Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
President Muhammadu Buhari has put measures in place to ensure that threats to peace and security, including the Boko Haram insurgency, militancy, conflicts between herdsmen and host communities, as well as kidnappings are promptly dealt with.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance at the opening of a two-day national conference on peace and national security, entitied: ‘Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers,’ held at Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, Ibadan on Tuesday, January 30.
The conference was organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The conference has in attended scores of traditional rulers from different parts of the country. Speakers at the programme enjoined the National Assembly to make legislation that would give constitutional roles to monarchs, especially in alternative dispute resolution.
According to Mohammed:
“President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that entrenching national security is a top priority of his administration. This is because the socio-economic initiatives of his government cannot be successfully implemented without adequate security.
“He has therefore put measures in place to ensure that threats to peace and security are promptly dealt with. Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, restiveness in the Niger Delta, incidences of kidnapping and armed robbery, and recently conflicts between herdsmen and host communities, are some of these threats to peace.”
Mohammed noted that the achievement of sustainable peace and security in Nigeria is the responsibility of all stakeholders, and not just that of security agencies, adding that civil society organisations, religious bodies, traditional rulers that are custodian of culture and traditions, the media and everyone else gave important roles to play in the quest for peace and security of the country.
He reiterated the resolve of the government to promote enduring peace and security in the country, soliciting “the cooperation of all in the quest to make Nigeria a peaceful and secured place for Nigerians and foreigners to invest.”
Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Gbade Ojo, noted that Nigeria, no doubt, is at the point of dire need of national security, adding that it was high time traditional rulers complemented the efforts of the government in achieve peace and security.
“In pre-colonial Africa, our communities enjoyed relative peace because traditional rulers then were not only the custodian of our culture, but security values. The process of cultural socialisation is weakened now. We need to wake up and play our role as leaders, so that our children and generations yet unborn will know both our societal norms and values and what they should do,” he stated.
Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala, said the conference was organised to urgently address key issues capable of escalating conflicts, “which include poverty, ethno-religious conflicts, electoral violence, nepotism, inequality and marginalisation. Failure to address these issues will lead to channeling of resources,which should have been used for human development, to military and security interventions.
“We are convinced that if Nigerians are adequately sensitised to appreciate the critical importance of peace and security to the fulfilment of their yearnings and aspirations, threats to peace and security will be drastically reduced.”
Former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Emeritus Prof Ayo Banjo, who chaired the opening ceremony, also stressed: “Peace is of the essence in every situation. It is essential in a functional and stable family. It is necessary in a monolingual state, but it’s even more necessary in a multilingual state. Peace is an important recognition for stability and progress, for the happiness and self fulfilment of the individuals in a society, whether simple or complex.”
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Oyo State, Mr. Toye Arulogun; Secretary-General, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, Kehinde Ayotunde; Oyo State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs. Dolapo Dosumu were among the dignitaries in attendance.