Elder statesmen from the North, South-East and South-South part of the country yesterday met in Abuja and expressed deep concern over the rising state of insecurity in the South East, following wide spate of protests by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Under the auspices of North, South-South, South-East Elders Dialogue and led by Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule, Chief Godswill Akpabio, Senate minority leader, Chairman of the South-East Elders Council, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, the forum under the theme, ‘’ Agenda for strengthening National Unity and Stability”, said it was worried about the dimension the current agitation of Biafran youths has taken, which has led to avoidable deaths.
The Dialogue also reviewed the increasing cases of violent abduction and kidnapping in the South-South, the aggregation of which constitute threat to national unity and stability. While admitting that the unity of the country is important, the Dialogue in its assessment of the prevailing state of affairs, said, there still exist lingering issues of national question which has fuelled anger, acrimony and animosity in the nation’s body polity.
In the short-term, the Dialgue resolved that the unity of the country shall continue to remain sacrosanct despite the inherent imperfections in the country, and consequently resolved to continually pursue the path of peace and stability.
Dr. Yima Sem, member Northern Elders Forum who read the communiqué at the end of the forum said protests and agitations conducted under guided and peaceful atmosphere, are part of democratic expressions, added that, the youths should conduct themselves within the ambit of the law, to engage government and its agencies with a view to addressing the root causes of the protests.
In an interview with Nigerian Pilot, Senator Akpabio said the Forum is non political and out to find solutions to terrorism and secession bid by the youths of the south east.
“We are out to provide solutions to the emerging trend of insecurity in the southeast as well as seek ways of reaching aggrieved people to ensure national unity. It’s a meeting of experienced people who love Nigeria.’’
Also speaking with our correspondent, Maitama Sule said: “Nigeria’s population and landmass put us in good state. We need uninterrupted peace to explore our resources and development our economy.
“I keep asking myself since the end of the civil war, have we enjoyed peace in the country? Was Nigeria like this before? Before independence, we had political leaders who worked to gain independence for us. We had great leaders who went to serve, but not to be served. Azikiwe made his mark. He mobilized people with his fearlessness. Other leaders like Awo did their best. Our present political leaders have not done enough.’’
The Dialogue also set up a six-man committee to engage the Supreme Council of Elders of the Indigenous People of the South-East and the protesting youths, with a view to addressing their grievances and recommending solutions to the Dialogue group.


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