The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for fair hearing for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, in the allegation of abuse of office leveled against him by the Senate.
After its National Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, said “the forum remains on the side of justice for all and therefore supports the probe of the SGF on the corruption allegations levelled against him”, saying such will give him fair hearing.
The forum also demanded constant security surveillance and intelligence gathering around troubled areas of Kaduna, Zamfara and Taraba states where lives and property have been lost, to forestall future occurrences.
Mr Ibrahim said: “It is not in the character of the ACF to take sides on allegations of corruption against any government official or private individuals without proper investigation. The rule of natural justice demands that before you pronounce any body guilty of an allegation, you must give him a fair hearing.
“The anti-corruption war cannot be applied selectively, all are subject to thorough investigation. Those found culpable are punished in accordance with the law.
“We, therefore, support the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate allegations of corruption against top government officials of his administration. This clearly demonstrates his total commitment to doing what is right irrespective of who is involved. It is our hope that the Attorney General of the Federation will avail the officials concerned a fair hearing in the interest of justice.
“ACF is equally calling on Nigerians to support President Buhari in this very difficult anti corruption war. The challenges are enormous which requires collective duty to put all hands on deck to save our dear country from insecurity and corruption”.
On the killings in Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara and Benue states, Mr Ibrahim the ACF expressed concerns, saying it is worried about the recurrent communal clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some Northern States like Zamfara, Taraba, Benue and Kaduna.
“This seemingly intractable security challenge in the north which have continued to hinder our socio-economic development is disturbing and unacceptable.
“The recent communal clashes in some communities in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State and that of Jama’a and Kauru Local Government Areas in Southern part of Kaduna State where innocent lives were killed and property destroyed, are worrisome and condemnable.
“So, in consideration of these and other insecurity situations in the region, ACF in collaboration with Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation is proposing to host a Northern Security Summit in February next year that will address the numerous issues of cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal clashes etc. The Summit is aimed at complementing the efforts of Government to finding lasting solutions to the problems.
“We commend the efforts of the affected state governments in their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of peaceful co-existence through dialogue and peace building processes among the communities in their States.
“We urge the Security Agencies to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering to forestall future occurrences,” he suggested.
The ACF spokesman, however, expressed the groups condolences and sympathy to the families that lost their loved ones during the incidents.
The Senate had called for Mr Lawal, over his involvement in a 223 million Naira contract, meant for the humanitarian crisis management in the northeast Nigeria.
In an interim report by the Senate’s ad-hoc committee investigating the mounting humanitarian crisis in the northeast, the committee stated that the Presidential Initiative on the Northeast awarded contracts to top government officials, friends and family members.
The investigation of the committee further showed that a 223 million Naira contract was awarded to Rholavision Engineering Limited, which is anchored by the SGF to carry out information and communication technology services.