The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) today decried the protection and privileges enjoyed by high-profile suspected sponsors and financiers of Islamist group Boko Haram.
The group, which represents a cross-section of the northern political elite, also condemned recent killings in Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara states as well as Boko Haram’s attacks in some of the troubled northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
In a communiqué after a meeting in Kaduna, the ACF reviewed the general security situation in Nigeria. While applauding the efforts of the federal government, the security and intelligence agencies in combating the insurgency, the ACF bemoaned the continued attacks and killing of innocent people by unknown gunmen without counter action by the security agencies.
The communiqué alleged that “suspected sponsors and financiers of such atrocities have continued to enjoy Government protection and cover while innocent Nigerians are being killed. This situation is unacceptable as it erodes people’s confidence in [the] Government and its cherished security institutions.”
The ACF also weighed in on the recent scandal surrounding a private jet owned by a Nigerian pastor that was impounded by South African authorities along with $9.3 million in cash that was meant for purchase of weaponry. The ACF’s statement said that the group “examined the alleged $9.3 million scandal, [in] which an aircraft belonging to the [Christian Association of Nigeria] President was used to ferry this huge amount of money in cash out of Nigeria to South Africa for the purpose of purchasing arms and ammunitions on the orders of the Federal Government. This shoddy arms deal contravened established due process procedure of arms and weapons procurement and also a breach of the laws of Nigeria, South Africa and the United Nations.”
The ACF stated that the Nigerian government had taken some steps to contain the insurgency in the northeast, but warned that the procedure for arms procurement “must be followed to avoid illegal arms importation into the country especially now that we are faced with many security challenges of insurgency and unnecessary killing of innocent persons.”
ACF called on the National Assembly to carry out a thorough investigation of the arm purchase scandal, especially the involvement of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the CAN President, an Israeli citizen, and government officials. ACF contended that those implicated in the deal should be punished, no matter their positions, in order to serve as a deterrent to others and protect Nigeria’s integrity.