President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday told northern leaders to join hands with the Federal Government in finding lasting solution to the incessant killings taking place in the country.
Saraki made the call while addressing a delegation of the Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly (NLSA) who visited him at the National Assembly, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, noted that peace and unity is essential to achieve overall development of the country, while commending the group for rising up to contribute their quota in realizing a peaceful and prosperous country.
Saraki said: “By this time, as elders, you ought to be resting, but the patriotism in you brought you out. You said you are political but non-partisan, we are all political and we need to get Nigeria in the right direction.
“Being leaders, this is the time to find lasting solutions. This is not the time for blame. This is the time for us to bring peace and regional dialogue. No society worth its salt will keep quiet in the face of these killings.
“Something somewhere is wrong. We need to meet to bring about peaceful coexistence and unity in this country. Part of the solution is to know that something is wrong.
“I am happy that you are here and we will speak truth about the problems and to conduct ourselves on how to encourage dialogue and ensure that the right thing is done,” he said.
Earlier, the chairman of the group and leader of the delegation, Yakasai, said the purpose of the visit was to brief the President of the Senate on the formation of the organization, including its aims and objectives.
He said that the group is not out to get a consensus presidential candidate for north as being rumoured in some quarters, but rather to cooperate with Nigerians who share in its vision and mission.
According to him, the group is out to formulate and device methods of preventing and resolving conflicts with the goal of creating and sustaining peaceful coexistence, arrest the drift in the North, restore individual and group confidence, create functional regional unity, among others.
Besides, he said the group will look at the problems of armed robbery, kidnapping and herdsmen/farmers clashes and to find a way to resolve them.
He said the group will soon organize a Northern political summit to address the identified problems while seeking the support of the National Assembly in hosting the event.
Members of the delegation included a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former Minister of Defence, Haliru Ballo Mohammed, former Governor of Niger state, Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former FCT ministers, Bala Mohammed and Abba Gana, former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Inna Ciroma, Dr. Umar Ardo, Hajia Zainab Maina, Dr. Mamman Shata and Senator Joseph Waku, among others.