Dr Bakut Bakut, the Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), has urged bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements in Nigeria to sheath their swords and embrace peace and dialogue.
Bakut, who made the call on Sunday in Abuja in a statement issued by IPCR’s spokesperson, Esther Ndukwe, said this was necessary to stem the tide of insecurity all over the country.
He noted that Nigeria was on edge owing to violent conflicts of various sorts that were being perpetrated by criminals, which has become a thing of concern to all well-meaning Nigerians.
“The criminal elements should sheath their swords and seek dialogue and peace, where their grievances would be heard.
“No conflict is settled outside the dialogue table; and violence in any form is negative and detrimental to sustainable development.
“The Institute frowns at, and condemns in the strongest terms, the prevailing dastardly acts of criminals, bandits and terrorists against our country men and women,” the statement read in part.
It said that the institute had painstakingly monitored and tracked resource based-conflicts, which includes the ‘farmers-herders’ conflict that has “assumed a gargantuan height and is almost snowballing into an ethnic dimension”.
It further noted that the ‘farmers-herders’ conflict had, alongside kidnapping, banditry and communal clashes, constituted a horrific security challenge and unimaginable hardship on the Nigerian populace.
The heightened situation, it also noted, had created mutual suspicion among Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups that hitherto co-existed peacefully and tolerated one another.
“Worst still, these conflicts have led to the loss of numerous lives and properties worth billions of Naira, as well as huge financial implications in the name of ransom, and untold psychological pains and trauma on innocent citizens.
“Unfortunately, these horrendous situations are happening when our nation, like other countries in the world, is battling with the stress and drainages of the COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant economic challenges.
“The Institute appreciates the efforts being made by the federal government, state governments, the selfless commitment of security agencies, civil society organisations, as well as individuals in stemming the tide of conflicts to ensure the safety of our citizens,” the statement further said.
While urging the media to be conflict-sensitive in their reportage so as to entrench peace, love, unity and tolerance, Bakut also sued for tolerance, peace and tranquility amongst the diverse ethno-cultural groups in the country.
“These 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 statement added.
He stressed that IPCR would remain focused in deploying its capacity to facilitate dialogues, mediations and reconciliation in order to sustain bridges of peace and harmony in Nigeria. (NAN)