From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) has charged Nigerians not to embark on ethnic and religious bigotry in issues concerning population census saying that we must not go to war on census.
Babangida made the disclosure at his hilltop residence yesterday in Minna, while responding to journalists’ questions after a delegation from National Population Commission, led by the Federal Commissioner representing Niger state, Barrister Aliyu Datti paid him an advocacy visit.
The former military president stated that over the years, population census has been misunderstood based on religion and political lines; “The Christians wanted to say they are more and the Muslims wanted to say they are more”, he said.
According to IBB, since ethnic and religion was the controversial issue, it should be removed, so that the nation’s census could just be a routine exercise that no one would be harassed for.
The former Nigeria leader also said that Nigerians must live above ethnic and religious sentiment and not to go to war on issues that related to census that should be just a routine exercise to know our population growth.
“Census should just be viewed as routine exercise to determine the population of Nigeria and not an exercise for those who are fanatical about religion or tribe; it should be made routine not something to go to war about”, he stated.
On the declaration by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, that the military knows where the Chibok girls were camped and would not use force, IBB said “what he said is the right thing; it is only natural that the military does not give away information about their operations; it is part of their training”
He noted that the step taken by the Chief of Defence Staff was good, headed that Nigerians should accept what he said that the military was doing something about the rescue of the abducted school girls.
Earlier, the Federal Commissioner of NPC said that they were visiting the former military president to as usual seek for his counseling and benefit from his wisdom.
On the call by Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu calling on northern leaders to join them to end the insurgence in three months, IBB said, “We will continue to provide such advice or assistance whatever the case may be because we don’t have any other country; this is our country we can’t betray it”.