Vice President Namadi Sambo Saturday reiterated the call for dialogue with Boko Haram, the Islamic sect which has sustained a spate of terror attacks on states in Northern Nigeria.
Sambo was speaking at the closing ceremony of the second edition of the Nigerian Air Force Air Exposition 2012 at NAF Base, Kaduna, to mark the 48th anniversary of the force.
Also Saturday at the 2012 convention of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in the Americas (NIDOA), the Arewa Consultative Forum Board of Trustees chairman, Lt.-Gen. Jeremiah Useni, assured Nigerians that the sect’s activities would not break up the country.
“Nigeria will not break up because of Boko Haram, Nigeria will not go to blazes because of Boko Haram,” he said at the event held in Arlington, Virginia, US.
Sambo, in his address at the NAF event, urged the Islamic group, which he did not mention by name, to use the window of opportunity provided by the federal government to embrace the call for a negotiated end to the crises that have terrorised the northern part of the country.
He said: “I must say that we are leaving no stone unturned at ensuring the safety of lives and property of all Nigerians and our visitors by subduing the current security challenges we are facing. We are still calling on the group to take our offer for dialogue in the interest of peace and development of our country.”
While the government is still exploring all options in its quest for peace, the vice president said the military and the other security agencies had been well-equipped to enforce and maintain security nationwide.
Sambo re-echoed the remarks made earlier by President Goodluck Jonathan that a strong and proactive military was pivotal to the transformation agenda of the present administration and commended NAF for the excellent air exposition.
He also said if the standard is sustained and improved upon, NAF would emerge as the most formidable air force in Africa.
Meanwhile, Useni, during the NIDOA gathering in the US, assured Nigerians that everything was being done to tackle the current security challenges posed by Boko Haram so as to restore peace to the country.
Absolving Jonathan of any blame in the precarious security situation in some states, he argued that the president cannot be running both the federal government and the states at the same time.
Governors, he added, had a lot to do in terms of ensuring the security of lives and property in their states, noting that ACF had sent emissaries to the states where bomb attacks had taken place, with a view to assisting the governors in tackling the challenge.
He also said ACF recently visited the president to assure him of the organisation’s support in tackling the security challenges in the north.
“We are all working together, the government has also agreed to dialogue with Boko Haram and the ACF has told the president that we are ready to give him the support so that we can move forward,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urged Nigerians abroad to always think of how they could contribute to the peace and development of Nigeria and improve the nation’s image.
Abike also urged NIDOA, the umbrella organisation for all Nigerians residing in North, South America and the Caribbean, to strive to be more attractive so that it would appeal to all Nigerians abroad irrespective of regional or tribal background.
In his remarks, Chairman of NIDOA, Mr. Ganiyu Dada, urged the Nigerian government to expedite efforts to create the Nigeria in the Diaspora Commission which had been in the offing for about a decade.
Dada said many Nigerians living abroad had a lot to contribute to the development of the country, but regretted that there was no commission in place that would facilitate such contributions.
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