By Mustapha Sumaila
Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the recent public meeting on national security in Kaduna was aimed at responding to the country’s security challenges and the call for secession.
Mohammed said this while answering questions during a flagship Nigerian News Agency (NAN) interview program, NANForum, in Abuja.
The NAN recalls that the federal government through the Ministry of Information and Culture had convened on April 8 the meeting of the town hall on national security.
Mohammed said that in addition to the security challenges faced in the country, the call for secession had become more pronounced and that drastic measures were needed to deal with it.
He also said that the public meeting was aimed at building an elite consensus on the indispensable nature of the country’s unity, its security and its peaceful coexistence.
“We also dealt with the issue of banditry, worship and the like, but the reason we worried and felt we needed to hold a public meeting was the result of these security concerns.
“The call for secession became more and more pronounced, at that point we felt it was necessary to hold a town hall and see if we can build an elite consensus on the indispensable unity, security and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria. .
“When Nigeria was on this kind of crossroads, we always tried to get an elite consensus to agree on the unity of Nigeria, agree on its security and agree on the need for all of us to live together. peacefully, ”he said.
The minister noted that although the last town hall meeting was the 18th that his ministry had held since arriving on board, the Kaduna National Security Forum was unique.
He said the meeting attracted many people from all walks of life with panelists from academia, the private sector and civil society.
The minister added that the public meeting, which was robust, gave the government an opportunity to hear from the other side of society.
“Another unique thing is the color of the participants present; not just eight ministers, there were governors from Kaduna state and his deputy and governors from Zamfara and Ekiti sent representatives.
“We had representatives from Miyyeti Allah, we had representatives from PANDEF, security chiefs were there, traditional chiefs, bishops and imams.
“We also had women’s organizations and all the major stakeholders you would expect when discussing the issue of security and national unity,” he said.
Mohammed said it was clear from the start that the town hall meeting would not be a discussion workshop.
He said all stakeholders were responsible for proposing workable resolutions, adding that stakeholders had not only highlighted security issues, but also proposed solutions.
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