Alex Enumah in Abuja
A former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, wednesday urged the federal government to ensure that all those found culpable of sponsoring violent crimes in the country must be brought to justice.
The former UN envoy also called for the review of the Nigeriaâ€™s justice system to ensure sustainable peace and conflict resolution in the country, noting that there can never be genuine peace without justice.
He was speaking at the fifth international Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution conference hosted by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in Abuja with the theme, â€˜Restorative and community justice: challenges, lessons and prospects.â€™
Gambari, a former UN Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and other Issues, also called for establishment of early warning mechanism as a means to end injustice in the country. â€œI think it is time we have to review our criminal justice system in Nigeria because it is due for reform. No one is happy about our criminal justice except the criminals.
â€œAnd we have to restore that balance not in favour but against criminal. Justice is imperative in the way of peace; any one denied justice has no interest in peaceâ€, he said.
â€œYou cannot have peace where there is no justice because people must have the feeling of closure, a feeling where violation of human rights is brought to justice,â€ he added.
Gambari maintained that restorative justice was a very important tool for peace and conflict resolution adding that, statistics shows that more than 50 per cent of resolved conflicts reoccurred due to injustice.
He therefore charged stakeholders and the international community to establish peace that will endure.
â€œIn order words, once peace is established, it should be on solid foundation that will ensure that conflicts do not return.
According to Gambari, there must be a system that holds people accountable for their actions. He said sponsors of violence should not be given any form of amnesty but be made to pay for their crimes so as to serve as deterrent to others.
He noted that Nigeria has never been in short of commissions of enquiry or idea but what has been lacking is the implementation of the recommendation from such commissions.
He said: â€œSo we have no shortage of ideas but shortage of implementation of the recommendation and ideas that emanate from these commissions of enquiries and constitutional conferencesâ€.
Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Olusola Enikanolaiye, appreciated the role of the IPCR for being in the fore front of promoting peace and conflict resolution in Nigeria.