Ethnic tensions: 105 senators move motion on national unity 

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By Titilope Fadare

OrderPaperToday– The Senate on Wednesday sent a very strong message in favour of the unity of Nigeria when 105 senators signed up on a motion denouncing the current wave of sectarian tensions ravaging the land.

The senators collectively conveyed the commitment of all Nigerians to live together in unity and harmony as one indivisible, indissoluble sovereign nation under God.

The Senate accordingly resolved that the Federal Government directs the Ministry of Information and National Orientation and other relevant agencies to intensify enlightenment and advocacy of loyalty to the nation.

Senate decision is sequel to the recent clamour for ethnically based and regionally supported threat to one united Nigeria in various parts of the country.

The motion expressed worry that some citizens rather working for integration for a cohesive nation with a common sense of national identity and destiny are preaching and supporting primordial affiliation for identity, regional loyalty and security.

The lawmakers at the upper chamber asked Nigerians to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of jeopardizing the corporate existence of the nation.

The motion noted that the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Unity School System, the Federal Character Principles amongst others have yielded some desired outcomes in respect of independent national integration but there is more to be done as primordial ethnic sentiments are still deep rooted.

It reiterated that the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 was not a mistake but a design by the Almighty God as a nation of brothers and sisters united in common destiny.

The lawmakers urged themselves to intensify their representative role by embarking on sensitization campaign in their various constituencies to highlight the importance of harmonious and peaceful co-existence.

Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) in his contribution stated that unity is the soul of any nation adding it is normal for a country to go through these issues.

He said: “Since 1960, Nigeria has experienced series of convulsion. It is not unusual that in the journey of a country are faced with these crises. We should insist on one nation. It is only by taking a definite position and not sitting on the fence that issues like this can be solved. We need what is necessary to further strengthen our unity. Agitations are genuine national issues. We must come up with a new master plan that will address these issues.”

Olusola Adeyeye  (APC, Osun) agreed saying Nigerians must stop the notion of thinking that leaving the country will solve the problems of the country while noting that we have not allowed history to absorb us.

He said: “Our nation is at a juncture that both the leadership and citizens have gotten nothing because we have learnt nothing from our histories. Few countries survive a second civil war.

“I believe that the history of the world shows that unity pays. We must conduct ourselves in such a way that we can stay united. Unity is a means to end by destroying the means of a greener side. We must change the notion of running to another place but with ourselves that is when we can address it.”

The minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa-Ibom) stated that national unrest is caused by one faction trying to subjugate another faction which have been seen in different governments.

“Some agitations are caused by feelings of persecution. When a government comes into power, they spend time pressing another section down which causes stagnation. The respect we enjoy is as a result of the unity of this country. We must caution our children that the unity of Nigeria must not be compromised.”

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