Tony Ailemen, Abuja.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Wednesday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa and later disclosed to journalists that he has been holding talks with Niger Delta militants over renewed militancy in the region.
The former President, who expressed concern over the insecurity in the country, said that Nigeria will be forgotten if it breaks up.
Renewed militancy in the region has forced a drastic drop in national oil production levels resulting in serious threat to the nation’s economic stability as a result dwindling income.
The militant group had in a recent statement stated that appeals from prominent personalities including Jonathan, Chief Edwin Clark, King Alfred Diete-Spiff and Ankio Briggs, had prevailed on them not to carry out their threat of declaring Niger Delta Republic.
But, Jonathan, who met with President Buhari to brief him on his regional and global assignments, while speaking with State House correspondents, said he stands for a united Nigeria.
Speaking on his role in resolving Niger Delta crisis, Jonathan said all relevant stakeholders in the region have resolved to prevail on the militants to stop their actions.
“It is not just about me but about all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders that are of the Ijaw ethnic nationality; we have been in touch to see that peace reigns in the country.
“Those of you that have followed my talks when I was here, my emphasis is that we need a united Nigeria and I always emphasise that Nigeria is great not just about the oil; so many countries produce more oil than Nigeria nobody notices them. We are great because of our size. The human resources we have, the diversity we have, if we fragment the country into small components, we will be forgotten by the world.
“That has been my focal position and without peace there cannot be development anywhere in the world. We are all working collectively to see that issues are resolved”, he said.
Speaking further on his mission to the Presidential Villa, Jonathan said “you asked why I came to see the President today; one key thing is that having been a head of a government, a former president, you become a state property. That is the privilege you have but every privilege has its corresponding responsibility, and once you become a state property, most of your international engagement, that have to do with public addresses and some international assignment, become national assignment and you brief the President.
“Even when I was here, the former presidents used to do that; come and see me. I have been coming; most times I come in the night. That is why you don’t see me. I came to brief the President about some of my engagements. As you are aware I will be leading the AU elections monitoring team to Zambia, I came to brief the President about some of the external engagement. It is the tradition”, he said.
The former President however declined comment on the fight against corruption in the country saying it will be unfair to comment since there were many cases in court.
He said, “I don’t want to talk about that one because there are too many cases that are in court; it will not be fair to make comments. I will talk at the appropriate time when most of these things are resolved”.
The former President arrived the State House at exactly 1.55 pm and was driven in a black Range Rover marked KWL 86 CN to where he was received, at the forecourt of the President’s office, by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Domestic Matters), Malam Sarki Abba, accompanied by his security detail.