The Federal Government and well meaning Nigerians have been urged to find lasting solution to the incessant killings and destruction in Benue State to avert famine.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state prides itself as the “Food Basket of the Nation’’ due to decades of huge farming activity by the people.
The state boasts of high yielding yams, rice, soya beans as well as variety fruits.
Dr Obadiah Mailafia, the former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), made the call in a keynote lecture delivered at the presentation of three books by Amb. Joy Ogwu on Thursday in Abuja.
In the lecture entitled; “The Crisis of Leadership and World Order”, Mailafia urged the leadership of the country on the need to ensure peace and harmony to accelerate the nation’s growth and development.
Mailafia, who was also former Special Adviser to the President on Economic and Policy Matters, said killings in the Middle Belt were taking on a genocidal proportion and may undermine national food security.
The Economist and International Development Specialist, however, commended the Federal Government for the efforts made so far in addressing security challenge in parts of the country.
“Without peace and harmony, nothing good will come, but without justice, there can be no peace to speak of.
“We are encouraged by the enormous efforts our military, through the leadership of the present administration to break the back of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“However, there are still many more rivers to cross. We need to finish the job and build a framework for a just and lasting peace in the northeast and the rest of the country.”
According to him, there is the problem of the so-called marauding herdsmen who are waging a de facto war in the Middle Belt, which is the bread basket of our country.
“These killings can also undermine ultimately the future of our federation.
“The task falls on our generation to re-imagine Nigeria as a land of peace, a land of justice, a land of progress, a land based on the precepts of democracy.
“A land that is governed based on the rule of law, enlightenment and civilised value.
“We need a coalition of Nigerians who believe in our manifest as the leader of our glorious continent,” he said.
Mailafia said Nigeria had a world historic destiny as the leader of Africa and the black race as a whole.
According to him, the country’s vocation is to build a first class technological industrial democracy and to safeguard the integrity and honour of the continent.
“We are meant to be a city set on a hill- alight unto nations. But we can only fulfill that destiny if we reinvent our nation as a country.
“The country must be anchored on positive science, peace, the rule of law, social justice and humane values.
“In so doing we must remain open to the world, to Europe, Asia and the Americas- building partnerships that promote trade, investments and a rules-based international system that guarantees the security of all nations’’, he said.
This he noted required nothing less than a new ethos of leadership.
“We would not only rebuild our world, we will be the salt of the earth, the pillars of world order and civilisation itself’’, Mailafia said.
Prof. Jerry Gana, who was the Chairman of the occasion, said there was the need to pay adequate attention to leadership development, adding that nothing could happen without good leadership.
The former Minister of Information and Culture also stressed the need for Nigerians to see themselves as one and stop all wanton killings and destruction in the country.
“Instead of being our brother’s keeper we have become our brother’s killer, which is very disturbing’’.
Ogwu, who in her remarks called on all to be good citizens, said that was the prerequisite of leadership.
The author of the three books, stressed the need for everyone to be loyal to the country, saying that it was the only way the nation could forge ahead.
The former Nigeria Permanent Representative at the UN, urged Nigerians to be involved in politics, adding that politics should not be left only for politicians alone.