The experts and stakeholders particularly expressed their concern over the protracted security crisis facing the North East region at a meeting in Gombe.
The meeting, which had the theme: “Resilient Peace for Sustainable Development and Social Well-being in the North East”, is organised by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps (NSCDC) in collaboration with the UNDP.
The two-day dialogue attracted service chiefs, paramilitary agencies, governors, traditional rulers and religious leaders, among others.
Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said that although insurgency started in the country over five years ago, the recent increased in attacks by insurgent groups had shown how mindless they were.
“I thought that after the civil war Nigeria will no longer experience what it is experiencing especially in the north east.
“Our current situation is not enough reason for us to panic as I am confident that the country will overcome this problem,” he said.
He said that the recent Ebola virus and insurgent attacks led to huge loss of lives and property, urging relevant agencies not to treat them with kid glove.
According to the former head of state, huge losses have been incurred due to insurgency stretching the nation’s resources to the limit.
He said that it had also created distrust between government and opposition parties in the country, calling on all groups to work together for peace to reign.
“If we must deal with terror we must come to the realisation that we have a common responsibility and this means cooperation and mutual understanding.
“There must be reinvigoration of trust and confidence building among communities, leaders and people in the north east,” he urged.
Gowon also enjoined the insurgents to show love of man and country by laying down their arms and embracing peace and dialogue.
Mr Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior, said the task of nation building was a collective effort and called on all leaders especially in the north east to embrace dialogue.
He said recent attacks by insurgents showed that they had an upper hand, hence trust among leaders must be built and concrete plan made to address security challenges. [eap_ad_2] “It is our responsibility to protect and maintain the peace our founding fathers suffered to build. It is only we who can save ourselves.
“We are destroying with our hands the future of our children; therefore, we need to come to a resolution on how to bring back peace to the country,” he appealed.
Gov. Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe state said the number of internally displaced persons in the state had risen to 30,000 due to activities of insurgents.
He said that the terror caused by this group in churches, mosque, health facilities, local communities, deaths of Nigerians and foreigners was more than any insurgent group had ever wrecked on the country.
He said that insecurity could only be overcome in the country if security agencies worked together, while religious leaders encourage their followers and traditional leaders monitor activities of their wards.
“Other ways we can curb insurgency is by promoting equity, fairness, inclusiveness and justice, while sponsors of insurgent groups should be arrested and prosecuted,’’ said Dankwambo.
He emphasised the need to deploy more personnel to states in the region, calling on government, private sector and organisations to contribute to the economic development of the affected states.
Earlier, Dr Ade Abolurin, the Commandant-General of NSCDC, urged all local government chairmen and village heads to replicate such dialogue in their respective communities.
He said this would help communities and all citizens embrace peace and see the diversity in religion and tribe as a way to bring unity among all.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting had constituted a committee to deliberate on ways to address the security challenges in the North East.
The committee, which is made up of individuals from civil society groups, broadcast, media organisations and other stakeholders, is expected to submit a communique on Aug. 13. (NAN)[eap_ad_3]