Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that Nigeria should remain as one for the sake of minority groups.
He said if the country disintegrated, the minority groups would suffer.
He made this known in his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence on Wednesday, while hosting a Tiv group from Benue State.
He said: “Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?
“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group.
“But is there hope? There is hope.”
On the issue of insecurity facing Nigeria, he advised the government against paying ransom to kidnappers and bandits, saying it was foolish to do so.
He added, “Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.
“Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they denied it.”