The chairman of Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has lamented growing tension in Nigeria.
He spoke on Saturday at a security summit in Minna, organised by the institute, saying that there was anger in the land.
The summit came on the heels of worsening issues of killings, kidnappings and banditry, occasioned by activities of Boko Haram, suspected herdsmen, bandits, and other criminal elements across the country.
Though many stakeholder across the country attended the summit, the leadership of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, boycotted the roundtable.
The southern and Middle Belt leaders had ahead of the summit vowed not to attend the meeting, because Abdulsalami supposedly insulted them by extending same invitation to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
However speaking at the inauguration of the two-day roundtable, the former head of state, said it was the centre’s contribution to the search of how to resolve the many problems currently confronting the country, particularly issues and matters around co-existence and security.
He said, “As indicated in my invitation letter, 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.”
Further stating that participants at the meeting were Nigerians who share responsibility for the state of the nation, Abdulsalami said, “if any forum can help in the accurate identification of the problems and solutions for a united and peaceful Nigeria, let us be counted as one of such fora.”
While he said it was unfortunate that some of the invitees were unable to attend, he appreciated those who did not attend, but sent in their contributions, adding that “since peace-building is a continuous process, other fora will provide opportunities for continuous dialogue.”
He said the outcome of the meeting will be made available to the federal and state governments as well as other institutions for consideration and action.
Speaking, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who was the chairman of the event, argued that disintegration of the country would not solve its problems. He said the problems would only be resolved through dialogue.
“There can be no genuine military solution to conflicts except dialogue. We have to realise the vision of our founding fathers which is a prosperous and peaceful Nigeria,” he said.
Dignitaries at the occasion included: Chairman Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, Alfred Diete Spiff; Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Bahago; Emir of Kazaure, Alhaji Najib Adamu; Gen. Alani Akirinnade (rtd), Gen. I.B.M. Haruna (rtd), former External Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi; former Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ango Abdullahi; former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu; former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih and a ministerial nominee, Ambassador Zubairu Dada.
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