Laleye Dipo in Minna
Former Head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has joined the league of Nigerians that have called on the federal government to enter into dialogue with all aggrieved groups in the country particularly the Niger Delta Avengers and the pro Biafra groups.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar also said that the talks between the federal government and representatives of the radical Muslim group Boko- haram should be reopened.
General Abdulsalami made the call in Minna Saturday when he received in the speaker of the Niger state house of assembly and other legislators that called to congratulate him on his 74th birthday.
The former Nigerian military ruler turned 74 on Monday June 13.
According to him ‘lasting peace can return to the country with round table discussions and dialogue by government with various insurgency groups including the Niger Delta Avengers militants.’
He regretted that Nigerians were suffering unduly because of the actions of various insurgents including the Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers and Biafra agitators’.
“All we need to do is to sit down on a round table and discuss this problem. Even if you fight a war and win you must come and sit down with the people you conquered’
‘‘ All the insecurity we are going through now is uncalled for. What is Boko Haram? Nobody knows what they want, the Niger Delta Avengers are now out, what are they avenging? “, he asked.
General Abdulsalami told the Niger Delta militants to understand that they were destroying their land while also contributing to serious drop, the lowest in decades, in oil production.
The former Head of state warned that that constant blow up of oil pipe lines by the Niger Delta avengers would ultimately affect the 13 per cent derivation to the region due to the sharp decline in oil revenue.
He added that the activities of the militants ‘will also possibly lead to drop in the funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) while much harm will be done to land and aquatic lives of the region’.
“I hope that they will come back to their senses and let us try to give this country peace. We do not deserve what we are going through. We need peace and I am begging everybody in the spirit of Ramadan, whatever religion everybody is following, please let us give peace a chance”.
In his remarks the Speaker of the Niger state House of Assembly Alhaji Ahmed Marafa expressed gratitude to God for using the former head of state to restore democracy to the country.
Marafa described General Abubakar ‘as an illustrious son of the state whose counsel has guided the Assembly in legislating for good governance in the interest of the people’