By Taye Obateru, Jos
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has called for a collective effort towards tackling the menace of terrorism, poverty and unemployment in the country saying they are not peculiar to any section or religion.
He spoke yesterday during a visit to the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba just as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stressed the need for a government backed – civilian militia action to fight Boko Haram Islamist group. The Sultan urged Nigerians not to see the challenges facing the nation as that of any section or religion.
The Sultan, who was in Plateau State to attend the meeting of the Alumni Association of the National Institute, Kuru, said traditional rulers as custodians of the customs and traditions of the people had a lot to do in fashioning solutions to the country’s problems.
”All of us as Nigerian citizens have common problems as Christians or Muslims, whether it is extremism, terrorism, poverty, unemployment, children dropping out of school and poor infrastructure at every level and these are the problems all of us must come together to solve. We must continue to close ranks for the sake of our people,” Abubakar stated.
”No doubt, we will be able to solve these common problems if we are united as a people. We can’t overcome these challenges if we are divided hence our unity is not negotiable”, he said.
The Gbong Gwom in welcoming the Sultan agreed that the problems confronting the country could not be left to those in government alone to resolve as they require the effort of every Nigerian.
Atiku, in a statement, said, yesterday, that there was the urgent need for a government-backed civilian militia action if the activities of members of Boko Haram must be brought to a halt.
The former VP made a strong call for the use of local militia as the way to tackle the insurgency, saying the time has come where all hands must be on deck, rather than waste energy on trade of blame. “We are all guilty of expending endless energy on handwringing and the trading of blame, none of which is able to save lives or change the status quo,” he said.
Atiku continued: “Boko Haram continues to leave a trail of blood and tears in its wake. On Tuesday February 25, in the early hours of Tuesday February 25, barely six months after a similar attack, a band of murderers invaded the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe State, wielding explosives and guns and machetes, slaughtering more than 40 boys in cold blood.
”In light of this, I’ve got some suggestions, focusing on solutions.
First is regarding the use of local militias.
”When the President, in his most recent media chat, spoke about the government’s successes at pushing Boko Haram to the “fringes” of the North-east, it immediately occurred to me that some of the credit for that should go to the ‘civilian JTF’ – the band of youth in and around Maiduguri who have taken it upon themselves to act as a vigilante force to fight Boko Haram.
”I acknowledge that talk of a government-backed civilian militia is a controversial matter, but I do not think that should stop us from debating and seriously considering the matter, including it in our list of possible measures. Especially as we’ve seen it work in flushing the militants out of Maiduguri.