Governors, Abdulsalami: Ethnic profiling, clashes can trigger civil war

The 36 governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, have warned that Nigeria may be heading towards another civil war, if the constant ethnic clashes across the country are not stopped forthwith.

The 36 governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, have warned that Nigeria may be heading towards another civil war, if the constant ethnic clashes across the country are not stopped forthwith.

While the governors spoke after their emergency in Abuja, Abubakar spoke on Arise TV’s “Morning Show”.

The governors called for a comprehensive review of security challenges across the country to restore peace in the land.

Rising from their meeting, which ended around 12.30 a.m on Thursday, the governors, through their Chairman and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, said: “Governors are irrevocably committed to the protection of lives and property in our states. We are full of sympathy for those who have lost lives and properties. The Governors’ Forum has gone ahead to provide some financial support to victims of the conflicts experienced in Oyo and Ogun states where our delegation visited over the last week.

Nigerian governors also are very clear that crime and criminality should be comprehensively prosecuted wherever they may occur without ethnic, religious or any other colouration.

“Governors are totally opposed to ethnic profiling of crime, knowing what has transpired in other parts of the world, whether we are talking of the way youths were profiles in Germany, leading to the world war; or we talking of the way Tutsis were profiled, leading to the genocide experienced in Rwanda.

“We do not believe that crimes are associated with a particular ethnic group. And to that extent, we unreservedly condemn any attempt to profile any ethnic group on account of a particular crime.

“Governors are also totally opposed to the proliferation of fake news, and the abuse of social media. Many of us have seen those fake videos that have almost led to reprisals in other parts of the country and we want to explore both our mainstream media organisations as well as individuals to apply restraint in the way and manner issues relating to security of lives and property is reported…”

The governor examined some others issues that affect the country.

Abubakar, who is currently the Chairman of National Peace Committee, described as unfortunate the heightened insecurity across the country.

He said there is need for government at all levels to resume sensitisation of their people on peaceful coexistence.

“Government should try to see how to stop proliferation of small arms. It is unfortunate governors have found themselves in difficult situations. It is their responsibility to govern, regardless of who is living in their states. It is sad that ethnic profiling is happening.

“You can see the herders are being chased in some parts of the southern states and cattle being killed. Certainly, this heightened tension in the country. You can see some people migrating from one part of the country to their states of origin where they feel safer. God forbid!”

“This is taking us back to the 1960s where we had problem and it resulted into the civil war. People who are old enough know what happened. That is why the Peace Committee and myself are calling for caution so that we do not go back to that road.”

THE NATION

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.