The pan-northern socio-political organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, on Wednesday night threw its weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration that Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable.
The President had on Wednesday told militants who had continued to destroy oil installations in the Niger Delta that the unity of the country remained non-negotiable.
Buhari stated this when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello, led residents of the FCT to pay Sallah homage to the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Reacting to the President’s statement, the umbrella body of the North declared that Nigeria as a nation would remain one and indivisible entity despite its challenges.
The forum, through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim, told our correspondent in Kaduna on the telephone that those calling for the division of the country should have a rethink.
In an apparent reference to the Niger Delta Avengers, who have consistently blown up oil pipelines in that region, the ACF spokesman said he shared Buhari’s belief that the country’s unity was non-negotiable.
Ibrahim said that it was based on that belief that the ACF was urging the militants to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue offered by the Federal Government.
He said the ACF was of the firm belief that the destruction of oil installations and pollution of the environment in the Niger Delta region by the Avengers could not in any way resolve their grievances.
Ibrahim said, “Yes. The unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable as stated in the President’s Eid-el-Fitri message to Nigerians during Sallah.
“And that is why we asked our Niger Delta brothers to stop blowing up oil installations in the region. Destruction can never be a solution to their grievances.”
The ACF had, in its Sallah message, asked the Niger Delta Avengers to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue with the Federal Government.
it said, “Destroying oil pipelines and polluting the environment is not a solution to whatever perceived grievances the groups may have against the government/oil companies.
“Development and prosperity can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and understanding and not of violence and destruction.”