Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, yesterday expressed fears over the incessant security challenges in parts of Nigeria, saying “there is anger in the land and the voices of reason are drowning very rapidly.”
The warning came at the opening of a two-day roundtable conference on national security organised by the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS) in Minna, Niger State.
Abubakar said the roundtable was convened to bring together Nigerians from diverse backgrounds and competences to help in the accurate diagnosis of the problems facing Nigeria and proffer solutions that will foster a united peaceful country.
He disclosed that some of the problems currently facing Nigeria revolved around issues of widespread insecurity and peaceful co-existence of its various components required urgent actions by the government and other well-meaning Nigerians.
“Nigeria is going through a period of trial amidst growing tension and resentment all over the country. There is anger in the land and the voices of reason are drowning very rapidly. It is clear that the situation requires that we all live up to the expectations of a nation that puts so much value in elders and leaders.
“We are all here as Nigerians who share responsibility for the state of our nation. Therefore, if any forum can help in the accurate identification of the problems and solutions for a united peaceful Nigeria, let us be counted among such fora. The forum should not be a mere paper work, but should take real actions.
A lot is expected from this forum. We must not allow things fall apart,” he said.
According to him, the round table discussion has been designed to draw participants from across the country who represent interests and perspectives as regards to the nature of the security issues and solutions needed to resolve them. He explained that though the round table was not a mini-national conference for review of the Constitution, its outcome will be made available to every tier of government and other national institutions for possible consideration and further action.
Chairman of the round table discussion, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, urged those agitating for outright disintegration of Nigeria as the solution to the current crisis to take a second look at the experiences of other countries.
Gambari, a former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), also said that there is no alternative to dialogue in resolving conflicts, adding that military action can never be the solution to any conflict.
He said that to bring conflicts under control, stakeholders must look for a common ground which can only be achieved through team building and peaceful resolution of the conflicts.
“There can be no genuine military solution to conflicts except dialogue. We have to realise the vision of our founding fathers, which is a prosperous and peaceful Nigeria,” he said.
Also, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger state, who was the special guest, said the challenges confronting the nation are surmountable, but requires sincerity of stakeholders.
Bello, who was represented by Alhaji Ahmed Matane, Secretary to the State Government, lauded the Institute for initiating the roundtable to move the country forward.
The forum attracted eminent personalities such as a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi; leader of Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi; Gen. Alani Akirinnade (rtd); Gen. IBM Haruna (rtd); Ambassador Zubairu Dada, a ministerial nominee; former National Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs. Josephine Anenih and Ambassador Yahaya Kwande.
Others are the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Dr. Kingsley Moghalu; the Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar; Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago; chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, Alfred Diete Spiff; and Alhaji Najib Adamu, Emir of Kazaure.
Also in attendance were the representatives of the Chief of Defence Staff, the National Security Adviser, Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Nda Isaiah, and Prof. Kuta Yahaya, among others.
A communiqué is expected at the end of the two day parley.
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