By MADIBA LAPINNI
Peace, the five letter word had in recent times become the most desirable entity that humanity craves for irrespective of their creed, status, religion and affiliation in life.
Peace is not only the absence of war but also the presence of all positive indices that can lead development. It entails the presence of cooperation, dialogue, justice, fairness, due sense of responsibility, and absence of hunger. Peace is the presence of development and harmony. It is the sign post of a good governance and transformative leadership. It is a clear evidence of the level of maturity of the community that worlds it.
At an individual or communal level, peace is desirable and needful. We need peace for growth and development. We need peace to ensure urbanization and industrialization. We need peace so that we can stay and live in peace and unity. We need peace to effectively worship our creator we need peace to promote neighbourliness and to promote learning.
Regrettably, Northern Nigeria has lately been suffering from the scarcity of peace in most parts of the region. The once vibrant, promising and stable North is being threatened by cases of ethno religious and sectarian conflicts and increasing cases of local terrorism public fears and insecurity have heighten and the hope or the prospects of abetment remain forlorn.
It is very sad that no day passes without media reports on violence in one part or the other of the north. It is either the indigene-settler ethno religious confrontation in Jos, Plateau State, or the Boko Haram challenge in the North East axis. It is either intra-religious sect conflicts in Sokoto State or youth violence in Kano State. No single state is secured in the country, and no concrete efforts are being made to redress these challenges.
It is very sad that despite the increasing threats of insecurity in the north, there had not been commensurate stakeholder’s response to address or mitigate these challenges. This is further complicated by the lack of security awareness on the side of the citizen. It is thus understandable why the palpable fears remain unabated.
It is even more unfortunate because the media, which ought to step in to bridge the gap by providing information’ remain in the dark relating to the technicality of security vis-avis terrorism, yet all hope is not lost, even when the recent bombing of the UN House in Abuja and the Police Headquarter, Betrayed our lack of preparedness relating to issues of security surveillance and counter terrorism initiatives. All hope is certainly not lost.
Even as the nation’s security agents and agencies brace up to these new challenges, much that will be achieved in terms of control and mitigation may be lost it the factors fueling insecurity, especially in the North are not thoroughly addressed.
There is the need to address the issues of indigene settler syndrome using the constitutional or legal means. There is the need to address other factors or issues such as inciting reaching by preacher, foreign manipulations of religion, corruption and embezzlement of public fund, Bad and biased media, unemployment injustice, electoral manipulation, hunger, poverty. There is need to address educational backwardness and agricultural underdevelopment especially in the North.
The North is indeed a pathetic and pitiable situation today. Almost all the infrastructures have collapsed, and the industries scattered round the region are closing daily, compounding the unemployment situation in the North and with a dire security consequences. Agriculture which had hitherto been the mainstay of the economy of the north have continued to suffer total neglect while rural and poor subsisting former remain the surest source of supply of our food crops, yet leaders from the North remain indifference to these sad scenario.
There is clear evidence that priority have been misplaced regarding the need for the development of the north by its present crops of leadership. Today, it is more attractive to massively invest in political campaign and other meaning lily luxuries and liberties at the expense of the industrialization of the North.
Consequently, millions of youths from the North have no means of survival, and where they have one, there are evidence of under employment and frustration you can only appreciate such expression when you realized the pains in the heart of an over four years accountant graduates who was forced to the “Achaba” business, after many years of joblessness and despair.
The North has a comparatively large population; much of it has not been productively engaged to the benefit of the region. The unemployed youths and the Almajiri constitute a potential tweet factor, because their capacity for development have not been harnessed and may never be so these army of the youths provides the ready army to stoke the fires of violence in any part of the North.
Concerted efforts needs to be put in place to address the issue of Almajiri, to ensure the due reform of the phenomenon, to make sure they had Formal Western education, to enhance their job values after graduation from the Islamic and western education.
The porous borders in the North need to be effectively monitored. The influx of aliens from the neighbouring countries no doubt had contributed to the challenges of security and peace on the North.
There is an urgent need to work to promote peace in northern Nigeria. The various leaderships in the North have much to do towards peace in the region as a prelude; there is the need for the governors to convent a peace summit or conference where all issues challenging the peace and unity of the North will be addressed.
Although there had been attempts to address peace in the North in the past years when the Northern peace conference was organized in Kaduna, the present deplorable status of the peace in the region is indicative of the fact that the recommendation of the conference had not been implemented.
There is a craving for a new orientation in the North today. A drive towards entrepreneurship as a prelude to its reindustrialization is the answer. For peace to reign in the north, new industries must be established to starve off increasing level of unemployment and hopelessness.
The leadership of the North must ensure the revitalization of the educational and agricultural sector of the zone to ensure youth empowerment and restore hope.
On several occasions, the governors in the North have restated their determination to promote peace through regulation of preaching by the scholar, this may also contribute to peace as it will lessen conflicts arising from inter sect conflicts and confrontation.
The place and role of the security agents and agencies in the promotion of peace in the Northern Nigeria cannot be over emphasized the security agencies need to be trained and empowered to be responsive to the new security challenges in the region. The need to do more surveillance and intelligence gathering in north cannot be overemphasized. Nothern leaders need to promote collaboration between the respective security agencies, particularly as regards intelligence.
The implementation of the reports on the presidential committee on police reforms needs to be urgently implemented.
Since the traditional institutions are highly revered in this part of the country, the policy makers can taxed such influence towards promoting peace in the North. They can work hand in hand to help check the influxes of illegal alien into their community, or to quickly report any breach of peace to the security agents or agencies.
The religious leaders equally welld much influence as the traditional rulers. They can help to promote peace through their preaching and positive influences on most of the stakeholder that has influence on the youths in the society. They have moral responsibility to preach peace and unity among their adherents. The north need peace now more than ever. Investors have labeled the zone as no go area on the account of the numerous conflicts that continue to erupt in the zone. North is in need of leaders who can galvanize the people for renewed efforts to entrench peace in the North.
The civil society has a critical role to play towards ensuring peace in the North. Everyone has a role to play towards making sure that peace is no more compromised in the North.
We need not apportioned blames to anybody at the moment. What we need do is to proffer and implement every outcome that will lead to a lasting peace in the north. This will go a long way in restoring get backs which the region have been grappling with since the demise of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
By MADIBA LAPINNI