Islamic Clerics, Yoruba leaders, other tribes and some residents in the Southwest have come together to ask Nigerians to lend their supports to the anit- corruption of the Buhari administration.
They believe the fight against corruption would further unite the country beyond religious and ethnic sentiments.
The group added that no religious or ethnic group must be seen taking sides with any accused persons nor attempt to protect them but rather they must support efforts by anti corruption agencies of the government to clean up Nigeria.
Reiterating that the roles of religion in nation building can not be over emphasised, speakers at the conference posited that religious leaders must re-strategise and commit to selflessness and godliness to restore integrity.
The forum also advocated an overwhelming support for all anti corruption apparatus of government in their bid to restore sanity and abolish corruption in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The group also condemned the violence in parts of the northeast, urging the government to speed up efforts to achieve more success in the fight against terrorism.
On Saturday, a village in Borno State, Dalori was attacked, with at least 85 persons killed and over 60 injured.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack that bears the mark of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The Borno State government on Wednesday disclosed its decision to change its information dissemination strategy, particularly in matters that concern the on-going rescue mission to save the school girls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the Special Assistant to the Borno Governor on Media, Isa Gusau, stressed that it had become imperative for the government and those concerned to focus on rescuing the girls and limit the information given to the public, as the insurgents may find such information useful.
Conflicting figures as to the number of girls abducted and those rescued had been released by the government and the school management. However, Gusau blamed this on the confusion which ensued from the unexpected attack.
“What actually happened that day was that there were 129 science students that were supposed to remain in the hostel” but the dormitory master only took record of 129 students assuming they were the only ones in the hostel. However, there were others who weren’t supposed to be in the hostel, but were there too.
Following the attack and the commencement of the search and rescue mission by a combined group of soldiers, civilian volunteers and parents of the abducted students, the Borno State government had released daily updates on the number of girls who had escaped.
Gusau explained that the updates would no longer be the same. “When you begin to give some this information, you might compromise the safety of these girls,” he said, noting that the information would be released to the parents of the girls.
Meanwhile the military has been charged with handling the information released to the public.
On the issue of conflicting figures, Gusau said a committee has been set up, comprising of the Commission for Education, Director of Statistics at the Ministry of the Education, 2 parents and one student, reconcile figures and to set the records straight.
He however argued that the focus should not be on the figures, although it is important, but on the rescue mission.
There may be hope that not all 234 of the girls reported missing, as 20 parents had reported that their children had run away during the attack and had gone home.
Although the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, had instructed that all schools be closed, Gusau explained the reason why the school in Chibok had been open, adding that it had not been identified as a potential target.
Gusau further disclosed that the parents of the students and the community leaders had insisted that the school remain open as they were confident the girls would be safe. “Nobody anticipated that attack in that place because there was never an incident of attack on any school in that axis,” he said.
Gusau also disclosed that the governor had visited the parents of the girls in Chibok on Monday, but that the information released to them would not be made public.
He further stressed that publishing the names of the missing girls would be counter-productive as such information would make them targets for kidnappers, who would want to demand ransom or cause the insurgents to have more information on the identified and parentage of the girls.
“We appreciate the fact that the public have a right to know… but much as they have a right to know, the right of these ladies to stay alive overrides the right of the public to know. So we call on members of the public to please understand that we are in a very complex situation. The safety of these ladies should be paramount.”
He disclosed that efforts are being made to rescue all the girls as the President had deployed more troops, military men had been deployed to the community to reinforce the rescue mission.
“So much is being done, but so much cannot be said,” he said.
Gusau countered claims that the military men did not have the zeal to perform their duties, maintaining that although there may be some military men who were not doing their jobs well, but it would be unfair to condemn the entire army. He stated that “we cannot afford a blame game” as it would cause them to lose focus on the rescue mission.
On the efforts made by the Muslim Clerics to curb the insurgents as well as allegations that they help in recruiting men for the Boko Haram, Gusau said some had been killed as a result of their sermons against the terrorists, while others continue to speak against them, risking their lives.
Gusau advocated better security for traditional rulers and clerics, to encourage them in advising the people against the insurgents as over 50 well groomed Islamic clerics had been killed for preaching against Boko Haram.
Islamic leaders have faulted calls by presidential candidate of the congress for progressive change, major general Muhammadu Buhari backing the federal government’s amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect.
The leaders at the 2nd northern region Jalsa Tarbiyah in Abuja, expressed surprise that the presidential candidate who understands the tenets of Islam would even think about supporting a diabolical group bent on destroying lives.
Delivering a keynote address, Dr Mashud Fashola however emphasized that terrorism would continue unless the federal government stops recklessly spending the nation’s resources and impoverishing the people.