The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has challenged Bello Matawalle, Governor of Zamfara State, to name those he claimed were behind the kidnap of the 297 students of Government Girls Secondary School in the Jangebe area of the state last Friday.
The demand was made in a statement signed by Audu Ogbeh, the ACF National Chairman and made available to journalists by Emmanuel Yawe, the group’s National Publicity Secretary in Kaduna State, on Tuesday.
While receiving 37 emirs in the state on a sympathy visit on Sunday, Governor Matawalle stated that “many people will be surprised to hear those people behind the abduction of these innocent children…”
Reacting, the ACF has called on the governor to reveal their identities and let Nigerians be shocked according to him.
The pro-Northern socio-political organisation also called on the security agencies to question the governor, noting that if he should be treated as an accomplice to the criminal act of kidnapping if he refuses to reveal the identities of the kidnappers.
The statement read: “The Arewa Consultative Forum ACF is stunned by a statement accredited to the Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawalle.
“The governor is reported in the media to have told 17 Emirs who paid a sympathy visit to him on the kidnap of 317 schoolgirls from Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara that he knew the identity of the kidnappers & if he revealed their identity, Nigerians will be shocked.
“We ask the governor to reveal their identity and let Nigerians be shocked or even the heavens fall.
“We also ask the security agencies to question the governor on the identifies of the criminals he is trying to hide. If he refuses to disclose their identities, he must be treated as an accomplice to the criminal act of kidnapping.”
While the region continues to be battered with unprecedented kidnapping of school children and killing of innocent citizens in the region, the group warned against such unguarded statement by those in authorities who are supposed to help in solving the security lapses in the region.
“The ACF has been embarrassed by the spate of kidnappings especially of school children spreading like wildfire all over the north.
“People in positions of authority that will help us out of this mess like Governor Mutawalle must stop embarrassing the north and country with careless statements on a serious issue like the kidnappings of school children.
“Zamfara State and the north are way behind the rest of the country in educational development. The serial kidnappings of school pupils in the north will only worsen a bad and unacceptable state of education in the North,” the group stated.
The schoolgirls were released in the early hours of Tuesday after three days in captivity.