Kaita faults ACF, says North not lazy, parasites

  • Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - By Sun News Publishing
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Former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita has disowned the statement by the Northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), which descriced the people of the North as lazy and parasites.

Kaita made the comment in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, contending that the Northern people worked hard and tirelessly to keep Nigeria moving and that Nigerians were better off when agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy. He added that oil money had left the country worse off.

ACF had stirred up a hornet’s nest when it blamed leaders of the Niger Delta for the increasing wave of militancy in the region. It equally accused the leaders of squandering the money allocated to the region, leaving their people in abject poverty.
The ACF allegation provoked widespread criticisms with the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahideen Asari-Dokubo, in an interview with Daily Sun, describing the Northern people as parasites who lived on the money derived from the crude oil of the Niger Delta.

Apparently taking Asari-Dokubo’s comment as unsavoury, Northern governors through their chairman and Niger State Governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu declared that the North was not a parasite on other regions.
But if anyone thought Muazu’s statement had ended the argument, the ACF countered, saying in a press statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani that the people might truly be lazy as they had been unable to exploit the natural resources under their soil.
Kaita, however, believed the ACF statement was erroneously made, because it did not take into account the role played by the people of the region (North) in sourcing funds for Nigeria through agriculture before the advent of oil.

He stressed that Nigeria was better off when she depended on agricultural produce than when oil became the only money spinner for the nation.
While not condemning the ACF as a body, the former governor, however, disowned its statement that the Northerners were lazy and parasites. “I do not believe that Northerners are lazy and parasites,” he stressed.

Kaita spoke further: “I recall the time when there was no oil in Nigeria, we were living very well. It was a time when we had cotton, groundnuts and soya beans. Then we were living far better than now.
“Then you only had cocoa and nothing more in the South. We took charge and made sure all the regions had a fair share of what we generated as money from agriculture,” he reminisced.

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