The National Economic Council (NEC) says it is committed to the unity of Nigeria amidst rising ethnic-based agitations.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed briefed State House correspondents after the virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed said he briefed NEC on the outcome of the town hall meeting which was held on April 8 in Kaduna with the theme, “Setting Benchmark for Enhanced Security and National Unity’’.
He said he highlighted the essence and uniqueness of the town hall meeting to the council.
“What prompted largely the need for this town hall meeting, as I briefed council, is the fact that we have had various security challenges in the country ranging from herders/farmers crisis to insurgency to banditry to ethno-religious crisis.
“It appeared recently that these challenges, of which the government has been doing its best to overcome, have been triggering calls for secession and calls for separation.
“So, we felt it was time we come together and try and get a national consensus on the need to remain one indivisible country.
“That promoted the town hall meeting which took place on April 8.,’ he said.
Mohammed disclosed that about 18 town hall meetings had been held but the Kaduna meeting was unique in the sense that it was the first all encompassing town hall meeting.
He said that the panelists were drawn from the academia, civil society and the private sector so that government could be fully briefed on the thinking of various strata of the society on national security and unity.
“The council resolution today is as follows: NEC welcomes the report and strongly affirms the unity; emphasising that staying as one country remains the best option.
“While noting the need to address the problem of agitation which is sometimes fueled by some individuals, council noted that agitations like this are common with countries with huge and diverse population like our own.
“We were told that a country like India has about 156 active separatist groups; that is important not to allow minority the mainstream of opinion and cow constitutional authority.
“Council also directed states to hold consultations and dialogue on the issues and report back on the next meeting of council so that a firm decision will be taken on the recommendation of the town hall meeting many of which were already welcome,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that it was resolved that state by state consultation would ensure the people have a great stake on the unity of Nigeria and provide a wider view of the general populace.