NGO gives panacea to banditry, insurgency By Bode Durojaiye

The Federal Government has been enjoined to ensure that reports of Commissions of Enquiry into civil disturbances and violent conflicts are sincerely implemented with a view to bringing the perpetrators and their supporters to justice and to serve as a credible deterrence.

A Non Government Organisation , Awareness For Peace , Justice And Development gave the admonition today at a forum in Osogbo, the Osun State Capital.

The NGO also called on Nigerians to get up, put their acts together and take their destiny in their hands, adding that while the ship of the country may be battered severally on the high seas, with discipline, hard work, selflessness, patriotism, dedication and unalloyed support for the Federal Government, the ship will safely anchor and be renewed to the surprise of everyone in the world.

In a communique issues at the end of the forum and signed by the NGOs President, Mr. Andrew Obalana, it said, ‘’there can be no national development without relative peace and stability. Since May 1999, there have been

greater challenges of security than at any point in time in our

history, thus rendering our political stability fragile, democratic

institutions and processes fluid, and our economy debilitated.

“Government, political leaders and followers, and all of us, must have

the courage and honesty to get to the root causes of our current state

of insecurity, underpinned by criminality, and insurgency/terrorism”.

It stated that our leaders and followers have taken the issues of security for

granted; yet urgent and immediate steps (short and long–term) must be

taken to consciously respond to current threats by architectonically

designing and building a security system which would create a stable and relatively peaceful environment, conducive for national development.

It continued, ‘’we must accept the reality that while it is necessary

to create “unity in diversity”, we must identify and respect our differences – “diversity in unity”, as well as improve the economy and manage unemployment candidly.

“Unless those in government are in a

country different from ours, they should realize that conditions of life are currently very hard for the average Nigerian. Having one, let alone three square meals daily poses a real problem, not to talk of affording costs of medicals for members of families.

Many families, the release noted, “can no longer pay their children’s school fees. There are no jobs for those who have graduated from Polytechnics and Universities. There is a large army of the

unemployed, ready to be used for odious jobs which bring in some income. Armed robbery, political thuggery, banditry and other forms of crimes have virtually been “legitimized” by the logic of the

imperatives of survival.

“All these left undone by previous

administrations, must be holistically address if we are to effectively manage conflicts’’.

Many of the conflicts, the communique pointed out, ‘’ have emerged from the

lack of mutual respect for one another. We cannot all be the same. We

must realize that even within a single religious and ethnic group, there are differences in perspectives and opinions.

“Disdain and arrogance (bankrupt of content) are often marks of inferiority

complex. We must be able to dialogue with one another, no matter how

difficult. We should respect and recognize the claims of others in a

competitive context even if we disagree with the nature of such claims.

“Non-recognition of claims generates major conflicts which often mobilizes ethnic and religious loyalties. Recognition of claims, while disputing the nature of claims, creates a basis for discussion. Governments can play helpful roles in mediating in some of

these conflicting claims. It should not wait until the competitive process turns into violent interactions among claimants.

” So also can civil societies, NGOs and even the private sector contribute to the

prevention of conflicts’’.

It further called for the “development of a national security strategy that is aligned with anti-corruption and national development priorities, undertake transformation of the security sector, and establish a transparent

process over the stockpiling and management of weapons collected from

disarmed combatants”.

It further eulogized the present administration for investing massively

in infrastructure, education, health, job creation and youth programmes.

It however stressed the need to “bolster the capacity and professional autonomy of anti-corruption institutions, identify

institutional entry points in governance systems, such as access to information and social accountability and transparency, adopt an institution building approach to governance, and bolster the capacity of public institutions for effective service delivery’’.

Corruption, it lamented, is multi-dimensional, as it does not only involve money, but also involves the abuse of trust, processes and institutions.

The communique was of the conviction that Government should concentrate on the prevention of corruption by establishing appropriate mechanisms for checking it.

This, it argued, will reduce the number and cost of cases prosecuted. If we must rebrand Nigeria.

Nigerians, the communique advised, must shun primordial sentiments, but give total support to the present administration, as its determination

to be exemplary should not be in doubt.

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