Daily Trust (Abuja)

13 January 2013

Nigeria: Abdulsalami Urges FG to Dialogue With Boko Haram

A former Head of State, General. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Saturday called on the government to engage in dialogue with the Boko Haram sect to end the insecurity in Northern Nigeria. Abubakar made the call at the graduation ceremony at Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies, Minna.

"Today, the cycle of blood-letting, the brutal termination of lives of innocent and defenseless Nigerians should not be tolerated," he said. Abubakar said dialogue between the Federal Government and Boko Haram was the only way to tackle the current security challenges in the North.

"It is a collective responsibility of all to dispassionately understand the root causes of the problems and urgently search for lasting solutions.

"The path of dialogue is the most appropriate strategy in addressing security challenges; we must, therefore, cooperate and address our problems."

The government at all levels, the people within the crisis zones, security personnel, sympathisers of the aggrieved parties and the aggrieved must, for the sake of our future and that of our children, dialogue.

"This approach will yield huge dividends and this will eventually lead to the restoration of peace, security and development in our nation," he said.

Abubakar said the institution, which was affiliated to University of Jos, would promote African conflict transformation, development methodologies and equip students with the intellectual and practical skills to prevent conflict.

"It will remain focused on its mission and mandate in the coming years to play its vital role that will continuously be a platform for transforming conflicts for human security and sustainable development," he said.

The former head of state, who is the chairman, Governing Council of the institution, congratulated the graduands and urged them to strive and excel in ensuring transparency and accountability toward sustainable peace and development.

Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue in his speech called for dialogue, between Boko Haram and the Federal Government to resolve the security challenges.

He said the crisis was grinding economic activities in the region to a halt. He said political leaders and opinion leaders in the North should work together to address the crisis to avert future catastrophe.

He described it as a serious crisis that required the support of all northerners to tackle. About N60 million was realised at the launch of the endowment fund of the institute with Niger and Rivers donating N20 million each. Imo and Benue e donated N10 million each. Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers, Suswan and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo were honoured with the fellowship of the institute.

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