Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Director General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Prof. Oshita Osang Oshita, has said that violent conflicts remain an enemy to all Nigerians.
Oshita, therefore, said that Nigerians must unite to prevent violent conflict from consuming the nation.
He spoke during the project on peaceful coexistence nationwide, North Central Zone, held in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
In a statement issued in Abuja by Abu Michael, media aide to the DG, IPCR and made available to Daily Sun, Oshita said despite the awful situations of insecurity confronting the country, researches by IPCR showed that the vast majority of Nigerians craved for one united, strong and indivisible country of mutual accommodation, unity and prevalence of justice.
“He therefore expressed the need for deliberate actions towards harnessing the country’s robust diversity towards strengthening national unity for sustainable growth and development that would offer all Nigerians a sense of belonging.
“He regretted that the mechanisms for constructive diversity management had not been developed since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
“Against the backdrop of growing inter-ethnic and religious intolerance and increasing tensions between herders and sedentary farmers across the country, the IPCR, as the apex peacebuilding and conflict management agency of the federal government, is using this nationwide publicity and advocacy to remind us all of the need for peaceful coexistence in Nigeria,” the statement read.
Oshita further said the project was consistent with the findings and recommendations contained in the 2016 Strategic Conflict Assessment (SCA) of the country conducted by the IPCR.
He said there were various nationwide peacebuilding response programmes for the unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria, including the national Infrastructure for Peace (I4P) that was flagged off by the Institute in 2016.
The project, Oshita added, was justified because “Nigeria is contending with various forces of polarization.”
Oshita further explained the need for the nation to reinforce its national unity and bonding in order to recommit to the corporate existence of the country in the face of complex domestic challenges of insecurity such as the insurgency in the north east, secessionist agitations in the south east, militancy in the south south, kidnapping and sporadic, yet recurring violent clashes between herders and sedentary farmers.
He reiterated that the Institute believed that peace was not only invaluable, but also the greatest positive human value which every Nigerian must work to preserve, even as he said its absence caused nothing than agony for everyone.
“He therefore urged all and sundry to collectively invest in peace so as not to destroy the businesses and resources required to grow the economy and provide jobs for the teeming youths.
“Conflict is inevitable and part of human society, but violent conflict can be prevented through constructive dialogue. We cannot do away with conflict so long as we have individual differences.
Conflict has its inherent advantages if managed well because it helps us plan for a better future and improved relationships. What we strongly fight against and try to prevent, is violent conflict which leads to destruction of lives and property,” Oshita added.
Benue State, Oshita noted, was chosen for the commencement of the nationwide campaign for peaceful coexistence in the north central for myriads of reasons.
He said Benue State had become the hotbed of the herders and sedentary farmers conflict, saying that the Institute carefully selected a location in each of the six geopolitical zones for the hosting of the project.