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Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities call for Sovereign National Conference

For the umpteenth time, Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities have called for convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to address the myriads of problems in Nigeria. Rising from a one day meeting yesterday the 17 ethnic groups  from Southern Nigeria said the convocation of the conference is ‘ the ultimate panacea for Nigeria ’s multifarious problems’.

The text of the Communique of the groups is reproduced below:
The Coalition of Ethnic Nationalities of Nigeria (CENN) met at the Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos on Wednesday 6th July 2011 to deliberate on several issues concerning the state and health of the Nation. The Coalition hereby resolves as follows:
1. CENN notes with concern the insecurity currently pervading the length and breadth of the country and the apparent incapacity of security agencies to curtail the situation
2. The nefarious operations of the group called Boko Haram must be considered an act of war and terrorism in the class of a foreign invasion against the country, and must be drastically confronted as such by the security agencies to prevent further international embarrassment to Nigeria and further loss of Nigerian lives and property
3. We condemn in the strongest terms the indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians and uniformed personnel by the group called Boko Haram
4. As peace-loving members of the Nigerian entity, we demand that the extremist activities of Boko Haram be urgently curtailed and the criminal elements of this evil organisation be urgently brought to justice
5. Unlike Boko Haram that is being propelled by nebulous and abstract reasons, major ethnic nationality groups have always agitated for definite causes and never levied war against the people they claim to represent; therefore if there is need for dialogue over conditions in the North, better dividend would be yielded in exploring the established channels in the zone such as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) and Northern Union (NU)
6. Urgent restructuring of the police must be undertaken to reflect better remunerations, with the Force employing more graduate youths into the police ranks; the sheriff system of policing should be encouraged to facilitate localized Intelligence-gathering and crime-fighting; governors as Chief Security Officers of their state must have firm control of the police in their localities
7. Banks must immediately vacate their recent order that customers must leave a minimum balance of N25,000 in their savings accounts, a guideline that contradicts Nigerians’ constitutional guarantees of “Right to Freedom from Discrimination” and fails to reflect current economic realities; the Central Bank, the Federal Government and the National Assembly must urgently put in place measures to reverse this draconian banking regulation; concerned banks that insist on retaining the roguish policy must be made to exempt old customers or grant a minimum timeline of 12 months before commencing its implementation
8. CENN discourages state governments from prohibiting the operations of commercial motorcycles popularly called “Okada” as such a ban will further complicate the problems of transportation, unemployment and Nigeria ’s crime index; in banning Okada, authorities will be cutting off the head to cure a headache
9. The government must tackle corruption and misgovernment at all levels
10. Production, transmission and distribution of power supply should be decentralized to states and private sector participants to give NEPA/PHCN healthy competition
11. All three tiers of government, Federal, State and Local, should urgently embark on a policy of massive employment for the youths of the country
12. CENN notes, with concern, the National Youth Service Corps’s continuation of its reckless, hasty and misguided policy of posting Nigerian graduates to states where their predecessors were just recently slaughtered with impunity, without NYSC or state government’s first putting in place structures and assurances of their safety
13. In line with the Federal Character dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, the Federal and state governments must allocate offices and positions with a view to promoting national unity and giving all regions in the country a sense of belongingness
14. The current list of ministers reflects a recycling of individuals who in their past postings failed to add value to the well-being of the Nation and the welfare of Nigerians, thus offering little hope that Nigerians will experience the change they urgently desire from the cabinet being constituted
15. We congratulate the Federal Government of President Goodluck Jonathan over his intervention in the high price of cement, designed to reduce the cost of the commodity, and hereby call for similar measures to crash the cost of food, kerosene and diesel
16. That we of CENN re-emphasise our commitment to the convening of the Sovereign National Conference (SNC) as the ultimate panacea for Nigeria ’s multifarious problems.
SIGNED
1. DR. FREDERICK FASEHUN, Chairman, CENN
2. COMRADE BRIGHT EZEOCHA, General Secretary, CENN
3. ALHAJI YERIMA SHETTIMA, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF)
4. DR. TONY NWAEZEIGWE, President, Igbo People’s Congress
5. ALHAJI DOKUBO ASARI, President, Niger-Delta Volunteers Force
6. MICHAEL ABAH, United Middle Belt Youth Congress
7. COMRADE SOLA EDWARDS, Publicity Secretary, Oodua People’s Congress
8. COMRADE REGENT YOUMOR, President, Izon Community, Lagos
9. MR. NELSON EKUJUMI, Ilaje National Alliance Movement
10. COMRADE JOB FRANCIS, Akwa Ibom People’s Integrity and Peace Initiative
11. REV. GODSPOWER ODENEMA, President, Niger Delta Youth Movement
12. COMRADE GODDY EWERODE, Isoko Youth Movement
13. PRINCE EZEALA FERDINAND AKANO, Democratic Alliance for Youth
14. EVANG. KUNLE ADESOKAN, Federation of Yoruba Consciousness and Culture
15. COMRADE S.A. AKINNOYE, President, Oodua Liberation Movement
16. DR. DECLAN IHEKAIRE, President, Igbo Youth Movement
17. AIYEADUN O. ALBERT, President, Association of Ewe Indigenes

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