How Nigeria can prevent Ethno-Religious Conflicts – Giade

NDLEA/PUBAF/074/ VOL. V /99                                September 14, 2011
The Chairman/Chief Executive officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade has enumerated solutions on how to prevent conflicts in the country leading to loss of lives and properties. The Agency’s boss in an interactive section with participants of Senior Executive Course 33 at the Nigeria Institute for Policy and strategic studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau State on Wednesday September 14, 2011 noted that the nation’s ethnic and religious diversity is a blessing and not a curse as the various conflicts being witnessed across the country suggest.
The way out of conflicts is for leaders and elites to galvanise ethno-religious pluralism for the rapid growth and development of the country through equal opportunity, provision of employment, eradication of poverty, illiteracy, deprivation and corruption. Drug control is also crucial because drug abuse is at the root of conflicts just as illegal arms need to be taken out of the society he opined.
Giade’s paper titled Perspective on the Management of Ethno-Religious Pluralism was presented by Mr. Victor Cole-Showers, Head Pension Department of the anti-drug Agency. The NDLEA boss thanked the management of the Institute for selecting a topic that is relevant to the current security situation in the country and urged that suggestions on the way forward should not be left unimplemented.
He contended that pluralism is a harmless global phenomenon as countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia and South Africa among others are ethno-religious plural States. In his words, “the factors responsible for ethnic chauvinism and religious conflicts are manmade. It has nothing to do with a country, its religions and ethnic groups. The existence of diverse and competing interests underscores the basis for democratic coexistence where power is spread among many different groups within the society. This way, individuals and groups feel a genuine sense of belonging and are encouraged to actualise their goals” Giade stated.
He added that while some ethno-religious nations are maximising their diverse strengths and comparative advantages, others are locked in mutual suspicion, bitter and retrogressive hegemonic rivalries. The inability to accommodate ethnic and religious differences remains a threat on cohesiveness, peace and development that requires urgent intervention.
The NDLEA boss however expressed optimism that the unity of the country in sports music and related fields makes it possible to permanently make ethno-religious conflict a thing of the past. According to Giade, “it is worthy to note that in sports, music, education, science and related fields where Nigeria is involved internationally, the beauty and strength of our diversity is enviable. This underscore the fact that our diversity is indeed a blessing and not a curse as some may want to believe. The excitement of our nationals performing creditably in international competitions flies our national flag with pride”.
The way forward according to Giade must begin with re-orientation on nationalism, political education on the rich culture and unity, political enlightenment on critical political issues that will enhance participation of all groups, wealth creation through empowerment and creation of an enabling environment such as provision of roads, electricity, water, friendly legislation and other incentives will help neutralise ethno-religious acrimony among the various ethno-religious groups.
Other suggestions are aggressive public enlightenment, non-partisan and impartial anti-corruption campaign, promotion of merit at all levels. Management is about prudent use of resources to satisfy needs. This he posited can be met easily when the best hands are engaged.
Ofoyeju Mitchell
Head, Public Affairs


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