Nigeria Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has warned that insecurity and its manifestations pose a dangerous threat to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible entity.
In his speech at a town hall on national security held in Kaduna, North-West Nigeria o Thursday, Mohammed called on Nigerians to be united against insecurity.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed also disclosed that banditry, the Boko Haram insurgency and general insecurity in the country are responsible for some Nigerian groups agitating for secession.
The Minister believes that finding a way out of the situation in the country requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities and leveraging on all collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.
‘’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 are now triggering rising calls for secession as well as politicisation of ethnic and religious differences’’.
‘’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 myriads 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.
We have no doubt that with the seriousness of the issues involved, the expected contributions of a wide range of stakeholders and the quality of our panellists, this town hall meeting will go a long way in proffering solutions to what has now become an existential crisis,” Lai Mohammed explained.
In the lead presentation, Professor Ibrahim Jibrin queried the irresponsible political and leadership misbehaviour of the ruling class.
Professor Jibrin said the best antidote for a good society is equity, respect for human right, justice, rule of law and inclusiveness in the society.
The political scientist believes that re-jigging the constitution will help a great deal in achieving peace and stability. He also called for restructuring and true federalism as the way forward.
Meanwhile, another panellist, Professor Saka Nura gave a deep insight into the farmer-herder clash by dissecting the role of agriculture in the past in de-escalating such and also how government can revamp such policies to have lasting peace between farmers and herders.
Saka said the huge investment in livestock and agriculture will guarantee peace and also add economic value to the land.
Managing Director of First Bank PlC, Mrs Ibikun Awosika challenged the political class to rethink their strategy of getting power. She asserted that grabbing power by all means necessary is unhealthy for society and democracy in particular.
In the question and answer session, Bishop Josiah Fearon called for respect for each other’s religion.
The town hall meeting – with the theme “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria” is the 18th edition.
The Ministry of Information and Culture launched the Town Hall Meeting series in Lagos on April 25th 2016 to provide a platform for the federal government to regularly give an account of its stewardship to the people. The Town Hall is also aimed at getting feedback and input from the people and, overall, enhancing citizens’ participation in governance.