IF the stance and disposition of the Federal Government and governors of the 36 states of the country were anything to go by, peaceful resolution of the prevailing wind of insecurity unleashed by a militant Islamic sect is in the offing.
The Federal Government, yesterday, sent an open invitation to the sect for dialogue with Vice President Namadi Sambo reiterating government's commitment to dialogue with all aggrieved parties in the country. A recent government jaw-jaw with the sect broke down following allegations by the sect that the government leaked proceedings of the meeting to the media.
As a measure of the Federal Government's readiness, the Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed said the government was willing, in collaboration with some traditional rulers, to bring the sect to the negotiation table to halt the wave of violence unleashed on the polity by the group.
Aside the Federal Government, the governors were all for a quick resolution of the rising security crises, saying that the pervading insecurity in Nigeria was a national embarrassment.
Indeed, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, in clear terms, pleaded with the sect to return to the dialogue table, stressing "we are ready for dialogue" just as his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, warned that if nothing serious was urgently done to address the security challenges, the entire North might become inhabitable in the next five years.
Towards addressing the issue, the governors, who, yesterday, could not discuss deductions from the Federation Account and the Immunity Clause because of poor turnout, will hold a security summit next month.
Meanwhile, the police authority in Kano has revealed that about 20 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have been recovered at the Bayero University Kano (BUK) in the last couple of weeks.
The Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris told reporters in Kano that the anti-bomb squad of the command drafted to the institution were compelled by certain exigencies to revert to 'control detonation' in order to avoid fatalities.
"After the bomb attack of BUK on April 29, the Command's Bomb Disposal Unit recovered IED's, and 14 canned IEDs at the University premises. Likewise, another bomb was evacuated from the Faculty of Sociology May 1, while some other three bombs were recovered at various locations in the University May 8 and were detonated.
FG invites sect for fresh talks
Inviting the sect for fresh parley, Vice President Sambo, who made the call at the National Symposium: 'Islam and Peaceful Coexistence in a Contemporary Multi Religious State,' organised by Nasirul-Lahi-Faith Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) in Abuja, said "history has proven that even wars that are fought for decades, at the end, are only concluded by dialogue."
His call came as the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, Alhaji Sa'adi Abubakar III, called on the Federal Government to hold those, who issued public threat to cause chaos responsible and make them face the consequence of their action.
Sambo admitted that the nation was facing an internal security challenge and said the government was capable of addressing the situation.
"It is clear today that the terrorist attacks are clearly against all segments of our society and this is uncalled for. I must seize this opportunity to call on the various militant groups to cease-fire and come forward for dialogue. Government is ready to discuss. History has proven that even wars that were fought for decades were concluded through dialogue," he said
He added that fresh measures had been introduced in the areas of power, agriculture and infrastructure in order to improve the nation's economy and enjoined foreign missions in the country to join the struggle against terrorism.
Urging Muslims and Christians to live in peace and tolerate one another, Sambo noted that Islam was not a violent religion as it had been branded by some people.
"Therefore, I find it very thoughtful of NASFAT to organize a symposium at this time in our national history - a time when negative forces are seeking to hijack our efforts to build a united and prosperous nation. They want to achieve evil ends and portray Islam in a negative and evil light. Islam is a religion of peace; it is a way of life. It cannot promote senseless killings and wanton destruction of property.
"We are moving ahead with the transformation agenda which is aimed at eliminating poverty, reducing unemployment and creating wealth. In order to achieve this, we are investing heavily in the power sector, infrastructure and agricultural development in order to provide favourable environment for investment and its resultant value chain."
Also speaking at the event, the Sultan of Sokoto said those who openly issued threats to cause problem in the country must be made to face the music. He advised religious and community leaders to be mindful of their utterances and desist from actions that are capable of breaching the peace of the society.
His words: "Those who take to the public to issue threat or ultimatum should be held entirely responsible for the consequences of their actions. For the purpose of building the society, leaders on all sides of the religious divide must act responsibly, and shall ultimately be moderate in both their actions and utterances. They must endeavour to resist the urge for exhibitionism; we must as a nation, develop a collective consciousness, where the pain of any member of our society regardless of creed and ethnicity shall be the collective pain of all of us. Peace cannot be fully established without unflinching commitment to equity and justice; we must try to promote these important values. Injustice and inequity invariably lead to corruption which in turn breeds poverty. No society can thrive or prosper when afflicted with this virus."
Also, National President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who was represented at the occasion by Rev. Ladi Thomson, said that there was a global resurgence of extremism in Islam around the world and Nigeria was no exception.
However, he said as one of the leading black nations in the world, Nigeria should not allow herself to be torn apart by a terrorist group under the guise of religion.
He said CAN would ensure that families of victims of the recent bombings are pacified, but government must live up to its responsibility and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Welcoming the participants to the summit, National President of NASFAT, Alh. Sheriff Yusuf said more efforts and ideas were still needed to stop the ongoing killings in the country. He added "the people of Nigeria need to be reassured of the visibility of the security agencies and their technical capacity to identify and contain the perpetrators of violence."
FG ready for dialogue - Defence Minister
Relatedly, the Defence Minister, while receiving the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Roberto Colamine in his office, yesterday, noted that government was committed to the speedy resolution of the crises. Describing the security challenges as temporary, the minister insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan was determined to make a difference in the governance of the country with the transformation agenda.
The minister said that a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the Nigerian and Italian governments, which would enhance Nigerian peace-keeping efforts, was awaiting the ratification of the Federal Executive Council. Earlier, while expressing his courtesy, Colamine called for co-operation and dialogue to resolve the security challenges.
North may not be habitable in the next five years - Borno Gov
Also moving for a speedy dialogue, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, said he was ready to dialogue with the sect for peace to reign in the country.
According to him, it has become imperative and very important to brainstorm with members of the group if the state, the zone and the country must witness development.
He spoke when the national leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by National Organizing Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, paid him a sympathy visit over the incessant attacks by the sect on North-Eastern states.
Dankwambo said: "A lot of lives were lost which are irreplaceable, property were destroyed and many more challenges. I want to thank you on behalf of the good people of Gombe State for the concern and to assure our party, the PDP, that we will do everything possible to shun violence; we would do everything possible to tolerate dialogue and call on whoever is ready to dialogue with us in line with the principle of PDP, to bridge the gap of misunderstanding, so that there would be peace, there will be progress and there will be development."
Indeed, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno warned that if nothing serious was urgently done to address the high rate of insecurity , the entire North would become uninhabitable in the next five years.
"For now, we have to do it in our enlightened self interest because nobody would stay in northern Nigeria, believe me, in the next five years! Believe me, nobody!! None of us here is prepared to.
Insecurity is national embarrassment - Govs
Gathering on the banner of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, at the Rivers State Governor's Lodge, Asokoro, yesterday, the governors described the insecurity situation in the country as a national embarrassment and condemnable.
The governors noted that as part of moves to address the lingering security challenges, an enabling environment would be created for economic development as well as channel more resources towards the empowerment of the citizenry, especially the youths, women and the vulnerable.
Reading the Communiqué at the end of the meeting, Governor of Rivers State and Chairman of the Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, while pleading for understanding among Nigerians for government's efforts at addressing the insecurity situation, disclosed that the governors would in June organize a security summit to brainstorm session on the issue with a bid to nipping it in the bud.
Meanwhile, the governors who were billed to discuss the proposed removal of the immunity clause from the constitution could not do so because less than 30 governors attended the meeting.
Present at the meeting were governors of Rivers, Sokoto, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo, Kaduna, Bayelsa, Cross River; Anambra, Borno; Kogi, Kebbi and the Deputy Governor of Lagos State.
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