Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, yesterday urged Northern Nigerian leaders to champion the fight against insurgency that was currently ravaging a section of the region.
He said for peace to return to north-eastern Nigeria, political, community, opinion, religious and intellectual leaders of the north must borrow a leaf from Niger Delta, Southwest and Southeast leaders who at a time were key to the resolution of restiveness in their respective area.
Kuku who spoke in Benin City when he delivered the 10th Convocation Lecture of Benson Idahosa University, pointed out that this became imperative based on the security challenges in Northeast Nigeria.
Speaking on the topic: "Challenging Current Security Issues for National Transformation: The Way Forward", he said, "the greatest mistake any person or group of persons would ever make is to politicise insecurity, particularly terrorism. The war against insurgency and terrorism must be a collective one but I insist, based on fact that northern leaders must lead the charge against obvious enemies of their people, their religion, their land and people".
He was of the view that the political resolution of the Niger Delta crisis was made possible because of the intervention of leaders of the region.
Similarly, he cited the key role played by political, opinion and intellectual leaders of the southwest of Nigeria in reining in the Oodua Peoples' Congress (OPC) when their activities became inimical to development and transformation in the zone.
In the same vein, Hon. Kuku noted that in the southeast, when activities of the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) began to militate against development and transformation in the area, the political and opinion leaders of the region were on hand to curb their excesses.
"I have said on several occasions and I will reiterate it here that even while the Federal Government and the Armed Forces of our great nation are doing all they can to restore peace, safety and security in northeast Nigeria, political, community, opinion, religious and intellectual leaders in Northern Nigeria must borrow a leaf from Niger Delta leaders, Southwest leaders as well as leaders in the South-eastern parts of the country and lead efforts to restore peace, safety and security in their communities, particularly, terrorism.
"The war against insurgency and terrorism must be a collective one, but I insist, based on facts that northern leaders must lead the charge against obvious enemies of their people.
"The political resolution of the Niger Delta crisis and other areas have shown that it is not all the time that guns and bombs are used in stemming conflicts because 'there was never a good war or a bad peace according to Benjamin Franklin" , Kuku stressed.
He said because of the relative peace and security that the amnesty proclamation and post-amnesty programme engendered in the Niger Delta, crude oil export figure has soared from 700,000 barrels per day to between 2.4 and 2.6 million barrels per day.
To him also, the intervention of Southwest leaders led to the integration of OPC operatives who today have become respectable officers of various agencies in Lagos State like LATSMA, KAI, LAWMA, etc.