Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called on northern leaders to collaborate with the federal government to stop the incessant killings across the country.
Saraki speaking when he received a delegation of the Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly (NLSA) yesterday, said security remains essential to national development.
The meeting was held behind closed doors.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Mr. Sanni Onogu, the delegation was led by Mr. Tanko Yakassai.
Saraki commended the group for contributing towards harmony and prosperity in Nigeria.
â€œBy this time, as elders, you ought to be resting, but the patriotism in you brought you out. You said you are political but non-partisan, we are all political and we need to get Nigeria in the right direction.
â€œBeing leaders, this is the time to find lasting solutions. This is not the time for blame. This is the time for us to bring peace and regional dialogue. No society worth its salt will keep quiet in the face of these killings,â€ Saraki said.
He added that to find a solution to the killings, there is a need to determine what exactly is wrong.
â€œI am happy that you are here and we will speak truth about the problems and to conduct ourselves on how to encourage dialogue and ensure that the right thing is done,â€ he said.
Speaking earlier, Yakassai dispelled rumours that the group is out to get a consensus candidate for the North. Rather, it is interested in cooperating with Nigerians who share it vision and mission, he explained.
He added that the group is out to formulate and device methods of preventing and resolving conflicts with the goal of creating and sustaining peaceful coexistence, arrest the drift in the North, restore individual and group confidence, create functional regional unity, among others.
Yakassai highlighted plans by the group to convene a political summit to address problems of armed robbery, kidnapping and herdsmen-farmersâ€™ clashes and to find a way to resolve them.
Members of the delegation included a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former Minister of Defence, Haliru Ballo Mohammed, former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former FCT ministers, Bala Mohammed and Abba Gana, former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Inna Ciroma, Dr. Umar Ardo, Hajia Zainab Maina, Dr. Mamman Shata and Senator Joseph Waku, among others.