From John Adams, Minna, Sola Ojo, Kaduna, Aidoghie Paulinus, Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), has warned that if nothing is done to address the growing tension, it might lead the country to a point of no return.
General Abdulsalami, who spoke in Minna, yesterday, described as unfortunate, recent happenings in some parts of the country. He said the rising incidents of insurgency, kidnaping, armed banditry and robbery have added to the embers of disunity and anarchy in the country.
While appealing to Nigerian citizens who have borne so much pain and suffering to remain resilient and patient, he regretted that “thousands of our people are homeless and refugees across the length and breathe of their own country” stressing that “these times demand that we all join hands to resolve our challenges so as to keep the country united.”
He said Nigerians were living in fear and anxiety.
“The last thing we need is for the enemies to sense a lack of unity on our part or a break in the rank. Let us all rally together in these hard times make the require sacrifices and remain vigilant, standing by one another. We do not have the luxury of trading blames.”
He appealed to the new Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to rise to the urgent demand of the moment by rallying their troops and designing the best strategy to end the tragic war that has continued to consume and destroy the foundations of the country.
He equally urged traditional rulers to rise to the situation as they have a great role to play towards mobilising Nigerians on the need to live in peace with one another.
Meanwhile, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF), yesterday, expressed worry over rising tension precipitated by the alleged quit notice to pastoralists by the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and the actions that had trailed the development.
It urged the federal Government and the state governors to take urgent steps to save the country from drifting into anarchy.
AYF, in a statement by its president, Ibrahim Gambo Gujungu, tasked the Federal Government to go beyond mere statements to walking the talk to prevent the regions from resorting to self-help.
“After keeping silent for a long time, the Federal Government has, again, resorted to its usual rhetorics of issuing statements that, over time, had not made any impact on the situation of things in the country. Instead, the situation in the country has continued to deteriorate with each region looking within and resulting in self-help as if the centre is no longer there.
“It is due to this reason that the AYF is calling on the Federal Government to immediately act on behalf of Nigerians who voted them into power, to prevent another civil war. Many citizens across the country are agitated given the prevailing situation. This is the time for government to show leadership, work with other stakeholders to bring about hope, peace and unity among Nigerians.
“AYF believes that this can only be achieved if the government makes haste in dealing with the underlining issues of insecurity, poverty, deprivation and endemic unemployment ravaging the people.
“There is a serious need for synergy between the Federal Government and the states to achieve all these and many more. State governors should be told that governments’ inability to clamp down on criminals should not be an avenue to malign a whole ethnic group or even a group of people.
“Criminals should be treated as criminals – arrested, prosecuted and made to face the full wrath of the law – anywhere they commit a crime in Nigeria. This is what the government is expected to do. The new invention of quit notice is not only alien to us but a recipe for anarchy, disaster and even war. This is a road we all, as citizens, must strive not to travel.
“We have at different times aired our views on the need for government to put its house in order and tackle the insecurity in the country headlong.”
Gujungu, however, appreciated that the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has listened to agitations of Nigerians by bringing onboard new service chiefs
UK expresses concern over inter-communal violence
The United Kingdom (UK) also expressed concern over the inter-communal violence in Nigeria.
UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, who expressed the concern on his Twitter handle, @JamesDuddridge, however welcomed President Buhari’s commitment to protect all religious and ethnic groups in the country.
“Recent reports of inter-communal violence in Nigeria are concerning. I welcome President @MBuhari ’s commitment to protect all religious & ethnic groups in the country. The UK urges all communities to work together to address problems peacefully & to avoid division,” Duddridge said.
Pray against another civil war – Iwuanyanwu
Elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has urged Nigerians to pray against the outbreak of another civil war owing to the constant clashes between farmers and herders from the South West and northern parts.
Iwuanyanwu gave the advice when he received a delegation of the presidential support group of Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed led by Marshal Kunoun who paid him a visit in Owerri, yesterday. He advised leaders of both zones to tread with caution.
While recalling the ugly memories of the Nigerian civil war, Iwuanyanwu said: “It is only through caution that the country can survive the present skirmishes between the zones. We pray that nothing like that must happen to the country again; leaders must act with caution in handling present issues of farmers and herders disrupting the peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.”
Iwuanyanwu reaffirmed his commitment to a united Nigeria saying, “it is better to have one Nigeria than a divided country, God has a purpose of bringing us together as one Nation.”
NCPF begins search for security, peace
North Central Peoples’ Forum ( NCPF) has indicated its readiness to organise a security and peace summit that would provide a platform for all stakeholders in the zone to discuss and proffer solutions to security issues that, they said, is gradually eating deep into the survival of the zone and FCT.
NCPF Publicity Secretary, Dikeson Sule, told journalists in Abuja, the Summit would be done in collaboration with traditional rulers, major stakeholders, youths and women in the zone.
He stressed that it has become necessary for the Forum to speak for the zone rather than keeping quite and watch its indigenes being killed and kidnapped on the daily basis.
“We condemn in totality the unending kidnapping and killings in Niger, Benue, kogi, Plateau, Nassarawa and other states across the country. The North Central is the bridge between the the north and south, so we can’t be quite and watch the country been thrown into crisis. We refused the call for war and break up of the country but rather urged Nigerians to join hands in the fight against insecurity.
“We commend the governor’s and security agencies of the zone for their tireless efforts in curbing insecurity but urged them to do more.”
He, therefore, appealed to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, to urgently tighten up the security in Abuja, especially in rural areas where the actual indigenes reside.