A coalition of 40 groups, comprising civil society, labour unions, socio-cultural and professional bodies in Nigeria, led by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has disclosed that from its recent engagements around the country, Nigerians do not want separation, but justice and fairness.

The Chairman, NIPR Citizens’ Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, Dr. Ike Neliaku, while speaking during a media briefing in Abuja, explained that since the inauguration of the National Planning Committee (NPC), the group had in the last three weeks travelled around some parts of the country, to consult with various sections on the heated issue of nationhood.

The committee said the outcome of its consultations and deliberations clearly showed that a greater percentage of Nigerians believe in preserving the corporate integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FGN), rather than secede.

Neliaku, stated that from the observation of the coalition, there has been lack of proper engagement and communication, noting that if certain issues that formed the fundamentals of agitations across the country are resolved, Nigerians would prefer to live together.

“If matters that have caused certain misconceptions, misun-derstanding and distrust, are taken care of by leadership across board, Nigerians will prefer the option of staying together and building a strong, viral and formidable nation in Africa,” the group stated.

The chairman noted that some of the issues still lingering are those that could have long been long resolved and rested, including the federal character principle, which he said has not been effectively managed.

“The NIPR believes that the challenge of federal character could be tackled through effective implementation of the concept.
“This is why the NIPR in partnership with over 39 organisations across the country have come to the conclusion arising from several meetings that one of the practical ways to engage, resolve and rebuild our nationhood is for citizens to discuss,” he noted.

Neliaku said the NIPR along with its partners, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), among others, has offered its platform being a very credible, non-partisan, neutral organisation to promote relationship building and reconciliation.
“From our findings, the NIPR believes that Nigeria is too strong to disintegrate and we as professionals are committed to making the Nigerian project, work,” he added.

According to him, from October, from the states, through the state consultative forums, the coalition would proceed to the zones for the zonal dialogue series, then to the nation’s capital for the national summit which would be held in November.

The 52-man committee was inaugurated by the President of NIPR, Mr. Mukhtar Sirajo, a few weeks ago, to complement current military operations in several parts of the country.
Members of the committee include Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mr. Segun Runsewe; General Manager, Public Communications, NNPC, Dr. Kennie Obateru; a retired Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, who is a former Police Public Relations Officer, among others.