Following wave of agitations for secession and restructuring of Nigeria’s governance architecture which brought mild unrest in some regions, youths have urged individuals, ethnic groups and others behind the moves to eschew violence and limit their demands within confines of law.
They argued that demands could be achieved through dialogue, rather than through violence which often leads to lose of lives and property in the country.
At a gathering organized by a youth based group, NaijaDay Foundation, yesterday in Lagos, with theme ‘Significant of peace and unity in Nigeria’, put in place to commemorate Nigeria’s 57th independent anniversary, the youths also urged government at all levels to keep their quota of responsibilities, so as to ensure adherence of peace and unity among citizens, especially youths.
Addressing congregation at the event, the Director, Prisoners Right Advocacy Initiative (PRAI) and 2017 Mandela-Washington Fellow, Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, warned agitators to desist from uttering hate speeches while demanding for their rights in the country, just as he caution against overheating polity with various hate moves.
He implored Nigerians not to share every post on social media because a lot of them were written to cause discord amongst Nigerians, stressing that every Nigerian need to be armed with correct information and shun gullibility.
“We all possess innate weapons to fight intolerance and hate, let’s use it. Most of the people sponsoring and leading the clamour for war will jet out of the country if it happens and the common man who has blindly followed them would be made to suffer,” Adetola-Kazeem added.
He emphasized that whenever war occur in a country, the nation would metamorphosed negatively and may not regain its potentials several years after the crisis might have ended.
“The rich will become poor, children became orphans, wives transformed to widows, landlords of palatial homes became refugees who will queue for food. Lawyers, doctors, judges, businessmen, may not be left out. And millions could be sent to their early grave.
“Rather than fighting ourselves we must fight that peace may reign. It is impossible for all of us to agree on the same thing but it is possible for us to be tolerant of one another’s views,”
For Publisher, Checkout Magazine, and a United Kingdom (UK) based journalist, Lekan Fatodu, pocket of violence within the country, which was due to agitations from the regions for secessions, restructuring and others, indicated that it was time to make peace a national mantra.
He said: “It’s high time we made peace a national mantra in Nigeria given the current agitations for secession, devolution of power, resource control, restructuring and other concepts that are clearly threatening the unity, stability and peace of the nation.”
Fatodu opined that after making peace the new mantra, the Federal, state and local governments must embark on strategy that would gradually inculcate in every citizen the need to embrace good behaviours and harmonious relationship.
“And the government must adopt the all important strategy of gradually changing opinions, quietly eroding primordial thinking and slowly instilling new ideas that are based on socio-economic and political justice, trust, hope and gains for all Nigerians regardless of tribes, tongues, backgrounds and political affiliations.
“Citizens, through the viable and brilliant platform like NaijaDay, also need to rededicate themselves to the cause of one and better Nigeria and should continually galvanise thoughts and influences that will help in delivering the Nigeria of our dreams,” he added.
To achieve peaceful co-existence in Nigeria, the Director, Center for human rectitude, Yusuf Aweda, appealed that clerics in the country should use religious teachings to ensure protection of humanity, regardless of tribes, religion and ethnicity.
Aweda added that religious leaders should also use alters in protecting lineage and encourage members to marry one another with morality to worship the supreme creator of all.
“Protection of lineage leads to good home, good homes beget adorable communities, good communities make good states. good states make good Nation,” he said.
The director however warned that religion should not be used as a mechanism to promote corruption, steal public funds or frustrate government efforts in eradicating corruption, saying, a nation that has its common wealth not protected could turn a barren nation and may never grow productively to influence the society with great values.