...Experts call for collaborative effort
The need to expend a deliberate and joint national effort has been expounded by experts at the 6th plenary session, on the third day of the 22nd National Economic Summit in Abuja.
Governor Kashim Shettima, who led a six man panel of discussants to address the pronounced case of crisis and conflict in Nigeria, commended the Nigerian Economic Summit for getting actively involved in the crisis situation in Nigeria, Particularly in the North-East “The involvement of the Nigerian Economic Summit in addressing the key challenges in the North-East is indeed very timely, welcome and commendable. He Said.
According to Shettima, the Government is interested in seeing an end to the crisis in the North-East “Our focus in Bornu is not all about gloom or doom.
“The Chinese word for crisis is a combination of problem and opportunities; hence we are looking for opportunities out of the present challenges.
The destruction in Bornu was enormous, people may quote 20,000 dead, but believe me, over a 100,000 have lost their lives. We are determined to change this narrative, therefore there is ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation, which is not just an issue of bricks and mortars, we must also encourage education and empowerment particularly, the education of the girl child, you have to invest in peace even in the midst of crisis”. He concluded.
Nigerian businessman and member of the commission for Africa, Mr Fola Adeola, who presented an overview of the situation in Bornu said “What is happening in Bornu is sheer travesty; it is a siege, a case of everyone for his own, God for us all. In the process, many died. You don’t know where food is coming from or whether it is coming at all and this is very devastating. We should be more concerned and supportive, there are people who donate to Syria fund, because they are moved. We should do more for the crisis in the North-East” He Said.
On the root cause of conflict in Nigeria, Legal Practitioner, Human Right/Civic Society Activist, Mrs Ayo Obe, observed that there are two main causes of conflict in Nigeria, widening inequality and marginalization, “this administration promised that they were going to tackle poverty by giving money to the less privileged at its inception, but one and half year later the program is still at the drawing board. This reduces the credibility of the government and affects people’s trust” She Added.
Speaking on the need to take urgent measures to address the growing insecurity, Program Director, International Crisis Group, Ms Comfort Ero, noted that it is not about early warning but also about early action according to her, we missed an opportunity to prevent the escalation of the Boko Haram crisis in 2009.
Ero also cautioned on the use of force in quelling crisis “We have to think very carefully about the use of voice, sometimes it is necessary, but it mustn’t aggravate the situation rather it must help to reduce or resolve the conflict, force should be used cautiously. Dialogue and talking must be taken seriously. What we need is a need to accommodate the private sector in that strategy it is a joint national effort backed by impactful communication”. She advised.
The place of marginalization in fuelling crisis was expressed by visiting panellist, Mr Leilei, According to him when people begin to feel marginalised, they resort to violence and this can result in genocide.
Leilei urged the private sector to support the initiative of the Government to solve the problem of crisis and conflict “We should reset, the pattern and see this as an opportunity. Private sector, corporate social responsibilities should be carried out responsively. It is about investing wisely as a business. I can say the Nigerian government is open and willing but needs support from its own people as much as it needs from foreign bodies. He concluded.