From Fred Itua, Abuja
Political, religious and traditional leaders from the six North Central States, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said on Tuesday that they are opposed to any plans by any ethnic group to break away from Nigeria.
The leaders in the North Central People’s Forum (NCPF), addressing reporters in Abuja, said as bridge builders they must do everything possible to keep the country one and keep the region safe.
Speaking on behalf of the leaders, the Director-General of the Forum, Sule Dikeson, said that they are tired of watching helplessly their people being killed by alleged foreign agents.
‘We should be the peacebuilders and those who should be the bridge. We are at the centre of Nigeria. This country must remain United. If there’s a crisis, the Middlebelt will suffer more. We must promote peace within our zone. Our leaders can’t watch and see our people killed,’ Dikeson said.
‘Look at what happened in Benue State. We feel coming out with a peace summit for the zone is something our people can accommodate. Our zone should also produce the next president of this country. If we are given the opportunity to rule this country, North Central will unite this country.
‘This is why we feel that we must come out and provide security. During the security summit, leaders of the zone will speak and tell us what the issues are and how we can do it. We don’t believe in secession. We don’t believe in the disunity of this country. We remain committed to the unity of this country.’
Speaking on the planned security summit, Dikeson said prominent leaders from the region, including former heads of state, governors and National Assembly leaders, will proffer solutions.
‘Former governors and leaders from the region will be in attendance. Former military generals and prominent persons will come. These former leaders are working on this summit and they’ll find a solution to the problems of Nigeria. Those who are attacking our people are foreigners who have been given the opportunity to come in and kill our people. We need to find a way to stop these people.
‘The conference will not be a talk shop. We are a non-partisan body. We are concerned about the security and welfare of our people. We are reaching out to the people that matter ahead of 2023. The geopolitical zone will work together and ensure that whoever is qualified is given the opportunity.’