Former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, yesterday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to put an immediate end to the killing of innocent Nigerians by terrorists.
Gowon, speaking at the National Youth Peace Concert in Abuja, also challenged the terrorists to come out to defend their actions.
He urged Nigerians to come to the aid of the government by providing useful information about the terrorists.
The concert was organized by the Office of the First Lady and office of the Special Adviser to the President on
Youth and Students Matters.
He said: “I call on the Federal Government, using the various security agencies to vigorously work at ending the orgy of mindless killings and mayhem across the country. But the people can also help by making sure that they give intelligence of information of where these people are coming from.”
“Are they Nigerians that are doing these? If they are Nigerians, I challenge them to come out and defend their acts against their motherland.”
General Gowon also asked other African leaders to “exercise the critical responsibility of leadership and rise up to the challenge of providing solution to these problems through education, employment, youth development and empowerment.”
These actions, he stressed, “will help to stem the tendency towards violent conflicts in some parts of the country.”
Gowon, who was the special guest of honour at the event, expressed sympathy to the families of the dead and wounded students in the recent terrorists attacks in the school in Yobe State as he condemned other similar attacks.
“You must reject acts of violence of any sort. But you must embrace and build trust and confidence among one another for the eternal good of your respective countries and your continent,” he told the youths at the occasion.
The First Lady and President of African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dame Patience Jonathan, advised Nigerian youths to shun thuggery among other crimes as the 2015 general elections approach.
Urging Nigerians to forgive one another and work together, she charged them to be peace ambassadors in their homes, community, states and Nigeria and the continent as a whole.
She said: “I want you to go out there to preach peace for me. Why are our brothers killing one another? Let us not allow outsiders to come and cause confusion for us. We need everyone to be alive to build a strong nation.
“I am really pained; I don’t know how to say enough is enough. I have prayed in my bedroom. I want God to hear and answer me. We are killing one another. Let God, Allah touch our hearts. Let us stop killing one another.”
“I am deeply pained and I wish you can help me today. The youths, you are my hope. I have called on my fellow women and yet help is still not coming, the men have tried and yet no help. So, I am calling on you the youth. I want you to be alive for me. I want Nigeria to be as it was before.”
She went on: “No matter the religion we have, we pray to one God. Allah is the same as God. Everything we do, God is seeing us. Let them cease from torching schools and killing students. I want you to be my ambassadors as you leave here. Carry my message along with you. From today, don’t call me First Lady Dame Patience, call me ‘Mama Peace’.”
On the 2015 election, she said: “I am crying and begging you, don’t be used. Election is coming, they will come to you. Why are they not using their children? Their children are in schools abroad. They don’t have money to feed you, but they have money to buy grenades for you. Please don’t take it again. I want you to stay alive for me.”
After releasing100 white doves as symbols of peace in Nigeria and the continent at the occasion, she was presented with two awards for her role in promoting peace in the continent.
The First Lady of South Africa, Mrs. N. Zuma, who spoke on behalf of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, maintained that no meaningful development can be achieved in any society except peace is first achieved.
She urged the youths in the continent to continue to stand for love and peace in order to end the crises across the continent.
Among the dignitaries at the occasion were the First Lady of Sudan and other Regional Vice Presidents of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, the Wife of the Senate President, Helen Mark, First Ladies from various states of the Federation.
Various Christian and Muslim leaders in the country also spoke at the occasion preaching love and peace in the country.
TuFace Idibia, Onyeka Onwenu, and artiste from Cote’d Ivoire, Katara were among the artists that performed at the occasion.
The concert was attended by thousands of youths that stormed the city from various states of the Federation.