Following the recent arrest of over 486 persons suspected to be members of the Boko in southeast Nigeria, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum has warned governors from the region against labeling innocent citizens as terrorists.
According to the group, it is clear that those arrested in Abia had no link with Boko Haram, saying that such action is capable of fuelling enmity between northerners and southerners.
The President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji Yerima Shettima, told The PUNCH that the group was worried that the action could even partition the country.
He said, “This gives us a lot of worry. Are these South-East governors or whoever is at the helm of affairs doing this in the interest of this country or to cause more hatred for our people, so that the country will break up?
“Those who are acting out this script of disintegration are not helping this country, especially at this challenging period.
“We are not in support of Boko Haram or their bomb attacks. We are saying that innocent citizens should not suffer because some evil-minded people come from their area. I can tell you that those who were arrested in Abia are not Boko Haram members.
“We had a case where about 500 people were arrested in Lagos. I intervened and on getting to the force headquarters, we discovered that most of them were innocent and they were released.
“We are not saying security agencies should not do their work, but they should not go about arresting hundreds of people just because they are looking for one or two suspects,” Shettima averred.
Speaking further, the visibly worried Shettima said it was not proper to assume that only northerners were planting bombs in the country, adding that some southerners had been arrested for terrorism.