Four former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Wednesday stayed away from a peace summit organised by a group, the Northern Development Focus Initiative (NDFI) to look into the issues affecting the region.
Also conspicuously absent at the summit were the 19 governors from the region. Speaking at the occasion with the theme: "Strategy for a Constructive Engagement to Save the Collapsing Northern Economy/Socio-Political and Educational Standard: A Multi-Sectoral/Institutional Approach," held at the Kano Government House, General Muhammadu Buhari, called on northern elite to always understand that the problems affecting the youths are also problem, for all of them.
Buhari stressed that the North must stand and face its responsibilities, adding that no nation could survive if it was not secure and its youths deeply illiterate.
It was also argued that Nigerians need to involve in sensitisation programmes that would make sure that the government takes its responsibilities of safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens.
He called on the people at the level of authority to always make sure that public interest is always in the forefront in the discharge of their duties.
In his address, the chairman of the Northern Development Focus Initiative and former military governor of the North-west state, Alhaji Usman Faruk, challenged the Federal Government for neglecting the problems in he North.
He called on the Federal Government to constitute a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the remote causes of insecurity which is affecting the region.
Faruk urged the Federal Government to bring all the culprits to book. He also called on the Federal Government to institute a Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Restoration Commission for the North that would address the problems affecting the northern states.
According to him, about 70 per cent of northern children are illiterate. He charged the Federal Government to initiate a compulsory primary and secondary education in the region, stating that the problem of insecurity started in the North in the 90s.
He charged participants to always tell the truth always. The summit was organised to look into the many problems facing the northern region, especially bordering on insecurity which has bedevilled the region in recent sometimes.
Speaking also, the Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, called on the Federal Government to constitute a commission that would look into the issues of agriculture, drought and education in the northern states.
Kwankwaso commended the organisers for organising the programme that was aimed at looking at the multi-faceted problems of the region.