By: Our Reporter,
At a joint meeting of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Traditional rulers, at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna, the governors took their time to draw the attention of Nigerians to the history of the country and cautioned against the on-going agitation for the restructuring of the country and a Biafran state.
The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum’s and Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who spoke at the meeting listed the current issues threatening the unity of the nation as the agitation for restructuring, creation of a Biafran State and the Fulani herdsmen’s attacks on communities. He urged prompt action to tackle these issues.
Shettima, who was represented by the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari at the two-day meetin, said: “Agreed that being citizens of a democratic country, Nigerians are entitled to exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and association, and the clamour for the restructuring of the country falls within the purview of these freedoms. But the exercise of such rights outside the confines of responsibility is not acceptable.
“The resort to shenanigans, hate speech, and sometimes incitement to violence by organisations such as IPOB and MASSOB must be unconditionally condemned as they are inimical to national unity, stability, peaceful coexistence and national security.
“These elements must be encouraged to pursue their agitations within processes enshrined in our constitution and with the full and willing participation of all parts of our nation.”
The governor urged southern leaders to condemn the agitation the way northern leaders condemned the ultimatum given by some northern youths to Igbo residing in the north to leave by October 1.
On the dangers allegedly posed by those agitating for restructuring and a Biafran State, the northern governors drew attention to contemporary history of countries where such tendencies led to destabilization.
“We must constantly be aware of the terrain and times. We have a country that has gone through a civil war, military coups and counter-coups, some of them bloody, prolonged military dictatorships, several false starts as a democracy, insurgency and banditry and a huge youth population whose huge expectations are far from being met. Our peculiar circumstances have made it difficult to deliver and what we need is trust and hope to see us through the difficult times. We shall overcome, but we need all the survival techniques our collective talent can muster.”
On his part, the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, in an address, said: “We commend the resilience of our communities in the North-East which has begun the process of recovery from the ravages of insurgency.
“Security remains a challenge across our states. The frequency and savagery of communal clashes in some of our states, and the prevalence of untoward phenomena such as rural banditry, cattle-rustling and kidnapping need to be tackled. The festering sores left by previous conflicts in which proper closure, accountability for crimes and reconciliation were not effected appear to be accelerating a descent into impunity and a situation in which many elites are too short-sighted to recognise the dangers of embroiling our communities in repeated cycles of violence.”