Leaders of ethnic and socio-political groups have agreed to continue engage one another to prevent conflict and ensure peaceful co-existence.
The groups said this in a statement in Lagos, yesterday, after the groups’ training with the theme: “Engaging the media, community-based groups for peace building and conflict prevention.” Participants urged the Federal Government to intensify the mopping up of illegal weapons across the country and initiate the process for continuous dialogue by the people.
Speaking at the training programme, Assistant Commissioner of Police Akinbayo Olasoji, said crises in Nigeria had continuously been promoted by greed and self-serving interests of some religious, political and community leaders.
He commended the coming together of young ethnic leaders to address the problems of conflict in the country.
Also, the leader of the African Conflict Prevention and Peace Network, Mr. Sina Odugbemi, said it was necessary to study the environment thoroughly to sustain peace.
Vice-President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) Mr. Tijani Suleiman, said: “As a people we have the responsibility to work towards peaceful co-existence. Violence is an ill-wind that blows no-one any good; we can make the choice to chose the part of honour by preventing conflict in Nigeria”.
President of Agbekoya, a Yoruba group, Chief Adekunle Oshodi, said his group was excited to participate in a forum initiated for stakeholders in conflict in which the people are the drivers of the process.
Retired Col. Tony Nyiam said one of the most crucial ways of preventing conflict was for people to engage themselves out of their own freewill. Present at the training were leaders of Miyetti Allah, Oodua Peoples Congress, Oodua Nationalist Coalition, Igbo Youth Council and the Indigenous Middle Belt Peoples Congress, the Arewa Youth Consultative Council, National Council of Iteskiri Youths, Agbekoya, Borno Youth Coalition and the Ijaw National Congress.
Representative of the Ford Foundation, Mrs Onyinye Onyemobi, said the involvement of young people in the conflict prevention training was an impressive initiative.