Jonathan, ex-leaders, govs resolve to end terrorism before Dec
Members of the Council of State rose from an emergency meeting on Thursday with a resolution to support President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the current spate of terrorism in parts of the country ends before December.
They also resolved to put an end to all discriminatory practices in states including the registration and “deportation” of non-indigenes as well as different school fees for indigenes and non-indigenes in states-owned institutions among others.
The council presided over by Jonathan has the Vice President, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, all former Heads of State, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria and all state governors as members.
All former Heads of State, except former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) attended the emergency meeting. President of the Senate, David Mark, was also absent.
Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Sullivan Chime (Enugu) and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.
Aliyu said it was the resolution of council members that all hands must be on the deck to end insurgency in parts of the country.
He said they would work hard to ensure that the predictions by some foreigners that Nigeria would cease to exist as a united body beyond 2015 remained a wishful thinking.
The governor added that the council observed that leaders, particularly politicians remained the only threats to the country and democracy.
He said a collective decision was taken to stop the inflammatory statements always attributed to politicians.
He said, “More fundamental of the issues is the bucks stopping with the leadership. In fact, it came to the fore that if there is any threat to either the state or democracy probably the threat is coming from politicians and from leaders of the country.
“We must understand the boundaries of leadership and also the responsibilities that are involved. Leadership is not about beauty contest.
“In leadership, you must take difficult decisions and really go about implementing them.
“So, all the things came to the fore at the meeting and subsequently, each of us made it a deliberate resolution to all be bi-partisan or non-partisan to support the President to make sure that we get rid of this insurgency and indeed suggesting that before December.”
The governor said there was nothing religious or Islamic about the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
He said the important thing was for adherents of religions to respect the rights of adherents of other religions aside from theirs.
Akpabio said the council frowned at the registration of Nigerians in parts of the country and directed that the exercise be stopped forthwith.
He disclosed further that the council set up a six-member committee saddled with the responsibility of further identifying other discriminatory practices across the country.
The committee which has two months to submit its report, according to him, has governors of Niger, Sokoto, Enugu, Gombe, Akwa Ibom and Ondo States as members.
He said with the submission of the report, the council would then decide if the National Assembly would be approached to ensure that changes are made.
He said the ex-leaders proffered solutions to the security challenges in the country while council members commended security agencies.
He said, “Council viewed the report seriously that some citizens were being deported; deportatiom should be from one country to the other but where you have a Nigerian who is being returned to his state of origin to other states, then you know there is a problem.
“We felt that that was capable of disrupting the unity of the country, making Nigerians to become apprehensive and unsafe.
“Also, council frowned at the idea of even registering Nigerians in various parts of the country and felt this must be brought to an end immediately.
“And so we looked at all these issues and the role every leader should play from the local government level to the federal level. The role each one of us should play to ensure that we solidify the unity of this country.
“We also looked at these discriminatory practices across board from all parts of the country: North, South, West and the East and we felt all those issues must be brought to front burner, solutions proffer to ensure that Nigerians are united, live freely and do their businesses without hinderance.”
Chime on his part said he saw commitment to save the country by both past and present leaders who attended the meeting.
He said the willingness to remain one Nigeria will lead to the abolition of disclosure of states of origin.
Rather, he said people would only be asked to disclose where they reside.
He said those of them who were around knew that was how the civil war started.
He said, “Those of us who were around will remember very well that that was how the civil war started, we saw the danger, we said there is really need for every body to be sensitised on this. It looks very innocent now to say well, I have security concerns, I can register any body who is not from here.
“But you don’t think that you have some people on the other side, what will you feel if they have the same concerns and decide to register everybody who is not from there?
“That is not the way the framers of the constitution envisaged that the constitution should be operated.
“That is why this meeting was held and I am very happy that there was a lot of commitment, the governors who are the main operators, who are the leaders at that level are all committed that this issue is resolved. There a lot of commitment and support across party lines by those who attended.”