At a press conference yesterday in Abuja, addressed by members of the two groups, with the NEF deputy leader and Second Republic minister, Paul Unongo, alongside Prof Ango Abdullahi and Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura in attendance, the groups expressed its support for the conference and pledged to contribute its opinion to the conference whether or not it was invited.
They also congratulated the federal government and Nigerians on the attainment of 100 years of nationhood, stressing the need for Nigeria to stay united in the face of various challenges facing the country.
They noted that despite the incessant crises the country was witnessing, it is indeed a thing of celebration that the different entities in the country have stayed together for 100 years without breaking up.
In his speeach, Unongo urged President Goodluck Jonathan to apply a holistic approach in tackling the issue of insurgency, as it had been proven over time that military options only cannot address the unrest especially in the northern part of the country.
He, however, condemned the recent killings of students in a unity school in Yobe State, as he advised the president to call for dialogue with the Boko Haram insurgents by involving important stakeholders, who would be truthful in handling such case as late President Umaru Yar’Adua did in the case of the Niger Delta militants.
The northern elders also condemned the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as it maintained that the issue of exposing missing funds that accrued to the nation is the job of the CBN as the custodian of national revenues and Sanusi was only carrying out his statutory duties.
They congratulated the Southern People’s Assembly (SPA) for finding it fit to come together as one body, but warned the group against making any inciting statements against any individual or group in the north that would cause disunity.