Monday, 30 July 2012

State of insecurity: Nigeria must not break up- OBJ, IBB

Former Presidents
Olusegun Obasanjo and
Ibrahim Babangida have
made a joint appeal for
peace in the land, saying that
the daily loss of innocent
lives in the country was an
unbearable burden that
could inevitably shatter the
fabrics of the nation’s
The appeal contained in a
joint statement issued by the
two former leaders,
yesterday, noted with regret
what they described as the
increasing cynicism clouding
the thinking of many
Nigerians who are hounded
by fear, frustration and the
failure of government across
all levels to protect them.
The statement from the two
former leaders followed a
meeting between the two in
Abuja last week. The two
former leaders who were
locked in an unprecedented
public spat nearly a year ago,
in the statement, said they
were prepared to join hands
with other patriots towards
resolving the crisis.
Former Presidents Ibrahim
Babangida and Olusegun
While noting ongoing moves
by governments across all
levels to shore up security,
the former leaders appealed
for a strategic engagement
by the authorities in the 774
local governments in the
country with community
stakeholders as a way
towards identifying and
resolving the issues at the
centre of the present crises
in the country.
The former leaders also
appealed to religious leaders
to use the opportunity
offered by the Ramadan
month of fasting to engage
those with grievances and
bring them to the dialogue
The statement by the duo
reads thus:
“Unfolding events in our
dear motherland, Nigeria,
over the last few years are
threatening to unravel the
nearly a century-old labour of
our founding fathers and
subsequent generations in
building a strong, united,
peaceful nation that can
accommodate and cater for
the needs and aspirations of
our diverse communities.
Internecine crises are raging
across the land unabated
with damaging
consequences on the social,
political and economic life of
the nation. And in the
process untold hardships are
being visited on all citizens in
one form or another on a
daily basis. The loss of
innocent lives being
experienced by the day
across the nation is simply
unbearable. Currently, the
nation is gripped by a
regime of fear and
uncertainty that virtually all
citizens have difficulties
going about their normal day
to day lives without great
anxiety and trepidation. This
cannot be allowed to
“A deeply worrying trend
that is emerging from this
terrible situation is that a
pervasive cynicism is
beginning to set in, so much
so that millions of true
Nigerian patriots are starting
to question the platform
upon which the unity of this
country rests. This is simply
untenable. The people of this
country must not allow
whatever sense of
frustration, fear and despair
we are experiencing now to
supersede our hopes for a
collective destiny which lies
in our continued existence
as a nation. For us, and we
believe for millions of other
Nigerians, the continued
unity of this nation is not
only priceless but non-
“While we are very much
aware of the efforts various
governments in the country
are making to confront the
escalating security challenges
across the country, we
believe that it is time that
these efforts are scaled up to
be more involving and
inclusive. In this regard,
whatever robust security
measures are put in place to
contain the situation, as is
normal in such
circumstances, they must be
complemented with an
equally intensive process of
community involvement. We,
therefore, urge all
governments in the country,
starting with all the 774 local
councils to comprehensively
engage their communities at
the various levels including
elders, youth organisations,
trade unions and
associations, women bodies,
the clergy and other
community stakeholders. We
also call on the Federal and
states governments not only
to encourage these
grassroots engagements for
peace and beneficial
coexistence but should work
out the framework to sustain
the engagement. In all these
efforts it is important to
emphasise that our diversity
is a cause for celebration not
a cause for lamentations.
“As the Holy Month of
Ramadan commences,
Nigerians wherever they are
and whatever religion they
profess are accorded a great
opportunity to turn the tide
against insecurity, violence
and hatred. Religious leaders,
in particular, have an even
greater challenge to use the
immense virtues of this holy
period to inculcate among
the millions of citizens the
spirit of mutual respect,
humility and forgiveness.
Ample opportunities are
therefore at hand to bring all
armed belligerents to table
for meaningful dialogue with
the authorities for our future
and that of our children and
“Finally, we need to reiterate
that no meaningful
development can ever occur
in an atmosphere of violence
and hatred. History has
shown that any society that
is built on the structures of
violence and intolerance
cannot prosper. We need to
appreciate that, God in His
infinite mercy, has blessed
our country with abundant
resources and talents, but
we need peace and harmony
to harness them not just for
our own well being but also
that of our children and
grandchildren. We owe this
future generations of
Nigerians this much.
“On our part, we are ready to
do whatever is possible to
promote the quest for peace
and harmony, a ready to join
hands with all patriots to
sustain and further enhance
the unity and progress of
this country. Thank you.”

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