Former Head of State and Chairman, National Peace Committee, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, has cautioned state governors and other leaders to avoid utterance that could incite another civil war.
Abdulsalami gave the admonition on Thursday morning when he appeared on a program on Arise TV.
He said: “It is so unfortunate that we have refused to learn from our past mistakes in what happened in 1960s. To live together we all have a role to play. Therefore, we all need to give peace a chance,” he stated.
While responding to a question on the challenge of insecurity across the country, he said: “It is unfortunate that Governors have found themselves in such a difficult situation. It is their responsibility to govern the state regardless of who is living in their state.
“Governors must make sure there is law and order in their state. They must watch their utterances and what they say because people will take it as an order. Governors should not say things that would be misread. It is their responsibility to save lives.”
He said the farmer/herders clashes is a problem all over the world, especially in African, stressing that we must adopt the right strategies to solve it.
“I therefore urged the government at all levels to study the strategies adopted and implement it just like what the Niger State government is trying to implement.
“It is unfortunate that recently, herders have started arming themselves causing problems we are going through.
“Suddenly ethnic disharmony is all over the place. You could see where herders are chased out of the southern state and cattle are killed.
“This could heighten tension in the country, You could see that people are migrating back to their state where they feel safer. God forbid this would take us back into the 1960s, where we had problems and which resulted in civil war.”
He urged Nigerians to learn from past mistakes, adding there is need to live in peace and harmony.
Abdulsalami called on NGOs and organisations to play their part in ensuring peace across the nation by sensitising citizens.
On creation of state police, he said: “State police is an issue that we must sit down and talk reasonably. So when we find that it is necessary to have it, then so be it. So that state governors can have control over it as Chief security officers of their states.
“But this must not be done in haste, we must look at the pros and cons. People are afraid they (governors) will use the state police to intimidate their political opponents. We must also look at our finances especially with balancing security and other issues in the state.”
He said: “Governors must work in unity, if they’ve differences, they have a forum they can resolve it. When governors are at each others’ throat, then we (masses) are at the mercy of whatever anybody can do.
“It is necessary for them to sit down and analyse the situation. They should stop the media war and work in harmony.”