Civil Rights activist and the immediate past Senator representing Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly, Comrade Shehu Sani has said Nigeria must first have a country before becoming member of any international body, calling on the leadership of the country to renegotiate its membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Sani said the rising cases of herdsmen/farmers clashes in the country was becoming alarming, pointing out that there was no reason why other West African states are not experiencing similar attacks when they have substantial population of herdsmen.
Speaking at his inaugural press conference to unveil his new centre, African Center for Freedom, Peace and Development (ACFPD), Sani said the federal government must, as a matter of urgency renegotiate membership of ECOWAS and its protocol in view of the violence and killings going on in the country as a result of migration into Nigeria from neighbouring countries.
He wondered why countries like Ghana, Togo Republic, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic and other neighbouring nations are not experiencing herdsmen crisis, adding however that the new centre is aimed at addressing some major challenges confronting the continent, which include; Democracy, insecurity, peace, rule of law, good governance and irregular migration among others.
He said: “I think in view of the crisis that we are facing as a country especially at it concern the violence and the killings, we must renegotiate the ECOWAS protocol on issue of migration specifically as it affect our own security challenges in Nigeria.
“We must enforce laws to protect our own country. When helmsmen move from other nations to Nigeria in the name of free movement and we fold our hands they will end up destabilising our country.
“Our concern is that why are there no helmsmen violence in Gana, in Guinea, in Burkina Faso, in Niger Republic? Why are there no herdsmen violence in Togo Republic? Why must it be Nigeria?
“These are issues we need to ask, if you are coming to our country with weapons, with arms, we cannot allow you to come in the name of protocol, that should not be accepted because allowing these herdsmen to come into our country and unleash mayhem and kill people has the capacity of igniting Civil War in Nigeria and we can’t allow such thing to happen in the name of protocol, we have to have the country first before we belong to a union. That is my view on that.”
He said that the new centre will deal with issues of unity, peace, development and good governance in the Africa continent, adding that the centre will also serve as a advocacy center in partnership with other international organisations in helping to tackle some of the issues that bother the continent.
Senator Sani said that about 60 senior academia across known Universities have shown interest to be part of the center, assuring that the organization will embark on research and provide solutions to most problems confronting the nations across the continent “whether it is banditry, kidnapping, bad governance, Boko Haram insurgency, irregular migration and so on.”