The Senate on Wednesday urged Nigerians to desist from actions and utterances capable of jeopardising the corporate existence of the country.
The upper chamber also charged its members to intensify their representative role by embarking on sensitisation in their constituencies to highlight harmonious and peaceful co-existence.
This was predicated on `The Need for National Unity and Peaceful Co-existence in Nigeria”, a motion sponsored by 108 senators at plenary.
They said that the greatest challenge facing Nigeria was the threat to national unity, adding that calls for self-determination, ethnic and religious intolerance had enveloped national consciousness.
The lawmakers noted that since independence, national integration had been the priority of government.
According to them, this led to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Federal Character Commission and others intended to achieve national integration.
The lawmakers said that various integration policies and programmes had yielded some desired outcomes, adding however, that there was more to be done as primordial ethnic sentiments and loyalties were still deep-rooted.
They decried the situation where some citizens, rather than work for integration of a nation with a common national identity, were preaching and supporting primordial affiliation for identity and security.
“Recently, there have been clamouring for ethnically-based and regionally-supported threat to one united Nigeria in various parts of the country.
“The amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 was not a mistake, but a design by the Almighty God as a nation of brothers and sisters united in common destiny.
“We commend the spirit of patriotism and nationalism exhibited by Nigerians in support of our journey to nationhood,” they said.
Earlier, Sen. Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna) had stated that since 1960 Nigeria had experienced “`series of convulsion” in its journey to nationhood.
“As we desire to have a single nation, it is very important that politicians from all sides of the divide and from all political zones recommit and rededicate themselves to the unity and collective peace of Nigeria.
“Politicians from the South-East, South-West and South-South must have the courage, conviction and the consistence to insist on one nation.
“Likewise, politicians from the North must have the courage, conviction and that consistence to insist that this is an in-dissolvable union,” he said.
Sani pointed out that peace was the soul of a nation, adding that everything was founded on peace.
He said that politicians from the South-East must unreservedly, unambiguously and unequivocally condemn this separatist agitation that was coming up.
“Politicians from the North must unreservedly and unambiguously condemn anarchists that are trying to set this country ablaze,” he said.
The lawmaker said that it was by taking a definite position and not sitting on the fence that serious issues could be addressed.
“We need what is necessary to further strengthen our unity; agitations, complaints and grievances are genuine national issues. We are to look at them and address them.
“We must look at the possibility of reconstructing our country and coming up with a new master plan that will address the very important challenges that we are facing in the 21st century,” he said.
The Chief Whip, Sen. Olushola Adeyeye, said that the nation was at a point where it was obvious that the leadership and the citizenry had forgotten nothing because they had learnt nothing from our history.
Similarly, Sen. Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers) said “we have a union that is not perfect but we can make it better.
“There is no country that becomes a great country merely by circumstance or by chance. Great nations are built by the sacrifice of its citizens.
“Our diversity is our greatest challenge but it is also our greatest strength.
“We must come together and build a strong, virile and prosperous nation,” Abe said.
In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the plenary, said that the patriotism exhibited by the senators was one thing that stood the Senate out.
“We are better off united; we are better off a just and equitable society.
“It is not time to look at ourselves as either black or white. Our beauty lies in the mix of our colours,” he said.
He called for restraint from all quarters to ensure a prosperous, united and egalitarian society.
“We must show leadership as leaders. It is not time to leave the leadership of this country to ad hoc tendencies.
“In doing so, we must address the fears and complaints of our citizens. I believe this is what we have started today,” Ekeremadu said.
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to as matter of urgency forward the Report of the National Conference to the National assembly for deliberation.