Al-Mustapha Peace, Unity and Development Initiative (APUDI) Institute, known for its peace studies and social rehabilitation agenda, has embarked on a national project which seeks to curtail the menace of cattle rustling, pipeline vandalism and militancy in the country.
Addressing newsmen during a press briefing in Abuja on today Thursday, on ‘Peace in Nigeria Project’ at its headquarters, a Nollywood Actor who is also the Chairman Publicity Committee of the project, Ejike Asiegbu, lamented the rate of killings by herdsmen, militancy across the country, saying that “our country has lost billions of Naira through these social vices”.
Mr Ejike said “it was about time that we came together, took the bull by the horn by bringing together the herdsmen, the farmers and the repentant militant, including the international footballers to have a novelty marches in selected cities in Nigeria. We are also looking at the aspect of cultural dance competition in Abuja as a means of reconnecting them once again, thereby reducing to the barest minimum, the unwarranted social tension affecting our growth as a nation”.
He appealed to Nigerians and, particularly the media, to join the struggle “to make Nigeria be free from these social vices that have stunted our development”, adding that nobody will develop the country except Nigerians.
Speaking also at the conference, the National Project Coordinator, Igwe Martins, who said that the menace is no more a normal thing, insisted that “we have agreed that the best option to do this time is to bring stakeholders together and talk on how to bring peace.”
“This is a struggle that affects everybody. It must not divide us. We should collaborate to make this country a better place to stay to sustain the peace and unity we deserve. This is why we have also contacted personalities all over the country; farmers, Nollywood actors who are concerned by the worrying happenings on the peace of this country.
Mr Igwe further maintained that a lot of findings will be unveiled in the continuation and execution of the project, with the support of the media.
Earlier in his welcome remark, the Al-Mustapha Peace Institute (APIS) Director General who was represented by Professor E. N Danladi, commended the strategic team involved in the project, saying it is a proud outfit to show how we can engender conflict resolution and sanity in our country.
Blaming one of the challenges being encountered in the country, he said ” what we lack in this country is action. We can talk but no action. Now that we see people who can act, it will go a long way in achieving our dream.”
He harped on the need to extend the struggle to social conflict and community conflict, saying security does not rest with efforts from the Federal and States alone. Adding: “It is incumbent on us all to fight on this and live convivially. We will be traveling round the country on the issue of grazing fields to bring to bare some terrible situations we have been facing. We need government and private sector to work on enough grazing fields in the country too.”
President of the Global Association of Muslim and Christian Youth Association for Peace and Development, Dr Yusuf Ibrahim, in his comment, said “the issue has been politicized as it did not start yesterday but this is the time, in a critical situation like this, to fight it ourselves.
Dr Yusuf reminded that Nigeria is a peaceful nation and peaceful coexistence is an essential ingredient in living unitedly. “This issues can solve if we stand well to fight it. Some areas too, in the country, are affected but not having media coverage. We must live as brothers and sisters at all cost”, he added.