THE Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, yesterday accused peoples of the southern part of the country of provoking the north to set the country aflame.
At its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Kaduna, the group urged Nigerians not to lose faith in the country, saying Nigeria will overcome her challenges.
National Chairman of ACF, Chief Audu Ogbeh spoke at the meeting,
“The meeting will look at issues confronting the nation and by extension, the region and proffer solutions. What can we do to end the menace of banditry? What can we do to end Boko Haram? What can we do to improve the economy and lives of Nigerians? What can we do to improve our relationships with other regions? These are some of the issues we will focus on. We want to leave a country for our children and grand children and the unborn so that they will be happy with us.”
On his part, ACF Secretary-General, Muktar Aliyu said the North is sick, noting that “We have Boko Haram, we have banditry, we have kidnapping, we have rustling, attacks on Northerners in the South where many lost their property and investments.
“Above all, the southerners are doing so to spark reactions from us so that the country will go up in flames but we are saying no. We are being confronted with agitations for separations and dissolution of the state, demands for Biafra, Oduduwa as well as restructuring.
”But we said there are ways of doing things in conformity with the laws of the land. So, this meeting will look at these things holistically and proffer solutions. Nobody is happy with the current situation.”
Meanwhile, in a communiqué at the end of the meeting, among others, said the “Forum is not happy with the scant attention paid to animal husbandry by state and federal governments in the country. Animal husbandry alone accounts for 6 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product, GDP, Nigeria spends $1.6 on importation of milk alone. If animal husbandry is well harnessed it will save Nigeria this large expenditure.
“Many 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 illiterates who sometimes are not comfortable with the police and the modern court system but would prefer traditional way of resolving issues.”
ACF lamented the high rates of interest charged on bank loans in the country, contending that “the interest charged by banks on commercial loans are so high that instead of promoting business, they are killing all indigenous business enterprises. No business can function in Nigeria or anywhere without a friendly environment of loaning from banks. We call on the government to intervene because the collapse of business has direct links with unemployment and insecurity.”