By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has deliberately shunned commenting on the political tension building up in the country, instead, has taken a humanitarian angle, calling for support for victims of the Maiduguri Monday Market fire incident.
The position of ACF was contained in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made available to our correspondent yesterday.
“Nigerians woke up early yesterday to shocking images on national news channels showing that a massive inferno had engulfed the biggest market in the heart of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“Later images showed that the entire facility had been reduced to rubble and smouldering ruins. With that, the investment and possibly the only source of livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people have been destroyed,” ACF said.
The statement said that for many of the victims of the disaster, their loses are inestimable, and their grief will be hard to mitigate.
“However, as people of faith, most of them are aware that anything that happened to a human being had been ordained by Almighty Allah. And He is All Knowing. May Allah give them the strength of Imaan, trust in the benevolence of God’s will, to bear this catastrophe.
“The AREWA CONSULTATIVE FORUM extends its deepest sympathies to the government and people of Borno State, particularly the people who are affected by the calamity,” it said..
ACF said that it took the particular notice and commends the prompt response of the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum to the calamity, and his immediate reach-out to President Muhammadu Buhari for immediate assistance to the victim.
“We believe that by the words of sympathy and concerns from the President, the Federal Government too would extend some relief and support to the victims.
“ACF is calling on other authorities and groups, as well as individuals around the country and the world, to come forward and provide similar assistance in any way they can. That is the only way the victims can get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
“The ACF would like to observe the regular occurrences, the impacts, and indeed, the implications of such types of accidents in parts of the North, and for that matter in various parts of the country especially during the Harmattan period, this should be a matter of serious concern to all. We further observe that while calamities can not be disassociated with acts of God, nonetheless, design faults on these markets and noncompliance with town planning and municipal commercial laws also aggravate the unfortunate situations when they occur.
“Many of the fire outbreaks in our markets that completely destroy huge infrastructure, goods and sometimes lives clearly indicate that building regulations and environmental impact assessments are not being adhered to. Governments must look into these, and any Municipal Authorities found to be negligent in carrying out their statutory duties should be held to account.
“ACF prays to the Almighty God to fasten the alleviation the sufferings of the unfortunate Maiduguri Monday Market fire incident and quickly restore to them what they have lost, even more!” The statement concluded.