From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Barely 24 hours after the release of 317 schoolgirls abducted in Zamfara State by bandits, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has told the state governor, Bello Matawalle, to reveal the identities of the people behind the abductions.
The governor was widely reported in the media to have told 17 emirs who paid him a sympathy visit on the kidnap of 317 school girls from Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara that he knew the identity of the kidnappers and that if he revealed their identity, Nigerians will be shocked.
A statement by the ACF National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, prevailed on Governor Matawalle to disclose the identity of the people behind the kidnappings.
In a related development, the Forum called on Northern traders to transport their goods to the South and halt their embargo, saying it is unnecessary because the country is not at war with itself.
‘The Arewa Consultative Forum ACF is stunned by a statement accredited to the Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawalle.The governor is reported in the media to have told 17 Emirs who paid a sympathy visit to him on the kidnap of 317 school girls from Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara local government that he knew the identity of the kidnappers & if he revealed their identity, Nigerians will be shocked.
‘We ask the governor to reveal their identity and let Nigerians be shocked or even the heavens fall.
We also ask the security agencies to question the governor on the identifies of the criminals he is trying to hide. If he refuses to disclose their identities, he must be treated as an accomplice to the criminal act of kidnapping.
‘The ACF has been embarrassed by the spate of kidnappings especially of school children spreading like wild fire all over the North. People in positions of authority that will help us out of this mess like Governor Matawalle must stop embarrassing the North and country with careless statements on a serious issue like the kidnappings of school children.
‘Zamfara State and the North are way behind the rest of the country in educational development. The serial kidnappings of school pupils in the north will only worsen a bad and unacceptable state of education in the North.’
While calling on Northern traders to sell food stuff to the South, the Forum said: ‘The Arewa Consultative Forum, shares the concerns of Nigerians over the decision of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and cattle dealers to stop movements of needed food from the North to the South.
‘We call on the leadership of the union to put a halt to their so called embargo and blockade. Nigeria is not at war with itself and such a drastic action is not necessary. It will only further complicate the socio economic and political problems facing our country today.
‘The members of the union are said to have suffered severe losses during the #Endsars riots and the recent violence in Sasha in Oyo state targeted against Northerners.
‘We believe that whatever may be the difficulties of their members in operating in other parts of the country, ACF leadership led by me is willing to help them solve these by talking to security agencies and the government.
‘There is no need mounting a blockade by one section of the country against the other. Whatever may be our differences, the ACF as an ardent believer in free trade believes that goods should be allowed to move freely.This extreme measure is not progressive and even counter productive.This is not the way to go.’