A former Head of State, and National Peace Committee chairman, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has called on state governors to watch their utterance as making specific assertions may have the capacity to incite communal clashes in the country.
Abdulsalami stated this during his appearance on Arise TV’s program, ‘The Morning Show’ on Thursday.
He lamented that Nigerians ought to have learnt from past mistakes of inter-tribal wars and called on members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum governors to take full responsibility for securing lives and properties and embrace dialogue.
Abadulsalami reacted to the opinion and counter-opinion between the Governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo states. He said: “The governors have found themselves in a difficult situation. It is their responsibility to guard their states regardless of who and who is in their states.
”Ethnic disharmony is rearing itself all over the place. You could see where the herders are being chased from some of the Southern states’ parts, and their cattle are being killed. Indeed, this heightened tension in the country.
“Some people are also migrating from one part of the country back to their states where they feel safer. God forbid this is taking us back to 1960, where we had a problem that resulted in the civil war. That is why the peace committee and I are calling for caution so that we do not go back to that road.”
The chairman further stated that to ease the tension in the country, “They must make sure there are law and order in their states and they should watch their utterances because what they say, people will take it as an order.
“They as governors should be aware of what they say; they should not say anything that will be misread that they are fighting people who are not from their state origin.
“Having said that, there must be a dialogue between the people they feel are committing crimes in their areas. Certainly, if some people commit crimes, they should be arrested and prosecuted. It is their responsibility to save the lives and properties of all Nigerians living in their states.”
The former head of state also noted that the claims that the 1999 constitution was mostly responsible for Nigeria’s problems were false. He said the document was primarily framed after the 1979 form, which most Nigerians were comfortable with.
He noted that before the 1999 constitution was created, eminent jurist and then chairman of the constitution review committee, Justice Nikki Tobi, took it to all the country’s zones to seek Nigerians’ input.
He said: ”If people are saying the 1999 constitution is not acceptable to them, what has the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly done to review it since 1999? It’s only a slight difference between the 1979 constitution and that of 1999. How, then, can it be the cause of all the problems in the country?”