Traditional rulers in South-East appeal to youths to embrace dialogue

Some traditional rulers from the South-East geo-political zone of the country had appealed to youth groups currently agitating for self-determination of the zone to dialogue with the Federal
Government.The appeal was contained in a communiqué issued by the monarchs in Owerri following their workshop and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.

The theme of the workshop was : “Conflict Prevention, Peaceful Coexistence, Tolerance and Alternative Dispute Resolution for South-East Traditional Rulers’’.

The workshop organised by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was to strengthen their capacity in peace building and conflict resolution.

The communiqué noted that traditional rulers and civil society  organisations were critical stakeholders in the drive for peace in the zone.

The monarchs in the document called on the government to assign them a constitutional role to ensure their involvement in more coordinated communal responses to the increasing incidences of violence in their communities.

“We recommend the continuation of appeal to the youths in the region  currently engaged in self- determination struggle to embrace dialogue and peaceful methods.

“We further resolve that all Nigerians should embrace the principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, “ the communiqué said.

The monarchs recalled that the zone had passed through myriads of violent conflicts, insecurity and developmental challenges in recent times.

“The self-determination groups, through their activities, are radicalized youths, which usually bring them into direct 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 insecurities like cultism, attack on oil installations, herdsmen attacks, land disputes and self-determination campaign for Biafra fuelled by
perceived marginalisation,“ the communiqué said.

They appealed to the Federal and state governments to address genuine grievances of the zone, noting that the use of only force might not resolve the problem.

“Federal and state governments should find creative ways to engage the already radicalised youths in dialogue.

“State governors within the region should equally see the need to create more economic opportunities to reduce unemployment.

“The conflict between farmers and herders and the resultant killings and destruction of farmlands should be addressed urgently.

“We implore the Federal Government to proffer an immediate, balanced and acceptable solution to the problem, “ the communiqué said.

The monarchs commended efforts directed at promulgating the National Peace Policy developed by the IPCR into a National Peace Law and lauded the Federal Government’s initiative on developing a National Infrastructure for Peace.

The workshop was attended by monarchs from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states as well as representatives of governors of Abia and Imo.

Credit NAN

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