By John Shiklam
The northern socio-cultural organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, yesterday kicked against agitation for the creation of new states saying that it will further increase the cost of governance.
In a communique issued at the end of its National Working Committee meeting in Kaduna, the ACF maintained that if there was any compelling need to create new states, "issues of landmass and population must be considered".
The forum maintained that creating new states "at a time when Nigerians are clamouring for reduction in cost of governance will be a huge burden on the nation's economy and will not bring about the quest for rapid development".
The Forum also said that the opposition by some northern legislators against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly "should not be misconstrued as a regional agenda, but one that is meant to correct the anomalies noticed in the bill in the overall interest of the nation".
The communiqué which was signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Anthony Sani, further said that the insistence of the forum that the government employ dialogue in resolving the Boko Haram insurgency was not informed by any desire to encourage insurgency as a viable way of attracting government’s attention for patronage, but "because of the fact the use of military might rarely reined in terrorists activities anywhere".
"It has been the considered opinion of the ACF, which bears repeating, that given the clamour for reduction of cost of governance across the country in favour of development of the real sector, any contemplation for additional states at this point in time could wholly be counterproductive.
"However, should there be any overriding need for additional states now across the country, ACF appeals to the authorities to take into account factors of land mass and population in such an exercise. This is because inequity, injustice and unfairness occur not only when equals are treated unequally, but also when unequals are treated equally.
"The meeting also deliberated on the implications of Bayelsa State government’s action of procuring gun boats for surveillance of the creeks and other controversial actions like state anthem, coat of arms and flag.
"It is against such backdrop that the ACF urges the federal government to ensure that such gun boats are used only by those charged with the authority and responsibility of overseeing the maritime borders and the creeks."