The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar (II), has challenged Nigerian leaders to dwell more on the issues that bind the country rather than its division.
He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 31st National Quranic Competition in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, where the Senate President, Bukola Saraki also asked Muslims to live in harmony with others.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, also canvassed stronger collaboration between government and traditional institutions to foster national unity.
The monarch made the appeal in Abuja while delivering a lecture to participants of course 25 of the National Defense College.
Furthermore, he appealed to them to promote cultural heritage rather than religion which he says has divided Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, says lack of synergy between his ministry and the armed forces has hampered the efficient management of the country’s military.
Dan-Ali made the observation at a lecture on Defence Management at the National Defence College in Abuja.
The Minister said that it was imperative to introduce a reform and integration of both the military and civil component of the country’s defence system to bring about effectiveness that is consistent with global best practices.
The Minister outlined the benefits of a cordial relationship between the civilian and military components of Nigeria’s defence system.
The present administration prides itself on having a better relationship with the military. However, the Minister believes more needs to be done to bring about the kind of effectiveness required in tackling the country’s security challenges
His sentiment was also shared by the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade.
Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals has given assurances that the Ministry is capable of growing the nation’s economy.
Mr Kayode Fayemi on Friday, addressed officials at the National Defense College in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“The Nigerian security landscape, whether we like it or not, is ravaged partly by poverty which brought about insecurity.
“If you grow a sector that has the capacity to also produce jobs in abundance to the populace, clearly, they will feel safe and secure; the sense of self worth is enhanced, the sense of dignity is improved and they begin to contribute as active citizens through the security landscape of the nation.
“Contributing through the security landscape of the nation is really why we must grow this sector and not continue to depend on oil and gas which has contributed its own to our economy and will continue to do so.
“But I think it’s about time that we got on to diversifying our revenue base and mining is one of those options just as agriculture, information technology and the services sector. That’s the security connection between peace and development,” Fayemi said.
There have been allegations of human rights abuses and torture by security operatives during military operations in the country and President Goodluck Jonathan, believes that a lot of those stories are exaggerated.
The President made this observation at an International Conference on Civil-Military Cooperation for Effective Internal Security Operations held at the National Defence College, Abuja.
The President admitted that there must a cordial relationship between the civilians and security operatives as the war against insurgency rages, hence the need to follow international best practices.
However, he advocated full support for the military owing to the view that “these human rights issues are blown out of proportion.”
President Jonathan recalled his meeting with an ambassador who expressed his country’s interest in helping the fight against terrorism but stated that they were discouraged by reports of human rights abuses by Nigerian soldiers.
Expressing his reservations about the view, he said that the problem would not be solved when countries stay away and base their decisions on such reports.
“If your country means well for us, send some of your troops to come and join my own troops for some time. Let us really know where these problems are coming from. If we don’t discipline our soldiers hold me responsible,” he said.
President Jonathan admitted that there were indeed issues which his administration was dealing with but noted that “the soldiers themselves need to be protected.
“They are also humans, they also have rights.”
National Security Adviser, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, said that the theme (for the conference) was carefully selected in collaboration with the European Union, adding that it is timely, considering the allegation of poor human rights records against the military.
He said; “We have been making concerted efforts to correct the current impression that our security forces are involved in widespread acts of human rights abuse which is also condoned by Government.
“We recently hosted an international conference on the observance of human rights which was attended by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, and other international human rights luminaries.
“That event reinforced our commitment to attaining zero tolerance for human rights abuses from our security forces.”
Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, commended the President for his efforts so far, describing the gathering as a history making event and thanked the EU for their support.
“Let me thank Mr President for his untiring support for the security agencies in the face of the daunting security challenges facing our nation,” he said, thanking also “the security agencies and stakeholders for their efforts towards enhancing mutual cooperation.”
The Head of Political Session of the European Union, Allan Monday, commended the soft approach Nigeria has applied in the fight against insurgency and emphasized the need to improve on it, which is the focus of his organisation.
“The point of war is not just to win but to make a better peace,” he said.