By Audrey Lotechukwu
THUR 08 APRIL, 2021-theGBJournal- Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture has proposed a loyalty test to address what he calls the twin issues of insecurity and its concomitant effect on national unity and cohesion.
He wants the building of an “elite consensus” on the security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of Nigeria.
‘’Such elite consensus had worked in the past,’’ he said. ‘’Can we make it work now and proffer solutions in order to stave off the threats to our unity as a nation?
‘’This is why we have decided to bring all critical stakeholders together, under a Town Hall meeting setting, to deliberate on the issues and possibly reach a consensus on the way forward. We expect this Town Hall meeting to develop concrete, implementable resolutions, because a lot of talks and postulations had taken place with little or no requisite outcome.’’
The Minister who delivered the opening remarks at the Town Hall Meeting on National Security in Kaduna today said, ominously, the general state of insecurity, as reflected in incidences of farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping for ransom, are now triggering rising call for secession as well as politicization of ethnic and religious differences.
‘’Bluntly put, the insecurity and its manifestations pose a dangerous threat to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible nation.’’
He had earlier spoken to finding a way out of the security crisis Nigeria have found itself and suggested that the way out requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities and leveraging on all the collective creativity available to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.
‘’We have no doubt that with the seriousness of the issues involved, the expected contributions of a wide range of stakeholders and the quality of our panellists, including the Lead Presenter, Prof. Jubrin Ibrahim, and our Discussants – Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Prof. Chudi Uwazuruike (both of whom will join us virtually), Prof Saka Nuru and Prof (Mrs) Kokunre A. Eghafona – this Town Hall Meeting will go a long way in proffering solutions to what has now become an existential crisis.’’
The Town Hall Meeting is the second to be hosted by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
The Ministry of Information and Culture launched the Town Hall Meeting series in Lagos on April 25th 2016 to provide a platform for the federal government to regularly give account of its stewardship to the people, get a feedback and input from them and, overall, to enhance citizens’ participation in governance. This Town Hall Meeting here today is the 18th edition.
The theme of today’s meeting is “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria.”
Alhaji Mohammed billed it as ‘’yet another in a series of efforts of government, in its expansive consultation with stakeholders, to address the twin issues of insecurity and its concomitant effect on our national unity and cohesion.’’