Some elders have raised an alarm over the growing insecurity in the country, saying unless urgent and drastic measures are adopted to overcome the situation, Nigeria was sitting on a time bomb.
This is as they warned against non-adherence to the country’s federal character principles in appointments into key positions, noting that the drafters of the Constitution did not make mistakes in making such provision.
In a statement on Wednesday, the elders operating under the umbrella of Forum of Nigeria Elders also expressed worry over neglect of the South-East Geopolitical Zone in appointments, especially in the country’s security sector.
To this end, they tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to review his policy to correct the alleged anomaly.
The elders also admonished the federal government to immediately convene a national dialogue to discuss the fault lines, leading the country to its present predicaments.
The group tasked authorities to immediately begin engagement of youths in peace advocacy meetings where issues promoting peaceful and harmonious living devoid of religious, tribal or regional inclinations were made the focal points.
The statement was signed by Dr Balarabe Usman Wudil, for the North West, Engr Zana Goni for North East. Prof Ambrose Terngu for North Central, Prof. Finebone Tamuno, for the South-South, Dr Ayo Bankole, for South West and Prof. Chika Madumere for the South East, respectively.
“We are a group of elders from the six geopolitical zones of the country that have worked at different high levels of our chosen careers. We are worried about the current state of security in the country. Regrettably, the development which had come like a child’s play some few years ago has assumed the current dimension. As a country, we are currently sitting on a time bomb and we wish to sound an alarm that if nothing urgent is done to arrest this ugly situation, we will be consumed,” the Forum of Nigeria Elders said in the statement.
The group said,”We are alarmed by the dangerous wave of violence blowing round the country, this must not be allowed to fester on given that it does no one any good.”
Noting that the strategies adopted so far by the government in tackling insecurity in the country seemed to have little or no positive results, the Forum of Nigeria Elders tasked the federal administration which it said, was vested with the security of citizens, to adopt what is referred to as working strategies in handling the protracted insecurity.
The group also called on the government to constantly review security architecture, saying continuous restructuring of the security architecture was needed to get needed results.
“We are concerned about blatant disregard to the federal character principles in appointments into key positions in the country. We task President Muhammadu Buhari to reflect on this and put things in their right places as the drafters of our constitution did not make any mistake in making the provision.
“Appointments into key positions should be evenly spread devoid of religious, ethnic and regional considerations. This will help promote national unity which our founding fathers worked tirelessly for.
“Appointments, particularly into key positions in the security sector must be on merit besides regional consideration to give every section of the country a sense of belonging. The insecurity building up as a result of the cry for injustice and the quest for self-rule can be greatly tackled through this, hence we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to review his governing strategies to get needed and expected results.
“The federal government under the leadership of our dear president, friend and brother, President Muhammadu Buhari, must address the issues of injustice in appointments into key sectors especially people of the South East of the country and address the issues of security in all parts of the country,” it said.
“We make bold to say that there is no time in the history of Nigeria that our country is so divided along religious and ethnic lines like now. This, we must as a country try to arrest now. The onus rests on President Buhari and we advise that he should place his name on the sands of time by bequeathing the legacy of enthroning a good Nigeria suitable for all to live in, “it advised.
The group warned against the repeat of mistakes of the past which it noted, led the country to what it called an “avoidable civil war”.
“In the past, we had civil war caused mostly by some avoidable issues. These issues are still thriving in our national life with the government and its handlers giving deaf ears to them. We must do everything to avoid a repeat of the past mistakes,” the group reiterated.
The group advised that: “The president should delegate his appointees to move to their various zones of the country to work with the elders of the regions and youths to deescalate the looming conflict.”
“Nigeria is sitting on a time bomb and something needs to be done very fast.
“We appeal to our dear president, Muhammadu Buhari to begin to ignore rhetorics and empty assurances being given to him by his security chiefs and move to actions that will save our country from the brink of total collapse,” the statement advised.