Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Special Adviser on Media to President Muhamadu Buhari, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Saturday assured stakeholders that the present administration was committed to tackling the under-development and neglect that had characterised the face of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

According to him, the present dispensation is giving priority attention towards a holistic development of the oil rich region, adding that the efforts will no doubt assuage and correct the ills of the past that have retarded the region.

Adesina, who was represented by Mr. Biodun Oladunjoye, an Assistant Director in Presidency, spoke at the passing-out parade and deployment of 8,000 Peace Keepers to the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja. The 8,000 who graduated from the National Unity and Peace Corps were trained in conflict and peace resolution mechanism.

Adesina tasked civil society groups in resolution of civil crises, and commended, the Commandant General of the Corps, Mr. Chinedu Nneji, for his commitment to the enthronement of peace across the country with the peace keepers.
He said: “With the men and women that I see today, are faces of people who have resolved that they will not belong to a nation that cannot feed its people and children not safe in the environment.”

The special adviser however stressed that the government is not unaware of the present challenges Nigerians are facing, adding that government is making efforts at changing the negative narratives of unstable power, falling education standards, unsafe environment and unemployment.

Adesina, while recalling Buhari’s speech, said: “You will all recall on being sworn into office on May 29 2015, I outlined certain core areas of our national life that require immediate intervention….first we should seek to secure the country, improve the economy and fight corruption.”

However, Adesina averred that the changes cannot come in an atmosphere of fear, distrust, kidnapping, vandalisation and outright disobedience of law and order. He admitted that civil society organisations have done a lot to educate Nigerians on the importance of non-violent resolution of crisis, social mobilisation and human rights observance, adding that more still needs to be done.

“Citizens are therefore enjoined to continue to hold governments accountable to their promises through legitimate peaceful means. Citizens must be empowered to contribute to the culture of peace through various developmental programmes which is the only panacea for a meaningful development in any nation,” he said.
In a remark, Nneji charged the graduates to see Nigeria as the only country they have and apply the knowledge and training gained to advance the peace of the nation irrespective of tribe or religion.

He said, “The Nigeria Peace Corps, if endorsed by the President in September, as we envisaged, the country is going to witness total peace. We have resolved to establish mediation centres in all the states and most importantly to propagate peaceful solutions to the insurgency in North-east, the MASSOB and the quest for succession in the South-east.
“We intend to look at all these to make sure that all pending issues are resolved between the trouble shooters and the peacemakers. We will act as bridge between those who are shooting out troubles and those who want to maintain peace”, he added.