Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika , retd, has warned that the spate of insecurity and the clamour for self-determination in parts of Nigeria could destabilise the country, if urgent actions were not taken to address the challenges.
The ex-COAS blamed the situation on mutual distrust, intolerance, poor socialisation and deterioration of the value system, insisting that the crises facing the nation posed an existential threat to its unity and corporate existence.
Speaking at the Inter-faith Roundtable on Building a Culture of Peace and Unity in Nigeria, which was organized by the Methodist Church in Abuja weekend, Ihejirika observed that peace and stability could only be achieved when the causes of conflict in society were well-managed.
He said: “The security situation and spate of security challenges in the country should give any reasonable and patriotic Nigerian a sense of worry and concern.
“More worrisome is the occasional clamour for self-determination by a few individuals within some ethnic groups in the country.
“There is no doubt that the current situation is not the best. It poses a serious threat to our unity and corporate existence as a nation.
“As elders, community and religious leaders, we can contribute to the efforts of government by helping to shape the opinion and reasoning of the people, especially our youths, towards peace and unity in the country.
“We must, through our words and actions, preach peace, love compassion and unity.
“Our differences should not be a source of division and distrust, but a source of unity, strength and tolerance to engender national building.
“I wish to call on all patriotic and peace loving Nigerians to raise their voices and show concern in the various communities to support any initiative that could foster peace and stability in our nation.”