Banditry killing progress of the north, says ACF

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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) says banditry is negatively affecting the progress which the north is known for.

There has been a series of attacks in the region in the past months.

In a communique issued on Thursday at the end of its executive meeting in Kaduna, the forum said the activities of bandits, kidnappers and insurgents are a setback to the northern region.

Audu Ogbe, a former minister of agriculture, presided over the meeting.

“On insecurity, the forum expressed displeasure at the state of affairs in the north and in the country in general,” reads the communique signed by Emmanuel Yawe, spokesman of the forum.

“The forum condemned the activities of insurgents, kidnappers and bandits in the north, saying that their activities are killing the peace and progress for which the north was noted for when the founders of the region were in power.

“The forum decried the utterances of some actors and leaders who have sought to inflame regional, ethnic, and religious passions out of the current situation in the country.

“The forum called on Nigerian leaders to exercise restraint in their utterances in the current circumstances.”

ACF said it was briefed by parents of the kidnapped students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, who were abducted by suspected bandits in March.

The forum said it regretted that some of the kidnapped students remained in captivity, while the government had not done much to get them released.

ACF said it has agreed to take up their plight with the state and federal governments.

The forum said it also received report on “the unfortunate killings of some northerners in the south-east”, but warned against those who have been calling for reprisal.

“We the Arewa Consultative Forum stand against all lawless acts of self help and call on all northern youths to stop such evil plans. They do not enjoy our support,” the group said.

“The Arewa Consultative Forum believes in dialogue and consultation as a way of bringing peace and normalcy back to our troubled region and nation.”

The group also frowned at the payment of ransom to bandits, adding that no religion practised in the north permits such “sinful acts like holding other human beings as hostages for financial reward”.

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