By Michael Olugbode
The Director General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr. Bakut T. Bakut, has called on Boko Haram insurgents, bandits and ethnic militias to sheathe their swords and come to a roundtable for dialogue.
The DG, in a press release on Sunday signed by Ms. Esther Ndukwe of the Press Unit of the Institute, sued for tolerance and peaceful co-existence amongst citizens.
He said there is need for “tolerance, peace and tranquility amongst the diverse ethno-cultural groups in the country”.
He reminded all “that no conflict is settled outside the dialogue table; and violence in any form is negative and detrimental to sustainable development. The criminal elements should sheathe their swords and seek dialogue where their grievances would be heard”.
He lamented that the level of tension all over the country arising from conflicts of various sorts has become a thing of concern to well-meaning Nigerians.
Bakut said: “We have painstakingly monitored and tracked resource based-conflicts which includes the farmers and herders conflict that has assumed a gargantuan height and almost snowballing into an ethnic dimension.
“This, alongside kidnapping, banditry and communal clashes, has constituted a horrific security challenge and unimaginable hardship on the Nigeria populace. The heightened situation has created mutual suspicion among the Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups that hitherto co-existed peacefully and tolerated one another.”
He decried that the conflicts have led to the loss of numerous lives and properties worth billions of naira, huge financial implications in the name of ransom, and untold psychological pains and trauma.
Bakut while commending efforts being made by the federal and state governments especially the selfless commitments of the security agencies as well as the civil society organisations and individuals in stemming the tide and ensuring the safety of the citizens, condemned the dastardly acts of criminals, bandits and terrorist against the citizens.
He also called on the media to be conflict sensitive in their reportage, insisting that: “This is the sure way to entrench peace, love, unity and tolerance which are the ideals that would keep our national cohesion, and douse the climate of tension that has already beclouded the entire country.
“Nigeria is a great and beautiful country and the only country we can call our own, therefore let us all coalesce our diversities to constructive channels of development for the good of all Nigerians.
“The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution will remain focused in deploying its capacity to facilitate dialogues, mediations and reconciliation in order to sustain bridges of peace and harmony in our dear country.”