EMINENT Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan and his predecessor Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had a four-day meeting on how to tame insecurity in the country.
The discussion, held at the Unity Hall of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State, was opened by Police Affairs Minister, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, who represented the President.
Speaking on the theme: “Complex Insurgencies in Nigeria”, President Jonathan identified terrorism as the most potent threat to the country’s unity, which, according to him, was not only destroying human resources but crippling the economy.
He said: “The Federal Government has directed a comprehensive blueprint on how to combat terrorism as part of the agenda of the administration.
“Government has been providing logistic support for security and intelligence gathering and has not reneged on such efforts because it is the desire of this administration to sustain the unity and indivisibility of this country.”
In a welcome remark, Prof Tijani Muhammed Barde, the Director-General of the institute, said: “Nigeria has the capacity to tackle its internal insurgencies, which was why eminent people and experts from across the country were assembled to discuss the issue.
“It is our culture at the institute to co-ordinate discussion on topical issues that concern the nation. This is what NIPPS has been doing since its creation as a Think Tank of the nation and I have no doubt that from here the solution we have been looking for will emerge.”
Chairman of the forum, former President Obasanjo said: “The meeting is mainly to discuss peace that is obviously lacking in the country”.
Represented by Gen. Joshua Dongoyaro (rtd), Obasanjo said: “We are here to discuss a very important subject that touches on the survival of this country. We are seeking peace, because without peace, our democracy will become useless.”
He said: “We need peace at all cost as a nation, we need peace in all the six geo-political zones of this country. And I am strongly convinced that that solution we need shall be formulated by the personalities and experts assembled for that purpose.”
Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang, represented by his deputy, Ambassador Ignatius Longjan, expressed the government’s readiness to support any peace move in the state or anywhere in the country.
Jang said: “Not much has been done to stem the loss of lives and properties in the country, which is why as a government; the state appreciates the initiative of this platform to deliberate on this national issue”
Calling on religious leaders to talk to their followers, Jang urged prominent Nigerians to rise up to the current security challenges.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Muazu Aliyu, praised the institute for initiating the meeting.