The Arewa Consultative Forum has warned the Igbo against maltreating the Hausa living in the South-East in the guise of fighting the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
PUNCH newspaper reports that the ACF said maltreating the Hausa could jeopardise the Igbo’s investments, which it said amounted to over N45tn in just three states of the North.
The ACF Deputy National Secretary, Abubakar Umar, while receiving the South-South/South-East Arewa Coalition who paid a courtesy call on the Forum in Kaduna on Friday, said the warning became necessary in view of the ongoing intimidation of the Hausa in the South-East.
In particular reference to the issuance of Identification cards to the Hausa trading in the South-East by some governments in the region, Umar said that it should be done in good faith.
He, however, expressed fears that if the North should embark on such venture, the investments of the Igbo residence in the region could be endangered.
He said the development could cause crisis that might lead to undeserved division of Nigerians on ethnic or religious considerations.
Cautioning the South-East governments against engaging in what he termed “forceful” registration of the Hausa, the ACF chieftain said, “What is wrong in the exercise was that a segment of a community was the target.”
He insisted that statistics available to the Forum indicated that Igbo’s investments in Kaduna, Kano and Jos alone amounted to N45tn, claiming that with such huge investments in just three states, the South-East governments had no reason to maltreat the Hausa doing businesses in the region.
Umar said, “If the table turns round, it could be disastrous as these investments may suffer, but we are praying for understanding among the entire Nigerians to accept themselves wherever they live to earn legitimate means of livelihood.”
Umar recalled that the Yoruba and Igbo people in Jos lost N480bn and N410bn investments respectively to the 2011 post-election violence while the South-South also lost N970bn in the same crisis.
He added, “We know these statistics; we have these statistics, so we expect the Igbo to treat our kinsmen, our brothers and sisters in the East as kings and queens in view of the fact that the Igbos have more investments in the North than in the East.”