The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has hailed the newly-inaugurated South-West Security Network codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’, saying it will promote community policing in the zone.
A Chieftain of the forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, expressed backing for the establishment of the agency.
He added that the inauguration of ‘Amotekun’ should be praised because it will complement the efforts of the Federal Government to protect lives and property of Nigerians.
His words, “I am an advocate of community policing. If I now come out to condemn the inauguration of ‘Amotekun’ in the South-West, that will be counter-productive.
“So, I commend the initiative and I will encourage citizens to cooperate with the system to ensure effective operations, which certainly will bring about secured society.”
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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is a political and cultural association of leaders in Northern Nigeria formed in 2000 which has considerable influence in the political scene. (Arewa means “Northern” in Hausa, the primary language of the region.) The forum is a successor to the Northern People’s Congress, which collapsed after the coup of 1966. The ACF has been associated with the Arewa People’s Congress (APC), a militant group set up to protect the interests of the Hausa-Fulani people in the north. However, the forum is committed to democratic processes within the Federal constitution.
On 8 August 2001 the ACF announced that it was forming three teams to visit the 19 states of the North and Abuja, to be led by All People’s Party (APP) leader Olusola Saraki, ACF Chairman M.D. Yusufu and Lt. Gen Jeremiah Useni. The goal was to meet and discuss common goals with state governors and other leaders. The group met a cool reception in Jos, Plateau State from members of the Middle Belt Forum, who felt that they would be marginalized in a forum dominated by northerners.
In late 2009 the illness of President Umaru Yar’Adua, the first Northern President of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, and the possibility of his vice-president Goodluck Jonathan from the South assuming power became a contentious issue in the forum. On 16 December 2009, the forum issued a communiqué calling for further information on the health of the President, and saying that if a succession issue arose it should be resolved according to the constitution. Later that month, the ACF called on the President, then hospitalized in Saudi Arabia, to formally release a letter that would authorize the Vice President to act in his absence.
In March 2010 the ACF rejected a statement by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who had recommended a break-up of Nigeria along religious lines, saying he was ignorant of the diverse religious make-up of the country. The ACF condemned the recent killings in Plateau State, which had triggered Gaddafi’s remarks, describing them as “senseless”. That month the ACF formed a Political Committee headed by former Minister of State of Power and Steel, Mohammed Ahmed Gusau. The committee’s goal was to set the ACF agenda ahead of the 2011 elections.
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