Abdulsalami, Kukah open up on agitations

• Calls for division product of bad govt, says peace committee

By Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

The National Peace Committee (NPC) led by former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar has blamed failed politicians and poor governance for the rising ethno-religious tension in the country.

   “The drums of rising division also reflect the perceptions by our citizens that there is poor governance in Nigeria today.

“Politicians who have failed in delivering on the mandate of the electorate for better livelihoods and neighbourhoods have, instead, found common cause with advocates of division and hate,” it said in a statement jointly signed by the former military leader and Bishop Mathew Kukah.

The group  warned that the nation cannot afford the stoking of the fires of hate and divisiveness in its body-polity, especially at a time the ordinary Nigerians were engaged in difficult struggles to secure their livelihood, amidst rising insecurity and increasing fear.

While it expressed concern over the spate of separatist campaign, it called on politicians to deny support to or endorsement of groups that harbour or express disdain for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

It also urged the Federal Government to move fast to arrest the ugly situation.

It backed the position of government on the need to ensure effective enforcement of laws that prohibit hate and divisive speeches that constitute a threat to the constitutional and collective right to live in a democracy founded on free expression.

On the agitation for restructuring, the NPC appealed to the Federal Government to consider the reports of the Political Reforms Conference of 2005 and other National Conferences as bases for further and continuing dialogue on co-existence among communities in Nigeria.

It commended Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo for engaging with leaders of influence across the South-East and North in a bid to check the rise of mutual hostility and tension that have been stoked by elements from parts of the country.

While the NPC asked the Federal Government to review, update and enforce all laws relating to citizenship in Nigeria to ensure the equality of all under the law, it equally underscored the need for government to urgently work with the private and voluntary sectors to put in place measures to address the crisis of skills and jobs as key vectors of radicalisation.

To ensure the strengthening of national peace and cohesive, it urged that on-going efforts to reach out to leaders from various parts of the country be broadened into honest dialogue with all segments of the Nigerian population to ensure that ordinary citizens were accorded the opportunity to convey their views to government at the highest levels and get carried along in the formulation and implementation of government policies;

The group also underscored the need for government to urgently work with the private and voluntary sectors to put in place measures to address the crisis of skills and jobs as key vectors of radicalisation.

It called on the  Federal Government to review, update and enforce all laws relating to citizenship in Nigeria to ensure the equality of all under the law.

The statement said: “The National Peace Committee acknowledges that the drums of rising division also reflect the perceptions by our citizens that there is poor governance in Nigeria today.

“Politicians who have failed in delivering on the mandate of the electorate for better livelihoods and neighbourhoods have, instead, found common cause with advocates of division and hate.

In many parts of the country, young people who have been left without means of livelihood or hope in their future have become converts to radicalisation preached by demagogues in various guises including ethnicity and religion.

“We cannot afford at this or any other time to stoke the fires of hate and divisiveness in our body politic especially when ordinary Nigerians are engaged in difficult struggles to secure their livelihood, amidst rising insecurity and increasing fear.

“We have lost too many of our citizens to random and diverse acts of violence, have many more maimed for life or living in displacement. Tens of thousands of children have been orphaned by conflict and millions of our fellow citizens now face threats of starvation in the face of rising food insecurity.

“In many parts of the country, mass killings go unpunished and unresolved, inter-communal clashes have become chronic, economic deprivations and growing social exclusion and feelings of alienation, particularly among the youths are being exploited by segments of the elite with potentially dangerous and painful consequences for us all.

“These developments are sources of serious concern for the Nigeria Peace Committee. We know, of course that we are not alone in our worries and would like to commend the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, for engaging with leaders of influence across the South-East and North in a bid to check the rise of mutual hostility and tension that have been stoked by elements from parts of the country.

“Nonetheless, the National Peace Committee appeals to further voices of leadership, reason and moderation from all communities in the country to reinforce the message of the Acting President.

“At this time in Nigeria, more than ever before, we need government at all levels, which work for the people, with commitment to respect for the rule of law and to the security and well wellbeing of persons and communities in the country.

“We also need credible institutions, an economy that guarantees a fair deal and outcome for hardworking people, better physical infrastructures and an enabling environment in which citizens can thrive.

“The National Peace Committee therefore calls on State governments to commit to developing their own people more and relying less on Abuja to fund their consumption through monthly allocations.

“We also encourage the Acting President and the Federal Government to remain steadfast in the steps they are taking to reassure all communities and citizens of equal stake holding in the Nigerian project. In brief, Nigerians need an effective state that we can all call our own.

SOURCE: DAILY SUN

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s