From Abdullahi Alhassan, Kaduna
Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna state has said that he is deeply worried by the ethnic and religious divisions in the state.
He stated this at a one-day reflection meeting on strategies for achieving sustainable peace and social harmony in Kaduna state organized by Kaduna Peace Commission, (KSPC), and the UNDP held in Kaduna.
According to Governor Sani, he said managing a state where emotions run high at the slightest provocation or perception of injustice; stressing that the state is a captive of its past. A past marked by incessant conflicts, bloodletting, hate and distrust.
Senator Sani further explained that Kaduna State has had its fair share of ethnic and religious conflicts. “Although the intensity of ethnic and religious conflicts have drastically reduced, fear of escalation due to tussles of land remains strong.
“Apart from ethnic and religious tensions, we now face the destabilizing activities of bandits, terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminal elements. We have, however taken the battle to them.
“The State Government has been working closely with Federal Security agencies to degrade these criminal elements and make our communities safe for living and business to strive.
“Our administration shall intensify and broaden efforts at ensuring the security and safety of lives and property in the State.”We will deploy modern systems as well as community-based protocols to prevent and detect crime. We shall prioritize the maintenance of law and order as the bedrock of societal co-existence.
“We are determined to break the cycle of impunity. All those who want to test the will of government would have themselves to blame. If you break the law, be ready to face the consequences,” Gov Sani assured.
In his address the Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Nuhu Bamali, commended Governor Uba Sani for using KSPC to enhance peaceful coexistence in the state.
He said in resolving any challenges on conflict, there is need for dialogue and roundtable discussion in order to achieve the main objective of peace in the communities and the nation at large.
The Royal Father urged Kaduna citizens to embrace peaceful coexistence among themselves irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman of (KSPC,)Dr, Saleh Momale, said Kaduna is confronted with so many issues affecting peace and stability, including contestations over scarce resources, negative exploitation of ethnic and religious differences resulting in periodic ethno-religious upheavals, circulation of fake news and hate speech as well insecurity associated with violent crimes.
According to him, the Early Warning Early Response (EWER) system set up in the Commission with support from the UNDP and other CSOs has helped in identifying threats to peace.”Happily today, many of the conflict prone areas are no longer witnessing violence, even as efforts are ongoing to build social harmony that will ensure enduring peace and stability in all parts of the state,” he noted.
Dr, Momale however explained that a key challenge facing the State is the nefarious activities of criminal gangs who are orchestrating varying degrees of violence against citizens.
He called on the Federal and State Governments to devote sufficient financial resources, technology and human capital to bring these activities to an end.”In this pursuit, the security agencies can leverage on the expertise of the Commission in mobilizing citizens in the ongoing efforts towards ending the menace of violent crimes,” he said.
Speaking on the strategic plan for peaceful and harmonious relations, the KSPC Executive Vice Chairman said it will serve as the guiding document taking into cognisance the diversity of the state which the long term goals to be achieved include; functional institutions with capacity to effectively mitigate and resolve conflicts.
Others are; timely reportage and coordinated response to threats of violent and non-violent conflicts as well as amicable mediation and resolution of conflicts leading to harmonious coexistence and appreciation of diversity.
The Executive vice chairman added that one key focus of the strategic plan will be to mobilize for action parents, teachers, Youths, religious leaders of all faiths, traditional leaders, political leaders and government functionaries to imbibe and inculcate the values of respect for diversity, accommodation of differences in culture, faith and socio-economic pursuit, adherence to law and order and upholding the sanctity and dignity of human life in the minds of the young and old.