Leaders of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo rose from their meeting in Enugu yesterday, reaffirming their belief in the continued unity, harmony and corporate existence of Nigeria.
The meeting held behind closed doors reportedly condemned the killing of some unarmed Biafran agitators, just as the leaders called on the Federal Government to release all those detained on account of the agitations as well as compensate families of those who lost their lives.
Reading a statement jointly issued at the end of the meeting, ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Muhammadu Ibrahim, stated that the two groups resolved to continue to work for and sustain the unity of Nigeria, where justice, fairness and equity of all segments form the centre piece.
The two groups declared support for the war against insurgency in the northeast and commended the effort of the soldiers in the fight, while also encouraging the government to continue to give security its deserved place.
“We extend our condolences to the Federal Government and the bereaved, and equally sympathize with families of those who lost their lives in the various IDP camps. We support the war on corruption and call on the Federal Government to sustain this effort and for all Nigerians to cooperate with the government to reduce the tide of corruption in the country”, the statement reads in part.
Ibrahim stated that the two groups agreed to meet regularly for purposes of discussing issues affecting the wellbeing of their people, stressing that decisions reached at such meeting would be transmitted to the Federal Government to aid good governance in the country.
“We will also continue to meet with our other brothers, the Afenifere, the South-South Peoples Assembly, the Ishekiri, the Urhobo and many other socio-cultural groups to promote peaceful co -existence and unity of Nigeria”, the ACF’s spokesman said.
Stressing the need for the meeting, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Igariwey, explained that it would enhance cooperation among the two ethnic groups as well as reduce the problems being encountered by her people in various parts of the north and Southeast.
“We think that this kind of joint cooperation will solve some of the problems we keep having from time to time. It means that we don’t need to come to the north to address issues; it means that we will contact.”
Arewa to tell them about the problems confronting our people there. “The major issue is that we are starting on a good note of cooperation that will ensure that we have other good results in the future. These meetings will be very regular”, he stated.
Chairman of the ACF and former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie, expressed happiness that the groups came together, assuring that it was the beginning of greater things to come in Nigeria when various groups come together to discuss and tackle issues affecting them.
Coomassie, who decried the call for breakup of the country, said that Nigeria’s problem had nothing to do with size, diversity or the attempt by any group to marginalize other Nationalities, but squarely the failure of the leadership of the country to address areas of need.