Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has called on Nigerians to rise above their ethnic and religion divides and confront together the security challenges presently confronting the nation.
He said that Nigerians need to unite and work hard to stop the wanton killings in the country, insisting that security challenge is a common enemy that should be confronted by all.
Shettima, speaking at the opening of the Northern Nigeria Writers’ Summit with theme “Conference on the Development of a Blueprint for Literature in Northern Nigeria”, charged: “Let us unite and face our common enemy of insecurity in our country.”
He said: “Farmers and herdsmen crisis was as old as the history of Nigeria, we should not apportion blames on one tribe, religion or region. We should find solutions to it. We should learn to embrace and tolerate one another.”
He added that: “On our own part in the Northern Governors Forum, we are working hard to restore our culture of unity and togetherness. I have in my government a man from Cross River, Kogi and Imo as aides.”
Shettima said Borno has been centre of Islamic scholarship and literature since the 15th century, as the then Sultan of Borno wrote a letter to Sultan of Egypt using some literary expressions.
He said investment in education remains the best legacy a government can provide for his people, noting that “in Borno, we have invested heavily in education, in Maiduguri alone we built 15 mega schools with state of the art equipment. There is direct connotation between education and literature.”
Also speaking, the chairman of the occasion, Professor Olu Obafemi said the summit was apt and timely and was coming when sustainable peace is gradually restored to the Northeast. He called on the writers to use their talents and change the narratives of the region.
Earlier in his keynote address, Professor Abubakar Tanimu of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria said the North have been known for its literary works. He said even during the pre-independence era, the region has many notable writers.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Northern Nigeria Writers Association, Mallam Bala Dzukogi appealed to the Northern Governors’ Forum to create special fund dedicated to literary writing for writers to access for the development of literature in the region.