FORMER military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, has appealed to religious and ethnic fanatics to avoid instigating people against either the government or fellow citizens over issues that could lead to war over population census scheduled for 2016.
He made the appeal on Tuesday, when he received in audience at his residence in Minna, Niger State capital, the state Federal Commissioner of the National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Aliyu Datti and his management staff.
The former military president urged Nigerians not to resort to ethnic and religious sentiments on issues relating to population census, adding that census was aimed at getting the accurate number of people in the country for the purpose of national planning and development.
He, however, expressed regrets that over the years, population census had been subjected to controversy because “the Christians wanted to say they were more while their Muslim counterparts were also not left out in the unhealthy rivalry, as they also wanted to say they were more populated.”
He emphasised the need to remove ethnic and religion as controversial issues in census and make it just a routine exercise that no one would be harassed for.
The former president urged Nigerians to live above ethnic and religious sentiment, adding that “census should just be viewed as routine exercise to determine the population of Nigeria and not an exercise for those who are fanatical about religion or tribe. It should be made routine not something to go to war about.”
Babangida also put his weight behind the declaration by the Chief of defence staff Air Chief Air Marshal Alex Badeh not to use military force in rescuing the students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok Borno state , adding that, “what he said is the right thing; it is only natural that the military does not give away information about their operations, it is part of their training”
On the call by the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu that the past Nigerian leaders of Northern extraction should join them to end insurgency in three months, the Former Military President said “We will continue to provide such advice or assistance whatever the case may be because we don’t have any other country, this is our country we cant betray it”
He said that those who were entertaining fear over the assistance of foreign countries belong to old school of thought arguing that Nigeria had over the years rendered same assistance to other countries.
Earlier the Federal Commissioner of NPC , Alhaji Aliyu Datti said that they came to pay the Former Military President courtesy visit with the view to seek his usual counseling and benefit from his God given wisdom.
Source: Tribune


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