The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has called on all leaders and stakeholders in the North to intervene in the ongoing misunderstanding between eminent business leaders in the region.
Citing the current conflict between billionaires, Aliko Dangote and Abdul Samad Rabiu (owner of BUA Company) over cement prices, the NEF in a statement signed by its convener, Prof Ango Abdullahi, said the elders needed to drive the spirit of restraint and maturity, among all warring business parties.
The statement reads in part; “The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is deeply concerned about the ongoing misunderstanding and widening rift between the eminent political and business leaders of Northern Nigeria, which is reflecting negatively on the region’s economic and political stability.
“The current conflicts between Aliko Dangote and Abdul Samad Rabiu over cement prices, as well as the conflict of interest between Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State and Defense Minister Bello Mohammed Matawalle, are exacerbating the challenges faced by the Northern region in terms of security and the economy.
“In light of this, NEF calls on the leaders involved in the conflicts to exercise restraint in the interest of the region. We also call on all leaders and stakeholders in the North to intervene by facilitating a reconciliation meeting among all the parties.
“It is essential specifically, for the two leaders of Zamfara, Lawal and Matawalle to exercise restraint and maturity, and foster a spirit of unity and collaboration against the daunting insecurity in the state.
“Alhaji Dangote and Abdul Samad are both eminent business leaders and respected elders of the North who should be in the forefront of setting exemplary conducts for the benefit of the entire region.
“By fostering greater understanding and avoiding unnecessary conflicts, leaders can create a stable environment conducive to peace-building, progress, and development which will contribute to the overall stability and prosperity of the Northern region.
“As concerned elders of the North, and in recognition of the reality that the misunderstanding by these critical segments of the Northern leadership is undeniably not in the best tradition of the Northern culture and values, the NEF has resolved to engage the parties on all sides individually and collectively for final resolution of the various misunderstandings.
“Meanwhile, we urge the conflicting parties to reconsider their ongoing conflicts and refocus on the common goal of securing and improving the lives of the people of the North by restraining themselves and their proxies or against from going further with the media crossfire.”
“NEF deems it imperative for leaders to prioritize unity and collaboration over personal conflicts. The challenges faced by the North require a united front, and it is only through collective action that we can overcome them. Let us set aside our differences and work towards a stable and prosperous future for the people of Zamfara State and the entire Northern region.
“The Northern Elders Forum will continue to monitor the development as it unfolds, hoping that the leaders will reclaim their statesmanship by exercising greater restraint for the interest of the region,” the statement added.