Following what they considered as worsening insecurity and marginalization, some notable leaders of the North-Central geopolitical zone on Wednesday announced the exit of the region from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).
The leaders announced the formation of a new body with the name; “North Central Peoples Forum” as a platform to fight insecurity and marginalisation.
The group while briefing journalists in Abuja, said in spite of the abundant mineral and human resources in the zone, the North-Central was bedevilled by vices such as kidnapping, banditry and other forms of criminality.
The North-Central Peoples Forum is being led by former Minister of State for Health, Arc. Gabriel Aduku as interim National chairman.
Similarly, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Jerry Useni, former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former military Administrator of Kwara State, Col. David Bamigboye (retd.), and a former deputy Chief of Staff to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Olusola Akomode are part of the movers of the new group.
The list also include the Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, former Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa, Amb. Ahmed Ibeto, former Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Stephen Lawani and Alhaji Alfa Mohammed, among others.
Briefing journalists, Useni said that the existence of similar groups in other parts of the country had given rise to group affinity and solidarity among the states in a particular geopolitical zone to canvass things of common interest.
Useni expressed confidence that the forum would unite the people of Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory in their quest to ensure that peace and stability is established and sustained within the zone.
He also said that the new body would pursue rapid industrialisation across all nooks and crannies of the zone, adding that the group would pursue policies and processes that would ensure that the massive solid mineral and agricultural endowments are adequately harnessed.
In the words of Useni; “The Forum is also aimed at ensuring cooperation and support for the good policies and administration of the six governors of the zone, irrespective of our political, religious and ethnic differences.
“We will support and cooperate fully with the Federal Government for full and complete implementation of infrastructure and development projects situated in the zone and the involvement of the people of the zone in the national affairs of the country.
“We will promote, defend and strengthen North Central unity and the interest of its people in the context of one indivisible Nigeria and to contribute to the safeguarding of her territorial integrity.
“Consequently, every zone now has a common socio-political platform where they meet to discuss their strength and weakness with the view to propounding and promoting progress and development of the zone,” he said.