A former military intelligence officer and Peace and Conflict scholar, Col Ola Majoyegbe (retd) has harped on the need for a constructive management of Nigeria’s diversity in order to engender peace.
Col Majoyegbe made this observation yesterday, at the annual conference and annual general meeting of Society for Peace Studies and Practitioner (SPSP) at the National Open University, Abuja.
He cautioned those agitating for government to afford them information on what it is doing to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls to mindful of the implication of divulging sensitive national security information.
Majoyegbe maintained that managing peace in a Nigeria that is heterogeneous, with more than 300 languages, is complex.
“One of the ways forward for Nigeria is what we are doing here. Nigerians have to understand that the maintenance of law, order and peace is very complex because the society is heterogeneous: so many ethnic groups, so many languages, so many religious faiths.
“For instance, if you speak Arabic among the Arabs, most of them will understand but here…. The politicians normally exploit this weakness. The government will say something very nice, instead of applauding it; everybody will interpret it from his or her own ethnic prism. By that we have created more problems for government.
“It is not fair to give government deadline to quell insurgency. In countries like Columbia, they have been fighting insurgency for 52 years. Fighting Boko Haram is different from fighting a country.”
“If Nigeria orders its Army to fight Togo, in a day, the army will conquer Togo but not the same with insurgency. The difference is that, as we are here, members of the sect could be in our midst. In any case, since you are fighting in your own country, there is limit to the weapon you can use.
Speaking with newsmen, the Chairman of the governing board of SPSP, Prof Suleiman Bogoro gave insight into the activities of the body. Prof Bogoro said, “For us at the SPSP, we hold our annual conference, where we bring our journals in terms of what the scholars are doing.
“SPSP is a deliberate platform by the Peace Studies and Practice: both the scholars and the practitioners, including those doing conflict resolution at various levels have been brought under the platform of SPSP to assist both sides.
“The practitioners needs the basic tendencies of the basics of conflict.
He needs to enrich himself to be able to go the field, while some scholars don’t know the strategies out there in the field. They have to get strategies from those in practice.”
On the increased conflicts in the country, Prof Bogoro explained that, “We have witnessed crisis in various dimension for quite a while. But it is the variant that are creating apprehension. We had Boko Haram now for about 10 years, we have had Niger Delta conflict, more recently, and there is increase in kidnapping, armed robbery.
“Recently also, we have witnessed sophistry in the herdsmen and farmers crisis, to the extent that from the beginning of this years, hardly any day passes by without killings in number. This calls for concern.”
The chairman of the occasion and former governor of Niger State, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu challenged the intellectual community to retrace their steps back to the good old days, when members of the community made valuable contribution to the governance process of the country.
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