Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Tuesday February 16, 2021 said that the country stood the risk of disintegration, if the violence currently spreading in the system is allowed to fester.
The former Head of State, whose warning came against the backdrop of recent ethnic clashes, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping across the country, urged Nigerians to remain calm.
Addressing journalists in his uphill residence in Minna, Niger State, Abubakar said the recent spread of violence across the country, if not carefully handled, might lead Nigeria to a point of no return.
He called on all Nigerians, especially the Governors, to take full responsibility in managing the divergent voices and frustrations within their states that could fuel disunity, anarchy and disintegration.
Abubakar, who is the chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC) said, “As if the continued insurgency in the country, the kidnap and armed robbery are not cup full, the recent happenings in some parts of the country, of ethnic attacks, is unfortunate and is adding to the problems.
“In the last two weeks or so, tension has been growing in the country and embers of disunity, anarchy and disintegration are spreading fast and if care is not taken, this might lead us to a point of no return.
“We at the National Peace Committee, wish to add our voice to the voices of millions of Nigerians calling for calm in these difficult times because these times demand that we all join hands to resolve our challenges so as to keep our country united. We do not have the luxury of trading blames.
“Thousands of our people are homeless and have refugees across the length and breadth of their own country.
“We know the difficulties that our farmers have faced in the last few years and that the harvests will be a serious challenge this year.
‘’Therefore, let us all rally in these hard times, make the required sacrifices and remain vigilant, standing by one another.’’
Abubakar also appealed to Governors to sheathe their swords, saying, “they should tone down their rhetoric and take full responsibility for managing the divergent voices and frustrations within their states.
“It is true that we are all in a states of fear and collective anxiety. However, the last thing we need is for the enemy to sense a lack of unity on our part or a break in our ranks.’’
His admonition to the Governors came on the heels of the verbal exchange between Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, over the propriety of herdsmen bearing AK47 rifles.
While the Bauchi governor justified the action of the herders, claiming they were not being protected by the government, Akeredolu described his statement as provocative.
Abubakar also urged the new service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police to rise to the urgent demands of the moment.
“You need to rally your troops and design the best strategy to end this tragic war that has continued to consume and destroy the foundations of our dear country.
“We hope that based on your field experiences in this war, you can draw up a well co-ordinated programme to ensure that all our resources are deployed to achieve the much needed victory in this avoidable war,” he charged the security chiefs.
The former head of state also called on traditional institutions, religious leaders as well as development associations, including Non Governmental Organisations, NGOs, to work towards mobilizing Nigerians on the need to live in peace with one another.
Recall that ethnic tensions, particularly, in the South West, had recently gripped the country, especially in Oyo, Ondo and Ogun states, following clashes between the Yoruba and Fulani herders on one hand, and the Hausas on the other hand.
These are exclusive of the spate of terrorist attacks, banditry, kidnapping, cattle-rustling and armed robbery in the different parts of the country.