• Killings have nothing to do with religion, ACF insists
Laleye Dipo in Minna
A former military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd) has urged Nigerians to have confidence in the ability of President Muhammad Buhari to check the spate of insecurity in the country.
Babangida’s position is coming as the mouthpiece of Northern Nigeria, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has said the continuous killing of innocent persons by insurgents, armed bandits and militia groups in the north in particular, and the rest of the country, has nothing to do with tenets of religion.
Babangida stated this in a brief chat with some journalists after the Niger State’s acting Governor, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Ketso, and the Emir of Minna, Dr. Umar Farouq Bahago, paid him a sallah homage at his uphill residence in Minna, the state capital, yesterday.
“The president has promised to combat insecurity; I believe he will do so,” Babangida said.
The former military ruler appealed to Nigerians to have faith in the ability of the government to check insecurity and solicited for the cooperation of the people with the administration.
“We need to support the government and the security agencies; we should give valuable information to the security agencies about the locations of criminals among us,” he added.
Babangida also asked Nigerians to continue to remain peaceful and also live in peace with one another, insisting that the country will not grow without peace.
In his remarks the state acting governor, Ketso, said the state government would continue to invest in projects that would ensure peaceful coexistence among the people, which he said would also translate to the economic growth of the state.
Ketso lauded the efforts of security agencies in the state, which he said had brought about relative peace, adding however, that “we still have a lot to do”
The acting governor assured their host that the next level administration in the state will build on the gains recorded in its first term.
Earlier, Ketso and the Emir had led hundreds of Muslims to the prayer ground in Minna to offer prayers to Allah for the successful completion of the month of Ramadan during which Muslims abstained from eating and drinking in the day time.
The prayer was led by the Chief Imam of Minna, Alhaji Abu Fari.
He offered prayers for the peace and progress of the state and the country.
The two former heads of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) and Babangida, as well as the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, were absent at the prayers.
Meanwhile, ACF has said the continuous killing of innocent persons by insurgents, armed bandits and militia groups in the north and the rest of the country has nothing to do with tenets of religion.
In a Sallah message by the National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, ACF called on all elected public officers in executive and legislative positions to hit the ground running by delivering on their campaign promises.
Biu, who lamented that security situation in the country, has become more worrisome said: “ACF wishes to observe that the killings of innocent souls by insurgents, armed bandits, by clashes between herdsmen and farmers, as well as cult and militia groups and kidnapping in parts of the north and Nigeria are inconsistent with the tenets of all religions.
“While commending the efforts of the security agencies, we urge them to redouble their efforts in combating the crimes, which have continued to be worrisome to Nigerians.
“In the spirit of the seasons, ACF calls on Nigerians to embrace peaceful dialogue and forgiveness as the most religious and civilised means of addressing grievances rather than engage in hate speeches, threats and intimidation, which are capable of degenerating into avoidable conflicts and conflagration that do no one or group any good.
“ACF wishes to appeal to those beating the drums of succession, separation and balkanisation of Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines to have a rethink, as we are all better in a united larger Nigeria than in small confederation of regions,” the group said.