War Not In Nigerians’ Interest, Says Abdulsalam-led National Peace Committee


BY MUSA SIMON REEF, ABUJA –The Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar-led National Peace Committee on Tuesday lampooned promoters of hate speeches and warned that current spate of tension caused by apprehension from drumbeats of war by groups was not in the interest of the Nigerian people.

The committee that is domiciled at the Matthew Hassan Kukah Centre, Abuja, made its position known to the public through a press statement on Tuesday by its Secretary, Dr. Authur-Martins Aginam.

The committee, in a joint statement signed by Gen Abdulsalam and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, lamented that “politicians who had failed woefully in delivering service to their citizens had found common ground with promoters of divisions and hate speech to fan the embers of disintegration.”

The statement commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for taking appropriate measures to douse tension. It noted that rising tension discontent in the country was an indication of bad governance in the country.

“In this regard, 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. To ensure the strengthening of national peace and cohesive, the peace group urged that on-going efforts to reach out to leaders from various parts of the country should be broadened into honest dialogue with all segments of the Nigerian population to ensure that ordinary citizens get 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.”

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