For the #EndSARS, it was the people that were brutalised that were on the streets. The NorthIsBleeding looks like when there was the first #EndSARS protest in 2017. So, the youths are making their voices being heard.
“It will not be fair to outrightly compare #EndSARS protest to #NorthIsBleeding protest as it is right now because it took like 3 years before you see that kind of momentum in October 2020. From doing the hashtag, online campaign, then mass protest. You know these things get through their stages. The NorthIsbleeding is just getting its feet on. What’s most important is that people don’t get weary. They keep on demanding,” Yesufu said.
Reacting to the fact that Southerners did not see #NorthIsBleeding as their protests, just as the Northerners withdrew during #EndSARS protests, the activist warned that politicians were behind it.
She said, “This silliness should stop. The politicians who are causing a divide amongst people, the youth, tell them there is North and South, they don’t have a divide. The politicians causing the division do enjoy their companies. You see them enjoying the wedding ceremonies, attending funerals. They always come together for their own interest but put a divide among the citizens especially the youth. The youth will do themselves a whole lot of good by not buying that narrative.
“There were #EndSARS protests in about 31 states in the country. I think in the North, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, and Abuja took major parts. But after a while the politicians saw that the youths were getting united, they brought in the division which they normally used, religion and tribe. That was how some people in the north pulled back and it became the Northern or Southern thing.
“The point is that killing does not know North or South. Poverty, unemployment and all these bad things don’t know south or north. Every part of Nigeria s facing insecurity, not only just North. It is just that the ones happening in the North are more so eclipsing the ones in the South. Every life is important.
“I know there are attacks, and they are justifiable attacks because there are handles from the North, especially after the killings at the Lekki Tollgate. At the Kankara abduction, it was the South making demands; most of the Northern handles were quiet. So, when these Kanakara boys were released, the Northern handles started attacking the Southern handles again. But guess what; we are all Nigerian handles.
“The president has shown he has the capacity to be dictatorial to anybody whether you are from the North or the South. The president has shown he has the capacity to be selfish whether to the North or the South.
“President Muhamadu Buhari has shown the capacity to be wicked to the south or to the north. Even in the employment, the nepotism is not to the North, it is to his own clique of people whether family or friends. It is not a Northern affair. I think that is what people need to understand. His nepotism is to his friends, family and friends of his family.
“People have been killed in Katsina and he hasn’t said a word. In Sokoto, almost 40 people were killed, burnt in a bus, the President didn’t say anything. He didn’t send condolences, and he went to Lagos to go and do a book launch. We people should know these so that we can unite. If we don’t, they will keep coming when they need your votes, and after the votes, they will deal with you.
“We should see that Buhari has a nuisance value. And Nigerians should make use of it, because the most missed opportunity will be that we don’t make use of the nuisance value Buhari has to our advantage. Nigerian youths should accept and respect their differences and use them to build this nation as they want. They should accept they have a common goal and work towards that common goal.”
Yesufu said, “Buhari’s government does yield to protest, and that’s why they clamp down on protesters, they try to intimidate protesters, keep people off the streets. They’ve been picking people off the streets through DSS. The DSS is such a shameful organisation that should be tracking terrorists killing Nigerians. They are wasting their intelligence on protesters instead of going after the terrorists that are killing people which is the reason why there is a protest. That is why they are using religion to shut down the people. That’s why they are telling people protest is haram. Buhari is actually afraid of the people.”
“We need to accept there is insecurity. Our military is capable of defeating insecurity. There is sabotage in the military. We must invest in intelligence gathering instead of these DSS. They can deploy their resources on tackling the insecurity instead of chasing after civilians. There should be coordination. Our commander-in-chief is incompetent. The least the National Assembly should have done is to impeach the president. There should be political will. Right now; no political will.”
When asked if there are people donating financial and legal services, and relief materials for the #NorthIsBleeding protesters just as it was during the #EndSARS, Yesufu said, “I don’t know if there is financial support for the protesters. I was not one of the #EndSARS conveners and also I’m not one of the conveners of the #NorthIsBleeding. I don’t have any information, I may have them later but right now I don’t know. Nigerians youths should know protest is their constitutional right.”