ACF to Ohaneze, Afenifere: Protect northerners in Southeast, Southwest




 

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere to curb acts that could endanger the lives and properties of northerners and other Nigerians in their regions, while assuring of security of other Nigerians in the North. 

Speaking in a communiqué issued at the end of a National Executive Council meeting Wednesday at its headquarters in Kaduna, ACF National Chairman Audu Ogbeh commended Ohanaeze for disowning the violent agitation for secession by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN).

He said the ACF would soon convene a meeting with the other socio-cultural organisations to address challenges facing all parts of the country. 

Ogbe said: “The Forum expressed satisfaction with the recent stand of the Southeast leaders and Governors on the violent agitation for secession from Nigeria by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network. The Forum expressed satisfaction that the Ibo Elders have finally disowned the agitators and called on the elders to take concrete measures to ensure that such agitations come to an end. 

“ACF wishes to assure that all Ibos who are living in the North are guaranteed their personal security. We have received reports on a daily basis of Northerners, ordinary citizens who are earning their daily life as nail cutters, suya makers, shoe shiners, onion sellers, being bullied, beaten and even killed. We hope these ordinary Northerners are given the same protection we have given the South easterners in our midst.

“The Forum hopes to meet with leaders of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Afenifere and South-South leaders to discuss the lingering in the country that have tended to pitch ethnic and regional groups against each other. The Forum also praised the gallantry of our fighting forces who against all odds have continued to risk their own lives in the fight against banditry and insurgencies.

“The Forum commended Governors Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state and Umara Zulum of Borno state, who have demonstrated unusual courage in their fight against terrorism in their states and urged other governors in the North to demonstrate similar bravery in the fight against insecurity that is ruining everything the North has always stood for. 

“ACF lauded Federal Government’s infrastructural development, while lamenting that “the North with over 75% proportion of land and highest number of population” has not benefited a fair share of the infrastructure. The Forum decried high interest rates charged by banks on loans, noting that it has continued to suppress local businesses. “We call on the government to intervene because the collapse of business has direct links with unemployment and insecurity.”

The communiqué further said: “The Forum is not happy with the scant attention paid to animal husbandry by states and Federal Government in the country. Animal husbandry alone accounts for 6% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nigeria spends $1.6 million on importation of milk alone. If animal husbandry is well harnessed it will save Nigeria, this large expenditure.

“Nigerians are not aware that those involved in the business of animal husbandry are themselves victims of insecurity their cattle are often rustled and they are kidnapped for ransom too. There is need to encourage alternative means of dispute resolution as those involved in farmers/herdsmen clashes are rural illiterates who sometimes are not comfortable with the police and the modern court system but prefer traditional way of resolving issues.

“The Forum regretted that Nomadic Education embarked on during the Babangida administration has been abandoned. There is need to revive and expand this laudable programme so that the pastoralists who have been profiled, exploited, abandoned and left behind by the modern society will also acquire skills to live in harmony with their brothers and sisters in Nigeria.   

“Local government is not being allowed to work and the failure is having a devastating effect on the security architecture of the country. They must be allowed to work and ACF calls strongly on the Federal Government and the state government to allow the local government to perform the roles and functions they were constitutionally created to perform.”  

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