Some traditional rulers from the South-East geo-political zone of theÂ country had appealed to youth groups currently agitating forÂ self-determination of the zone to dialogue with the Federal
Government.The appeal was contained in a communiquÃ© issued by the monarchs inÂ Owerri following their workshop and made available to the News AgencyÂ of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.
The theme of the workshop was : “Conflict Prevention, PeacefulÂ Coexistence, Tolerance and Alternative Dispute Resolution forÂ South-East Traditional Rulersâ€™â€™.
The workshop organised by the Institute for Peace and ConflictÂ Resolution (IPCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)Â was to strengthen their capacity in peace building and conflictÂ resolution.
The communiquÃ© noted that traditional rulers and civil society Â organisations were critical stakeholders in the drive for peace in theÂ zone.
The monarchs in the document called on the government to assign them aÂ constitutional role to ensure their involvement in more coordinatedÂ communal responses to the increasing incidences of violence in theirÂ communities.
“We recommend the continuation of appeal to the youths in the region Â currently engaged in self- determination struggle to embrace dialogueÂ and peaceful methods.
“We further resolve that all Nigerians should embrace the principlesÂ of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, “ the communiquÃ© said.
The monarchs recalled that the zone had passed through myriads ofÂ violent conflicts, insecurity and developmental challenges in recentÂ times.
“The self-determination groups, through their activities, areÂ radicalized youths, which usually bring them into directÂ confrontations with the law enforcement agents resulting in avoidable
fatalities, loss of revenue and economic incapacitation.
“The South-East is challenged by multiple conflicts and insecuritiesÂ like cultism, attack on oil installations, herdsmen attacks, landÂ disputes and self-determination campaign for Biafra fuelled by
perceived marginalisation,“ the communiquÃ© said.
They appealed to the Federal and state governments to address genuineÂ grievances of the zone, noting that the use of only force might notÂ resolve the problem.
“Federal and state governments should find creative ways to engageÂ the already radicalised youths in dialogue.
“State governors within the region should equally see the need toÂ create more economic opportunities to reduce unemployment.
“The conflict between farmers and herders and the resultant killingsÂ and destruction of farmlands should be addressed urgently.
“We implore the Federal Government to proffer an immediate, balancedÂ and acceptable solution to the problem, “ the communiquÃ© said.
The monarchs commended efforts directed at promulgating the NationalÂ Peace Policy developed by the IPCR into a National Peace Law andÂ lauded the Federal Governmentâ€™s initiative on developing a NationalÂ Infrastructure for Peace.
The workshop was attended by monarchs from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi,Â Enugu and Imo states as well as representatives of governors of AbiaÂ and Imo.