From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Leaders from various socio-cultural, religious, ethnic, political and other groups have raised the alarm over worsening insecurity, warning that if action is not taken urgently, the situation might snowball into full anarchy that might consume the country.
This came, yesterday, at the inclusive security dialogue retreat in Abuja, meant to reawaken the consciousness of government and other stakeholders on the need to take actions to end insecurity.
Present at the meeting was the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar; elder statesman, Edwin Clark; Muslim Cleric, Sheik Gumi; representatives from the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Middle Belt Forum; CAN and several other groups.
In his remarks, Obasanjo, said: “One thing we have in common is Nigeria. My Nigerianess is bigger and very important. Security in Nigeria is local, and it must be addressed locally. Military action alone won’t end insurgency. I expect that legislation should be able to tackle the problem before the next election.”
Sultan of Sokoto, in his remarks, said: “We believe we have a problem and the solution is close. Let’s be very honest and sincere as we discussed. Peace is very important because without peace, there’s limit to what we can do including religious activities. We must stop shifting blames on this insecurity or something else. Parties should stop accusing one another. We must stop politicising insecurity in Nigeria. Undoubtedly, there is hunger in the land, and a hungry man is an angry man. Let’s use religion to serve humanity and better the society.”
Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clerk, accused the elite of promoting insecurity and suggested continuous and sincere dialogue to give all parts of the country a sense of belonging.
He accused current leaders of deviating from the dreams of the founding fathers, which, unarguably, gave birth to agitations and other forms of injustice.
He advised political leaders to always insist on promoting equity, fairness and justice, with open mind.
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said poor leadership is the bane of Nigeria’s security.He said Boko Haram has grown 10 times than it was before, and in the cause of interrogation, they confirmed that most of the weapons they have came from the military.
“Every part of the country has a problem. We don’t have a problem with each other. We have problem with the leadership. If you cannot tell a failed leadership it has failed, then we have a problem. We don’t have regional problems but leadership issues. If we leave here now, we are just interested about 2023 and we don’t know if the country can survive then. We don’t need approval of President Buhari to talk about the Constitution or other issues that concern our unity.
“The Nigeria elites have never been called upon. The North is ready to sit with everyone and discuss Nigeria because we love this country and we must make it work.”
CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, who was represented by Bishop John Praise said Nigeria would continue to experience insecurity until equity and justice are served to all persons.
He was concerned that bandits and other criminals were having a field day unleashing terror on the people without sincere intervention from the government and its forces.
“How can we have bandits in the forest but not arrested. What makes you a leader if people are being killed but you can’t do anything? Equity, fairness and justice is needed because where there is no justice, there won’t be peace.”
President of Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, in his opening remarks, said there was a wide gulf of trust deficit amongst the many divides that make up our dear country.
“Very few are trusted around dialogue tables; so-called influencers have betrayed the young, that now they thumb their noses at the heritage we once held so dear, and they stand against traditional institutions that give us the unique identities we pride ourselves by. We must take deliberate steps to close the gap between the aggrieved and the leaders by identifying trusted, objective and reliable moderators who must coordinate the discordant tunes into a harmonious melody that will bring about