Eminent northern leaders on Thursday gathered at a meeting in Minna to check the escalating security challenges in that part of the country, saying they are all out for the rediscovery of Nigeria’s unity and the cohesion of northern communities.
The northern elders gathered under the auspices of the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS).
They resolved to enhance the cohesiveness of the region by promoting inter-faith and inter-ethnic relationship and also assist in the search for better state-community relations.
The forum also intend to facilitate the emergence of a broad consensus on the basic interests of the North and try to implement strategies in achieving them.
In a communiqué issued by Gen. Abubakar and Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed on Friday, the forum resolved to engage leadership at all levels in the search for better governance, transparency and improved responsiveness of leaders to the basic needs of citizens in the region.
The forum intends to encourage northern state governors to improve on the management of the economy of the region, expand the regional investment base and encourage the search for more economic resources which abound in the region.
The forum said it would involve communities in intelligence gathering and peace building.
At the forum were two former military rulers, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; one time Finance Minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma; former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed and former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Mrs. Pauline Tallen.
Also in attendance were former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop John Onaiyekan; Sheik Ahmed Lemu; Mr. Nda Isaiah, the publisher of Leadership newspaper; Abubakar Gimba; Professor Bawa Salka; Brig.-Gen. Halilu Akilu (rtd); Senator Jubril Aminu and Alhaji Isa Funtua.
The meeting was their second in one week.
At the first meeting in Abuja, the forum set up two committees–security and socio-economic–to address the problems of the North and submit their reports by March 27.