The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged religious and traditional rulers to encourage inter-ethnic marriages in order to douse the tension of secession.
The minister added that those who support separation and secession will be the first to run away when any problem starts.
Mohammed, who spoke on Sunday in Lagos when he appeared on Bond FM radio programme, “Ibi Abasede”, urged Nigerians not to listen to promoters of secession.
He added that the Nigerian government was working hard to improve national security and prevent all secession tendencies.
He said, “That we have ethnicity issues; it is not new. Indigenous People of Biafra, Boko Haram and farmer-herders clashes are not new; all we must do is to look for the way forward. We are aware of them, the government is working. Secession is not the way out of our challenges. You don’t cure headache by beheading the patient. The things that unite us in Nigeria are more than what separate us.
“Religious leaders and traditional leaders are to encourage what the constitution says about inter-ethnic marriages to forestall secession. Those who support separation and secession will be the first to run away when any problem starts.
“We should not listen to them as many of them have about four passports of other countries,” he said.
According to him, if the children of the poor are hungry and not educated, the rich will not be able to sleep.
He added that the meeting also recommended the recruitment of more policemen and more training for security personnel.
“The stakeholders also recommended that security operatives be equipped with modern equipment to boost efficiency necessary to win the trust and confidence of the people,” he said.
Mohammed said the stakeholders recommended state police and the need for the National Assembly and state assemblies to support it “because all security is local”. He added that the meeting also recommended that traditional leaders should be encouraged to perform their assigned roles in line with the 1979 constitution.
He said the group also recommended giving autonomy to local governments and allowing their statutory allocations to go directly to them for security, education and infrastructural development at the grassroots.
“The stakeholders also recommended the establishment of ranches and grazing reserves with necessary amenities such as water, education and healthcare facilities for humans and livestocks,” Mohammed further said.