Worried by the incessant attacks of gunmen and bandits in some parts of the northern Nigeria, which has made it difficult for farmers to go to their farmlands, the National Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Audu Ogbeh, has stated that efforts must be made to save the North now.
According to Audu Ogbeh, “if we do not save the North from its present precarious situation, the North will be lost totally,”
He made the statement in a communique after their first inaugural meeting held in Kaduna on Wednesday and signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe.
In the Communique, the chairman said “Some Nigerians mistake the ACF to be an ethnic, tribal, religious or a political organization. It is none of these. We have over 300 tribes in the north and we cannot afford to be an ethnic organization.
“Our responsibility now is greater than before. We have not faced this challenge before. Killings day and night. At no time has life been so tough except during the Civil war,” the group added.
The ACF called on the Northern states to 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).
It also warned religious, ethic, traditional, and political leaders in the North from making inflammatory utterances.
“Because of the existing tensions and crises, it is now leading to a general sense of insecurity, destruction of property and killings in the North.
The group said the 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 enrolments 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”.