Former Head of State, retired Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalami on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to dialogue with militant groups in the Niger Delta.
Abdulsalami gave the advice when he received members of the Niger State House of Assembly who visited him on his 74th birthday in Minna. “All we need to do is to sit down on a round table and discuss these problems.
“Even if you fight a war and win, you must sit down with the people you conquered. The insecurity we are going through now is uncalled for. “For the Boko Haram, nobody knows what they want. The Avengers are now out, what are they avenging?,’’ he asked.
Abdulsalami decried a situation where the people are going through hardship because of the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, Avengers and Biafra agitators. The former head of state said there was need for the avengers to understand that they were destroying their land by blowing up of oil pipes, leading to oil spillage. He said the action of the avengers had brought crude oil production to the lowest level in decades. Abdulsalami advised the avengers against vandalism, saying it would negatively affect the 13 per cent derivation accruing to the region due to sharp decline in oil revenue.
“I hope they will come back to their senses and let us try to give this country peace. We do not deserve what we are going through.
“We need peace and I am begging everybody in the spirit of Ramadan. Whatever religion anybody is following, please let us give peace a chance,’’ he said Alhaji Ahmed Marafa, Speaker of the assembly, expressed gratitude to God for using the former head of state to restore democracy to Nigeria.
Marafa described Abdulsalami as an illustrious son of the state whose counsel had guided the assembly in legislating for good governance in the interest of the people. He said they came to wish the former head of state well as he attained 74 years of age on Monday.