From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Barely 24 hours after the release of the 279 schoolgirls, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has told Governor Bello Matawalle to reveal those he claimed were behind the crime.
A statement by the ACF National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, said the Zamfara governor should be treated as “an accomplice” if he failed to name those who abducted the students.
The governor was reported in the media to have told 17 Emirs who paid him a sympathy visit when the girls were kidnapped that he knew the kidnappers, and that Nigerians would be shocked if he revealed their identities. He also alleged that some persons attempted to sabotage efforts to release the schoolgirls.
However, the ACF prevailed on the governor to disclose the identity of the mastermind of the kidnapping.
“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 identities 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”
It also called on northern traders to transport their goods to the southern parts of the country and halt the alleged embargo, saying it was unnecessary as the country was not at war with itself.
“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 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.”