By Emeka Mamah
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has reviewed the bloody Boko Haram saga in parts of the North and traced activities of the Muslim religious sect to what it described as the prevailing harsh economic situation in the country.
The group noted, however, that it was concerned over the seeming extra-judicial killing of the leader of the sect and other persons who might not have been part of the insurgency.
ACF, in a statement, yesterday, at the end of a joint- meeting of its Board of Trustees (BOT) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) in Kaduna, also frowned at the reported threat by governors from the South-South to withdraw support for the recent Federal Governmentâ€™s amnesty to militants from the area if the Petroleum Resources Bill does not address all their concerns.
ACF BOT Chairman, Lt-Gen. Jeremiah Useni, chaired the meeting which also had in attendance the groupâ€™s NEC Chairman, Maj-Gen. I.B.M. Haruna, among others.
According to the statement signed by ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, â€œthe meeting considered the Boko Haram crisis that erupted in some parts of northern states and noted the efforts by the government and security agencies that brought it under control.
â€œFederal and state governments are also urged to control the quality of religious leaders and teachers to prevent undue indoctrination of our youths.”
â€œIt is noteworthy that the followers of such sects as Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants are those who feel aggrieved by the prevailing conditions in the country.
â€œThis attitude is aggravated by the widening gap between our affluent and ostentatious leaders and the broad masses of the poverty stricken and deprived people.
â€œThe ACF notes with deep concern the seeming extra-judicial killing of the leader of the Boko Haram sect and other persons who might not have been part of the insurgency.
â€œIt urges that in all future incidences, security forces must use minimum force and avoid unnecessary casualties.
â€œThe joint meeting considered the threats by the South- South governors and their political leaders to withdraw support for the amnesty, if the Petroleum Resources Bill does not address all their concerns.
â€œSome people from the Niger Delta region have gone as far as asking for the dismissal of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwan Lukma, because a Petroleum Training Institute is to be built in Kaduna.
â€œIt remains the position of the ACF that in a democracy, political leaders do not pursue their interest by issuing threats.
â€œThis is because democracy is a contest of ideas and reason. And since the legislature is the most deliberative institution where bills are debated, rejected or amended on the basis of superior arguments, those who feel dissatisfied by any aspect of the bill should canvass their positions in the hallowed chambers rather than resorting to insinuations.
â€œThe ACF noted the efforts made so far in exploration for oil in Benue and Chad Basins.
â€œThe forum commended the relevant agencies for such efforts and appealed to the NNPC to step up investments for the volume, quality and pace of exploration in Benue and Chad Basins, since oil has been discovered in commercial quantities in the same belt across Niger and Chad Republics.â€