Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the apex political group in Northern Nigeria, has called on the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, to immediately return to the negotiating table with Nigerian Federal Government.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting chaired by the duo of General Jeremiah T. Useni (ret.) and Mr. Aliko Mohammed, the ACF urged Boko Haram back to the dialogue table.
The communiqué reads:
Arewa Consultative Forum held its Annual General Assembly on 21st March, 2012, in the conference hall along Sokoto Road, Kaduna. Though the event was intended to be low-key, it was well attended by members of Board of Trustees, members of National Executive Council and leaderships of the state chapters.
The Assembly, chaired by the Chairman Board of Trustees in the person of Lt. General J.T. Useni, received and considered reports on the activities of the Forum for the year under review. After robust deliberations, especially on the high level of insecurity across the nation and the North in particular, arising from mutual suspicions among constituent parts of the country, it was resolved that the following statements be issued:
The General Assembly reviewed the effects of the “Arewa Conference on Peace and Unity” of last December…and concluded that there is a lot to be done by stakeholders. Consequently, [ACF studied] the reports and recommendations which will enable ACF [to] come up with mechanism for implementations of the resolutions by those with executive authority to do so.
The meeting considered the current efforts at constructive engagement between the Federal Government and the Boko Haram aimed at bringing lasting solutions to the menace caused by activities of the sect. The forum also recognized the patriotic courage of those who made the assignation between the parties possible and the ensuing altercations leading to [Boko Haram’s] unsavory withdrawals from the talks.
Consequently, the [ACF] meeting called on all the parties involved in the dialogue to note that difficult tasks like the current one are not unexpected and that great men are defined by great challenges because they often pursue causes higher than themselves…
Against the foregoing, and in view of the overriding need across the nation for peace and security which are essential for any meaningful socio-economic and political development, the General Assembly appealed to all the parties concerned to please reconsider their withdrawal from the talks and resume the dialogues with all sense of seriousness and honor needed to make the desired results come to pass.
This is because no sacrifice can be too much for peace and national interest. And in the course of the discourse towards attaining sustainable peace and national security, the parties must not lose sight of the truism that over the history of nations and long lives of individuals, there is time to stay the course, time for compromises and there is time to let go for the larger interest and collective good.