Politics

April 11, 2024

State-of-the-Nation: Adopt 2014 confab report – Gani, Lekwot, Wigwe tell Tinubu

ActionAid hails Tinubu over suspension of 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), led by prominent figures such as Dr. Samuel Gani, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd), and Elder Shyngle Wigwe, has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to adopt the 2014 National Conference Report.

This pivotal demand was central to the set of recommendations put forth by the Forum during a State-of-the-Nation press conference in Abuja on Thursday, with the aim of improving national security, resolving land disputes, and protecting indigenous ethnic groups.

By urging the implementation of the 2014 national confab’s draft Constitution, NCEF argued that it is the linchpin for transforming Nigeria’s governance to achieve stability and lasting peace.

Speaking at the press briefing, the Chairman of the Forum, Dr. Samuel Gani, highlighted the relentless assaults by Islamist insurgents in the North and the displacements caused by foreign invaders across Nigeria.

In a speech that underscored the depth and diversity of the NCEF, the Chairman, alongside other members such as Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Vice Chairman (North), Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary), Mrs. Osaretin Demuren, and a cadre of esteemed personalities including Prof. Joseph Otubu, Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okparaeke, among others, addressed indigenous Muslims, urging them to consider the broader implications of the ongoing strife.

The NCEF brought to light the intrusion of foreign elements, including the recent unsettling visit of Hamas terrorists to Nigeria.

It questioned the commitment of the Nigerian government, past and present, to combat terrorism, and pointed to the known locations of bandit camps that remained unaddressed.

The Forum stated, “This is the time for indigenous ethnic groups to carefully distinguish their allies from their adversaries. The extensive loss of life in Nigeria, involving indigenous Christians, Muslims, and traditionalists, demonstrates that these groups face a common enemy—a foreign invader.

“The ongoing violence in Nigeria is not driven by the indigenous ethnic groups. Regrettably, some local actors have been misled into believing they were pursuing a religious cause, but the real orchestrators have no such intentions. It’s all about racial displacement.

“In light of these facts, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) recommends the following: The implementation of the 2014 National Conference’s Report, including a draft for a new Nigerian Constitution, should proceed without delay. NCEF aligns itself with the Patriots Group, which held a conference on March 18, 2024, and called for a new Nigerian Constitution.

“The National Assembly’s repeated amendments to the existing Constitution should cease. Instead, legislators should begin crafting a new Constitution for Nigeria. After five alterations with no substantial positive change, the Assembly should start adopting the 2014 National Conference report and its draft Constitution.

“Nomadic cattle rearing should be banned immediately. Cattle owners should be required to establish ranches at their own expense, as independent business owners. The government should not finance one industry at the expense of others in the country. When cattle are sold, the proceeds belong to the owners, not the government.

“The RUGA project should be abolished. Firstly, the Federal Government does not have the statutory right to allocate land under the Land Use Act in Nigeria. This responsibility belongs to the states. Business investors requiring land should apply like other citizens. Preferential treatment should not be given to any particular group.

“Indigenous ethnic groups should assert their rights and ownership of ancestral lands and maintain control over their regions in Nigeria.

“Ethnic socio-cultural groups such as Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum, Middle Belt Forum, and PANDEF should give serious thought to these matters. Nigerians generally have no issues with one another. External forces are attempting to divide the country for hostile control of the land and resources. The push for devolution of power should be emphasized by ethnic groups.

“President Tinubu should present his vision for Nigeria instead of following the controversial path of his predecessor, whose tenure only caused distress and poverty for Nigerians. NCEF restates its earlier recommendation that President Tinubu appoint a Special Investigator to lead an inquiry into the root causes of terrorism and religious insurgency in Nigeria since 2009, and to identify those responsible.”