Amidst swirling rumors that elderstateman, Ali Shettima Monguno has been released by kidnappers, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Nigeria’s influential political and cultural association, has begged Boko Haram, suspected to be behind today’s kidnapping of Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, to set him free.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Anthony Sani, the Forum described the abduction as unjustifiable and an act of wickedness.
“The forum is very sad because given the age of the elder statesman and his services to not only Borno state but the whole country, he is not expected to be subjected to such hardship and humiliation by any group,be it sectarian or men of the underworld,” the statement said.
ACF expressed the view that if Boko Haram is truly responsible for the kidnapping, with the objective of pressing for the release of their members detained by the authorities, it has adopted the wrong approach. Instead, it said, the sect should use the mechanism of dialogue put in place by the government and not resort to causing the old man untold hardship.
“The kidnappers should therefore heed public appeals and release Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno forthwith in the interest of humanity and peace dearly needed for meaningful socio economic and political development of not only Borno state but the whole country,” ACF advised.
It called on the people of Borno State to keep calm and not take the law into their own hands as the federal and state governments try to bring to an end the culture of violence not only in Borno and Yobe states but throughout Nigeria.
Alhaji Munguno was seized this afternoon as he completed Friday worship. His abduction confirms a warning last week by the Joint Task Force in Borno State that Boko Haram has established a kidnapping outfit. By kidnapping a widely-known Muslim leader, however, the sect now further calls into question its own claim that it is fighting on behalf of Islam, and divides Nigeria’s Muslim population even more.
Meanwhile one the sons of the former Nigerian minister of petroleum resources told SaharaReporters tonight that the family has not seen the elderstateman but has heard rumors of his release, the spokesperson for the JTF in Maiduguri, Lt. Col Musa Sagir also said the JTF could not confirm the information about his release.