European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. David Macrae
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called on the European Union to assist the federal government to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, made the call yesterday when the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. David Macrae, paid a courtesy visit to the secretariat of the forum in Kaduna.
Sani said the call became necessary in view of continued terrorist activities which had polarised economic and social activities in the North.
The forum insisted that dialogue remains the only viable option for peace in the North, stressing that force would never address the problems of the Boko Haram insurgency .
“All these started when democracy came about, you know democracy came with a lot of freedom, before now we were under different military regime, but immediately democracy came there were problems and the North was expressing ethnic strife and religious strife.
“So the northern leaders sat down and said we could not go on like this, at that time there were like three groups operating in the region and we said we must create a platform were northerners can seat down and address their concerns.
“ACF has been very active in addressing some of the problems of the region like the inter communal problems, our goal is to create a platform were feuding communities can come and seat down and engage each other in discussion,” Sani said.
He added that the forum, in an attempt to address the issue of insecurity in particular, had organised peace conference where state governors and other stakeholders came to discuss the issues.
On his part, Macrae said the EU has good working relationship with the Nigerian government.
He said the North being the larger part of the country must not allow a small group within it to slow down the development of the region.
“North is a very large part of this country, but we must not allow a tiny part of the group to carry us towards the area that we don’t want to go, we have to address the issues; that is the important thing.
“In the last few months, we have been particularly interested in what we might bring forward in the EU about these issues. There are also some members of the EU that have ties with Nigeria in many areas, but there are things we can do collectively as EU and we are in serious discussion with the national authority for a short, medium and long term solution.
“I have a special interest on how we could engage with the north, and I believe anything we want to do, has to be with the executives of ACF, it has to be with you,” he said.