From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar has insisted that only mutual respect devoid of sentiment remains the solution to the current security challenges facing the country.
He argued that only peaceful roundtable dialogue can ensure sustainable peaceful coexistence and security in Nigeria.
He stated this yesterday at Maizube Farms at the outskirt of Minna during the opening ceremony of a two-day roundtable to address issues of National Concern, where he said that “there is anger in the land and voices drowning in the country”.
The elder statesman explained that the roundtable was necessitated to search for solutions to the current situation the country is going through, adding that it is a trial period hence the need to carefully select senior citizens, stakeholders and security chiefs for a robust discussions.
He promised to make available to governments both at federal and state levels, as well as relevant agencies of government, the collective resolution on the identified problems so as to ensure peace in Nigeria.
Abdulsalam emphasized that the roundtable is neither a forum for constitutional review nor a mini national conference but to discuss on the way forward to the benefit of Nigeria, just as he said the security challenges confronting the country calls for concern.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the event, Ibrahim Gambari, warned that those thinking that division or separation is the way out were wrong, saying that Nigerians should reflect on what binds them rather than what divides them as a nation.
Gambari said that the situation in Nigeria demands action to reflect on building a common ground, assuring that the meeting will come up with specific recommendations to be followed with careful analysis with time line for building foundation for a lasting peace as proposed by the founding fathers.
He declared that military cannot proffer solution to conflicts, especially political conflicts, but can only provide enabling environment for dialogue which is the only option to achieve peace in the society.
The Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, in his remarks, disclosed that the country is facing numerous challenges hence the need for a roundtable dialogue as a collective responsibility of all to enhance peace.
Represented by the Niger state Secretary to State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, Bello explained that the state government has been proactive in its responsibility by collaborating with relevant bodies to maintain peace in the state.
He applauded the foresight of Abdulsalam Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS) for the roundtable discussion, saying it will foster unity and prevent conflicts in the country.
The Director of the Institute, Diamond Lebele Chukwu, while speaking at the event, said that the roundtable meeting was aimed at sharing ideas for a lasting solution to the insecurity in the country.