Communiqué issued at the end of a Training/Workshop organised by the JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, (JODER) with the support of the FORD FOUNDATION on Promoting Peace, Democracy and Stability in Nigeria through the Media, Socio-Cultural institutions and Youth Driven Community-Based Groups after the one-day event held at Bridge Waters Hotel, Garden Avenue, Enugu on July 4, 2016
Participants drawn from socio-cultural groups, the media and professional organisations covering the entire South East of Nigeria in Enugu on July 04, 2016.
Observations and deliberations by participants
- Delegates expressed delight at any people-driven peace-building mechanism necessary for the upliftment of the people from their state of fear and despair.
- That Nigeria is a potentially great country. The country needs peace and understanding for her to be able to overcome the incessant forms of conflict that have been the source of the country’s underdevelopment.
- Participants regret that since Nigeria’s independence, conflict and instability have been some of the major obstacles to national rebirth.
- That Nigeria faces challenges of corruption, poverty, human rights abuse, violent crimes all of which undermine the prospect for peace and development.
- That these crises unfortunately were partly responsible for the avoidable civil war (1967-1970) which led to the loss of millions of human lives.
- That since Nigeria emerged as a country, ethnic suspicion, violence and social disequilibrium have been recurrent dots on the country’s landscape.
- Despite the various democratic experiences of the country, the sources of conflict which threaten stability and co-existence remain largely unchallenged.
- That democracy remains the best option for the people in meeting their aspirations.
- That election in Nigeria has always been associated with post-election violence, which in the past had bred unspeakable retrogression in the country.
- That the training has brought hope and has improved the skill and understanding of the participants in dealing with challenge of conflict and peace building.
- That conflict is a natural element in human existence and that conflicts are man-made and could be resolved by mankind out of freewill and good choice.
- That participants are concerned about the state of the nation and the emergence of several pro-ethnic groups some of whose activities continue to generate deep concern among Nigerians.
- Participants are concerned about the current violent dimension that the engagements of the authorities have taken and call for peaceful resolution of all forms of disagreements.
- Concerned that irrespective of the state of affairs in the country, the people on their own can drive a genuine peace process;
- That participants are concerned about the spate of violence in the form of herdsmen attacks, the killings in NIMBO, the massacre of innocent unarmed demonstrators in the South East and call for restrain on the side of all stakeholders.
- Realizing that no country can develop in the presence of conflict, constant friction, religious and ethnic bigotry,
the delegates hereby resolve as follows:
- That the various sources of conflict in Nigeria can be prevented between contending parties irrespective of its nature and form.
- That peace and stability are necessary for livelihood and A crisis- free ethnic relationship in Nigeria.
- That participants will work towards building a new bridge of understanding for peace among Nigeria’s social and cultural formations.
- Participants will create and nurture a new, lasting bridge of mutual respect between the people of the South East and their counterparts in the South west and other parts of the country.
- Participants agree to establish a new network of the people in the South West and South East for the peace and well-being of the indigenous peoples in these territories.
- Participants commit themselves to peaceful resolution of any and all forms of conflict for the wellbeing of the people. The delegates also call for an end to all forms of violence either perpetrated by groups, individuals or by the state.
- Participants strongly condemn the killings in NIMBO, the violence unleashed on a peaceful and innocent community.
- That the relevant authorities should have respect for local and international legal instruments that promote the rights of indigenous people and should employ legal and constitutional means in resolving lingering forms of conflict confronting in the South East region.
- That the perpetrators of violence in NIMBO and other parts of the South East must be brought to face the full weight of the law.
- That all those arrested during the recent protests in the Eastern part of the country should either be released or be charged to court with due process being employed in their trial according to the constitution and other relevant international laws and standards.
|Chief A.E. Okobi,
Hon. Mrs Vero Udeh
Amechi Echukwu Chief