*tasks region’s governors to engage youth on peace advocacy
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A South East peace building group under the aegis of Coalition of South East Peace Practitioners Network (SOEAPAT), has commended youth in the Northern parts of the country over their peaceful disposition during the #EndSARS protests.
This is even as the group called on governors of the Northern region to immediately begin a peace advocacy with the youth, saying the development would go a long way in consolidating the youths’ response to national issues considered unfavourable to the region.
The South East group, in a statement, Saturday, signed by its Zonal Chairman, Dr Obi Chibuzor and Legal Adviser, Barr. Amadi Ojukwu, respectively, noted that despite some actions in some parts of the country which seemed to incite the North against the Igbo race, the Northern youth maintained restraint, a development it said, was a far departure from the past.
According to the South East group, there were some deliberate falsehood in the social media and orchestrated by those it referred to as crisis merchants to get the Northern yout to negatively react towards people of South East extraction.
But it thanked the youth in the North for not buying into the antics of the “crises merchants”, saying they deserved the accolade for “their peaceful disposition, patience, maturity and perfect understanding during this trying period of our dear nation.
“The way the youth conducted themselves in the North this time around in the midst of some provocative falsehood on social media to incite the people against the Igbo tribe by some merchants of crises is quite commendable. This goes to show that our youths are now ready to take leadership of the country,” it said.
The group said, “For us to defeat this long-time hatred sold to us by some enemies of peace and unity of our country through religious and ethnic sentiments, we must distinguish between criminality and collective action of a people”,adding:”Once we are able to separate criminality, we will work together to defeat any evil and crisis merchants like it’s the case now.”
Naturally, by now, there would have been violent response targeted at Igbo people and businesses around the North but to the glory of God, the northern youths with the help of the elders and ulamas disappointed the crises merchants by remaining peaceful.”
The South East peace building group tasked governors in the North to constructively engage youths in the region on peace advocacy.
“We want to specially appeal to all the Northern governors to begin a comprehensive and sincere youths engagement in their various states to consolidate on the peace efforts of the northern youths.
“They should form pressure groups that will be tasked with carrying out peace advocacy around their states,” the group charged.
While taking exception to the inciting remarks by the Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra,IPOB,Mazi Nnamdi KANU,associating Ibos with destructions,particularly in Lagos, the peace advocacy group urged people not to take the IPOB leader serious, saying as a fugitive, he cannot speak for the Igbo race.
“We want to completely disassociate ourselves from Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and all his ideologies. We are happy that all the well- meaning Ndigbo groups and peace lovers have taken similar position to disown him.
“Kanu cannot speak for the Igbo nation because he doesn’t have the mandate and blessings to do such. We appeal to our brothers and sisters to completely disassociate themselves from this enemy of the state,” it added.
SOEAPAT said:”While we must state here again that we have been marginalized overtime even before the administration of President Buhari, we kindly appeal to our people to be patient, calm, and press home our demands for inclusiveness legitimately and not to demand for cessation.”
While saying:”Nigeria cannot afford another war,”the group called “on all religious leaders to preach message of peace and unity in their respective places of worship.”
On the other hand,the group said:”We call on our Igbo brothers in the North and other places to continue to show respect to their host communities and continue we to engage them with a view to having a peaceful coexistence.”