Friday, 18 July 2014

Stop maltreating northerners in S’East -ACF

The Arewa Consultative Forum has warned Igbos to stop maltreating its kinsmen in the name of fighting the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
The Deputy National Secretary of the ACF, Abubakar Umar, while receiving the South-South/South-East Arewa Coalition, who members on a courtesy call on the ACF in Kaduna on Friday, said the warning became necessary in view of the ongoing intimidation of northerners in the Eastern part of the country in the name of fighting Boko Haram insurgents.
Umar noted that the Forum was of the view that there was nothing wrong in issuing identification cards to the northerners trading in the East, provided the issuance of the cards was done in good faith.
He expressed fears that if the North should embark on such venture, multi-billion naira business investments of the Igbos resident in the North could be endangered.
According to him, the development could cause crisis that might lead to undeserved division of Nigerians on ethnic or religious line.
He insisted that statistics available to the Forum indicated that Igbos’ investments in Kaduna, Kano and Plateau states alone amounted to N4.5tn, noting that with such huge investments in just three states of the North, Igbos had no reason to maltreat northerners doing business in the East.
“If the table turns round, it could be disastrous as these investments may suffer for it, but we are praying for understanding among Nigerians to accept themselves wherever they live to earn legitimate means of livelihood,” he said.
Umar added that the Yoruba and Igbos in Jos, capital of Plateau State, lost N480bn and N410bn investments respectively to the 2011 post-election violence while the South-South also lost N970bn in the same crisis.

He said, “We know these statistics; we have these statistics, so we expect the Igbos to treat our kinsmen, our brothers and sisters in the East as kings and queens in view of the fact that they (Igbos) have more investments in the north than in the East.
“Take Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, for example, Igbos occupy over 73 per cent of the land, so these are some of the reasons why they should be everybody’s keepers in their place.”
The leader of the Coalition, Awwal Yusuf, had earlier told members of the ACF that northerners were doing business under fear in the East and called on the ACF to intervene because according to him, every trader or Muslim from the North was considered a Boko Haram member.
Yusuf said the Arewa Coalition had taken to court the issue of identity card in order to seek justice and be freed from undue molestation in the hands of the people in the area.
“We are so embarrassed with this issue of identity cards. Why should it be only traders or Muslims from the North that should be identified? We have taken the case to a court in Enugu,” Yusuf said.

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