Posted by News Express | 1 December 2019 | 285 times
Young leaders of ethnic and socio-political groups in Lagos yesterday resolved to continue to work together to ensure peaceful coexistence in the country. The participants said a major conflict in Nigeria has the potential of engulfing the entire West Africa sub-region.
Some of the groups included the Miyetti Allah, Oodua People’s Congress, (OPC), Ijaw Youth Congress, (IYC), Igbo Youth Congress, (IYC), Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, (AYCF), Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC), Agbekoya, Middle Belt Indigenous Peoples Congress, (MBIPC), among many others.
The groups said in a joint statement issued at the end of a one-day training with the theme: ‘Engaging the Media, Community Based Groups for Peace building and Conflict Prevention’ organised by the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) with the support of the Institute for International Education, (IIE) and the Ford Foundation, West African Regional Office, urged the federal government to intensify the mopping up of illegal weapons across the country and initiate the process for continuous dialogue driven by the people themselves.
Leader of the African Conflict Prevention and Peace Network, Mr. Sina Odugbemi, who spent six months travelling from Nigeria to Libya by road where he spent about 15 years in the desert area, said his experiences have shown that extremism and violence in Nigeria cannot be fought without a keen understanding of the Maghreb Region.
The Vice President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, (AYCF) Mr. Tijani Suleiman, said, “As a people, we have the responsibility to work towards peaceful co-existence. Violence is an ill wind that blows no one any good. We can make the choice on the part of honour by preventing conflict in Nigeria.”
The President, Agbekoya, Chief Adekunle Oshodi, said his group was excited to participate in a forum initiated for stakeholders on conflict in which the people are the drivers of the process.
Speaking in his presentation, Zannah Yusuf Mehid, representing the Kanuri Traditional Council, said networking among the various ethnic groups was essential for peace and prevention of outbreak of hostilities.
Col Tony Nyiam (rtd), whose training was on ‘Strategies for Peace Building and Conflict Prevention,’ said one of the most crucial ways of preventing conflict was for the people to engage themselves out of their own freewill.
The representative of the Ford Foundation, Mrs. Onyinye Onyemobi, said she was impressed by the mention of the relationship between poverty and conflict adding that the involvement of young people in the conflict prevention training was a good initiative.
The Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER), Mr. Adewale Adeoye, said “peace building should not be left for the government alone. Conflict prevention is not the property of the government. It is the property of the people. They own it. They have the right to come together to make a great impact through constructive engagement.” (The Nation)
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