By Chidi Obineche
Apex socio – political organization of the North, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF has accused those canvassing for restructuring of Nigeria of having no regard for decorumw or civility, as the issues are often presented as “demands” by one group or the other.
The group observed that in most cases, the demands are followed up with ultimatums to the authorities to accept or face deadly consequences. The group made the observations in a communiqué issued at the end of their National Executive Council, NEC meeting held at its headquarters in Kaduna recently, and signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Muhammadu Ibrahim.
According to the group, “restructuring” means different things to many people, with some believing it to mean “true” federalism, while others call it “resource control.” The group, however contended that “restructuring a complex, big, and diverse country as Nigeria is a serious business that must take account of the views of all its citizens, and not just of those that shout the loudest, or issue threats, intimidation or blackmail.”
It further added that the present democratic structure in Nigeria provides ample opportunity for groups and individuals to present their agitations through their representatives at the National and State Assemblies.
Continuing, the ACF said that it was inconceivable for people to be talking about restructuring at a time when the nation was facing “ more serious security challenges, social and economic problems like the destruction of our oil pipelines by Niger Delta Militants, Boko Haram insurgency, youth restiveness, drastic drop in oil revenue, unnecessary killings and kidnapping of innocent persons, etc that require all hands to be on deck, rather than diverting the attention and resources of government on an issue that could be tackled by our present democratic structure.” It therefore dubbed the agitation for restructuring as “diversionary and misplaced priority.”
The group also regretted that despite the efforts of the military and other security agencies in tackling insurgency, militancy, kidnapping and indiscriminate killing of innocent persons by “unknown gunmen”, the menace has continued, posing serious threat to the peaceful co-existence of Nigerians.
It condemned the recent killing of the traditional ruler of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State, the Saf Ron Kulere, Lazarus Agai and called on security agencies to not only fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act, but prosecute them to serve as deterrent to others. The ACF also extended its condolences to the government and people of Plateau State, and the family of the paramount ruler over the killing.
On the issue of illegal mining and the attendant health hazards it poses to most communities in many northern states, especially in Zamfara, it observed that they are exposed to lead poisoning and other health problems, and urged the governments and other appropriate authorities to not only enact and enforce laws governing solid minerals extraction, but also put in place adequate health measures to ensure the safety of lives of the people living in the mining areas.