Posted by News Express | 24 March 2015 | 2,525 times
Boko Haram is not the only threat to the existence of minority ethnic groups in the North-East and the Middle Belt, the chairman of Stephanos Foundation, Mr. Mark Lipdo, has said.
Lipdo made this clear yesterday at a sensitisation workshop in Abuja for representatives of minority ethnic groups in the Middle Belt. He declared that the safety and security of the groups must be addressed holistically.
According to the chairman, killings have been going on in Northern Nigeria for decades with impunity and the people are concerned about the trend.
His words: “We acknowledge what government is doing to contain Boko Haram; in fact the Federal Government has put in quite a lot to help reclaim some of the towns and cities.
“But as far as we know from our studies in 2011 to today, these killings are not all about Boko Haram alone; it has been about degenerating insecurity in the affected states that has evolved overtime.
“Just because there was an election and people were venting their anger through killings, so how can we be able to rate that it is now safe, how will these people be able to understand the terrain, how will they be able to draw the security agencies to their own defense in the event
that another violence erupts.”
Lipdo said there was need for all stakeholders in the peace building process to return to the basics and identify the causes of the crises in order to find permanent solutions to them.
He lamented that the most of the nation’s leaders were not concerned about unearthing the truth which according to him was the only guarantee to lasting peace in the region.
The chairman said a comprehensive study of the situation was also required to enable government and other partners resolve the lingering issues.
According to him, “This is why the leaders need to go back to the drawing board, we need to tell ourselves the truth, Is it the political atmosphere that brings about violence, if it is then how and why.
“Is it religious atmosphere or religious interest that brings about violence in our society, have we been able to address this within just six weeks to say we are safe now.
“I know that most of our leaders are more concerned about power tussle and vacuum within the system that is why they feel it is better to go on with the political process to be able to elect leaders into the positions, that is not to say that the problems have been solved over six weeks, Nigerians need to go back and understand what the history of the killings is.”
Lipdo expressed fear that Nigeria is drifting towards a regime where groups threatened by others would resort to desperate measures to protect their lives and property.
While fielding questions from newsmen, Prof Isaac Lar of the University of Jos, said genuine reconciliation was required to resolve the deep-rooted hatred that had characterized parts of the north.
He said Christians in the north must be prepared to imbibe the teachings of forgiveness and reconciliation as enunciated in the Bible.
According to Lar, the violent destruction of lives, property, and displacement of people will never solve any problems, in fact it is the guarantee that we can break up.
He said: “We are Nigerians and no primordial interest should override our corporate existence and the purpose of this workshop is to tell us that we need each other irrespective of the ideological interests at stake.
“The message is that of the Christian position to killing, the Christian position to these killings is one of reconciliation and forgiveness and not dwelling in the past.
“We look forward to advancing the Christian gospel not through violence or counter violence, the Christian posture is forgive, let God take charge.
“So, we therefore have to work for social integration that will guarantee our unity that we once so much craved for.”
He advocated for intensive education of Nigerians about their diversity which should be seen as the country’s greatest asset and the need for Nigerians to remain united.
Representatives of the various ethnic minorities in the middle belt region attended the two-day forum.
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