The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has urged all Nigerians to rise up in one accord and proffer solutions in order to stave off the threats to Nigeria’s unity and existence as a nation.
This was part of Mohammed’s opening address at the 18th Town Hall meeting on National Security held on Thursday in Kaduna State.
While addressing the audience at the Town Hall meeting with the theme “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria,” the Minister said it was imperative for the citizens to appreciate the efforts of the federal government to address the issues of insecurity and its effect on national unity and cohesion.
“This Town Hall meeting is yet another in a series of efforts of government, in its expansive consultation with stakeholders, to address the twin issues of insecurity and its concomitant effect on our national unity and cohesion,” he said.
Continuing, Mohammed said the Town Hall Meeting series which was birthed by his Ministry in Lagos in April, 2016, was conceptualized “to provide a platform for the federal government to regularly give account of its stewardship to the people, get a feedback and input from them and, overall, to enhance citizens’ participation in governance.”
The Information Minister added that the general state of insecurity, as reflected in incidences of “farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping for ransom, were triggering rising calls for secession as well as politicization of ethnic and religious differences.”
He also acknowledged that the insecurity and its manifestations poses dangerous threats to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible nation.
“How did we get here and what can we do to change the narrative?
“We believe that finding a way out of the situation in which we have found ourselves requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities and leveraging on all our collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.
“Perhaps the correct starting point towards addressing these myriad of problems is the building of an elite consensus on the security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of Nigeria.
“Such elite consensus had worked in the past. Can we make it work now and proffer solutions in order to stave off the threats to our unity as a nation?
“This is why we have decided to bring all critical stakeholders together, under a Town Hall meeting setting, to deliberate on the issues and possibly reach a consensus on the way forward.
“We expect this Town Hall meeting to develop concrete, implementable resolutions, because a lot of talks and postulations had taken place with little or no requisite outcome,” he added.
According to the Minister, panellists who will participate in the meeting are distinguished Nigerians who have a wide knowledge of the topic and will bring their wealth of experience into dealing with it and at the end of the meeting, would have been able to proffer workable solutions.
The lead presenter, according to Mohammed, is Prof Jubrin Ibrahim who would be supported by Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Prof. Chudi Uwazuruike, Prof Saka Nuru and Prof (Mrs) Kokunre A. Eghafona.
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