ACF seeks northerners cooperation with FG to end terrorism, worries over proliferation of groups
Kaduna (WorldStage Newsonline)-- Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), the Pan Northern-socio-cultural organization, on Wednesday expressed concerns over the proliferation of northern group canvassing for the unity and progress of the region.
The group noted that the development would not augur well with the region just as it expressed concern over the growing wave of insecurity in the country, asking Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to stamp out terrorism.
Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the ACF in Kaduna on Wednesday, Chairman of the ACF’s Board of Trustees, Lt. Gen Jeremiah Useni (rtd) said the growing number of groups championing the cause of the region was worrisome.
Useni stressed the need for one body to champion the cause of the region , saying that a situation in which an endless stream of civil society organizations, elders committees, regional congresses etc, were established with the intention of uniting Northerners or seeking to tackle the well known problems of insecurity and underdevelopment was bad.
“It is too early to forget and we need not remind Northerners particularly our respected elders, of the reasons why it became necessary, some twelve years ago, to collapse all these mini-groups into one Pan-Northern Forum, which was given the name ACF. Elders of the North, the founding fathers of the ACF had considered that to continue to have three or more civil society organs speaking for the North showed us to be lacking in unity, focus and sincerity of purpose,” he said.
On the insecurity in the land, the group asked all right thinking Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government in its efforts to stamp out terrorism, saying that it become imperative for all Nigerians to collaborate with the government to stamp out terrorism in the country.
Useni said: “The ACF and all right thinking Nigerians should join hands with the Federal Government in the fight against terrorists.
“Nigeria and indeed the North in particular continues to face challenges in all sorts of areas but, ironically, the most daunting is our ability to live with one another in peace and harmony. It is a matter of deep regret that we have managed to squander much of the goodwill, the brotherhood and the good neighbourliness which existed for centuries among all the different groups and communities that inhabited the North.
“Today, the airwaves is awash with reports of conflicts, strife and killings going on in the North. Hardly a day passes by without reports of attacks by either some terrorist groups or by one community against the other. All these result in the bombing of churches and mosques and loss of lives and property.”
The ACF chairman added that it was unimaginable and unthinkable that the North had found itself in the current cycle of violence.
According to him, “the reasons for these senseless carnage, makes one to wonder what has come of us, how long will this go on? We are of different tribes, yes, but were we not different tribes before? We are of different religions, yes, but were we not of different religions before? We come from different parts of the country, but were we not from different parts of the country before?
“If all along, we and our fore fathers lived with these differences without bitterness and without conflict, how come we suddenly have lost the ability to live together in peace and friendship?”
Useni who however recalled that it was in an attempt to find solutions to the problem of violence in the North that the ACF, last December held a peace conference, stressed that the problems of the north and the rest of the country had gone beyond what could be addressed by a single meeting.
“As we speak, the problems of insecurity, unemployment, poverty, crime etc, show no signs of abating. The need is therefore as urgent as ever to work towards locating and applying the remedies which have been discussed during the peace conference,” he said.
The ACF for the first time held its annual general meeting under tight security mounted by heavily armed policemen, State Security Service(SSS) operatives, members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as personnel of the Federal Road Safety Commission at its Sokoto Road, Kaduna secretariat.