John Adams, Minna
Former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) has expressed concern over growing tension and resentment in the country occasioned by the security challenges.
General Abdulsalami said the problems, which revolve around issues and matters of peaceful co-existence and security demand urgent actions by governments and well meaning Nigerians.
The former head of state spoke in Minna, yesterday, at the opening of a two-day roundtable discussion organised by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
“This roundtable is the centre’s contribution to the search for solutions to some of the problems we are currently experiencing as a nation, particularly issues and matters around co-existence and security.
“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.”
He emphasised that the round table discussion which had participants drawn from across the country would brainstorm on solutions to the problems being experienced in the country.
“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.”
Chairman and former Nigeria permanent representative to the United Nation, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari cautioned those agitating for outright separation of the country as solution to the current crisis to take a second look at the experiences of other countries that have travelled the same road.
He said there could never be military solution to any conflict, hence the need to embrace dialogue.
“To bring conflicts under control, you must look for a common ground,” he admonished.
He suggested that team building must go hand-in-hand in conflicts resolution, stressing that “this enable you build foundation for conflicts resolution.”
In attendance were: Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullah, PDP national women leader, Josephine Anini, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu, Emir of Bida and Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago, representatives of the chief of defence staff, the national security adviser, among others.
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) had, at the last minute, pulled out of a roundtable cited the invitation of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) as their reason.
The forum, in a letter co-signed by Edwin Clark, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) leader, Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere leader, John Nwodo, leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Pogu Bitrus, leader of the Middle Belt Forum said: “We observed that the roundtable will have in attendance all the national security heads, chief of defence staff and notable Nigerians, underscoring the high level of the dialogue.
“We were comfortable up to that point until we saw the following: Gan Allah Fulani Development Association, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.”