The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has decried the spate of killings in the North, urging all stakeholders to come together to save the region from the spate of killings in the region.
The newly elected ACF chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who raised the alarm in Kaduna Wednesday, charged the federal and northern state governments to improve security in the North and create job opportunities for the teeming northern youths.Ogbeh is the immediate past minister of agriculture during the first tenure of the Muhammdu Buhari administration.
He urged northern leaders and elite not to make utterances that could aggravate the security situation, just as the group tasked the northern states to avail themselves of opportunities in the agricultural sector.
Addressing the ACF National Working Committee meeting, which he presided over, Chief Ogbeh said: “If we do not save the North now, we will lose the North. We are faced with the problems of killings day and night which are greater than ever, at no time has life been so tough except during the civil war. Our responsibility now is greater than before.”
“ACF is not a political party but an organization working for peace and stability in the North. Some Nigerians mistake the ACF to be an ethnic, tribal, religious or a political organisation. It is none of these. We have over 300 tribes in the North and we cannot afford to be an ethnic organisation because 78% of Nigerian land mass is in the North.”
Speaking in a communiqué issued after the NWC meeting and signed by its national publicity secretary, Mr Emmanuel Yawe, the ACF resolved that “northern states should take advantage of the N75 billion loan to farmers in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
“Because of the existing tensions and crises leading to a general sense of insecurity, destruction of property and killings in the North, religious, ethnic, traditional and political leaders in the North should be cautious in their utterances and should refrain from making wild and inflammatory utterances that will aggravate the situation.
“Federal and state governments must take urgent steps to arrest the deteriorating security situation in Northern Nigeria which has led to insurgency, terrorism, banditry, ethnic and religious disturbances all over the North.
“The government, particularly state governments of the Northern region should pay adequate attention to agriculture which offers more opportunities for diversification and the development of a more sustainable economy for the North and the country.
“School enrollments have remained low in the Northern region. State governors of the North should take urgent steps to enhance school enrolment and eradicate the rampant incidence of street begging which is very unhealthy for the overall development of the North.
“Unemployment has become a big menace to the Northern region. State governors are advised to design employment schemes for our teeming youths who have become frustrated and pose an additional threat to the security of the North and the country. State governors are also advised to key into programs of the federal government designed to offer employment to the youth and alleviate poverty.”