The forum also expressed concern on the increasing rise violence in the country, saying 57 percent of conflicts in the country occur in the Northern region.
It also complained that the proliferation of different interest groups in the North has done more harm than good to the region. Speaking while presenting its report to the Annual General Assembly of the forum yesterday in Kaduna, the outgoing Secretary General, retired Col. Musa Shehu, said since the return to democratic rule in 1999, there has been a dramatic increase in violence in Nigeria, ranging from religious conflicts, Fulani nomads versus farmers, indigene versus settlers and recently, insurgents versus the military.
He said 57 percent of all conflicts in the country occur in northern Nigerian as the region is witnessing an escalation of insurgency in the North-east and urged the federal government to urgently address the issue by involving socio-cultural organizations, traditional authorities and other stake holders.
“The effort of the forum towards promoting peace and unity neither stops with providing consultancy for the federal government nor with participation in committees commissioned by government. As part of our mandate, we initiated certain programmes which were aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence in our communities.
“We hosted a major conference on peace and unity on the 5th and 6th of December 2011 and the conference was aimed at discussing and analyzing security and other problems bedevilling the North and the possible strategies that could be adopted to tackle them,” he said.
Speaking on the proliferation of different interest groups in the region, he said, “Such groups could be detrimental to the goal of achieving unity and coordination in the North and in a way to salvage the situation, the ACF, Northern Elders Forum and other associations in the region must come together to appoint a joint committee to protect the interest of the region.”
“Even so, it is not possible to say that the matter is resolved. As we speak, there is no telling how many groups are operating in the North or how many more are getting ready to spring up. Clearly, this is an issue that will engage our attention in the short term as failure to resolve it will constitute a heavy drag on our effort as a people,” he said.