The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has appealed to leaders in Nigeria to take deliberate steps at de-escalating the rising tension and promote peace and tolerance among the citizens, noting that “If we allow Nigeria to burn, it will consume all of us”.
The call by the Director-general of the agency, Dr Garba Abari comes amidst rising tensions and as the West African country continues to battle growing insecurity and a spike in violent crimes.
Paul Odenyi, an assistant director in the agency in a statement on Thursday quoted Mr Abari as calling leaders across political, religious, traditional, professional and the social landscape to do all within their powers to arrest the situation from further deterioration.
“As the nation battles insecurity and a spike in violent crimes in many parts of the country, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is appealing to leaders across the entire national spectrum to take deliberate measures and speak out to de-escalate the rising tension, build confidence in the system, promote and preach peace, justice, unity and tolerance among the citizens,” the statement read.
He continued: “At these very challenging times, all the nation and its citizens need are deeper reflection and sobriety in what we do and say, as truly, the forces of disunity and national disintegration are at work. Community, political, religious and economic leaders of the country should urgently build consensus on the need to rescue Nigeria from the grips of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, secessionism and violent cultism to avoid a slide into anarchy.”
He noted that some social and orthodox media platforms have been used to fan the embers of violence that now envelope the country and urged leaders to desist from all forms of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric, noting that “If we allow Nigeria to burn, it will consume all of us”.
He said the NOA is concerned about the spate of violent attacks and killings of both security agents and innocent citizens and destruction of public and private infrastructure across the country by violent groups, saying this is the time to partner with the government to bring about peace and stability.
Abari added that the activities of insurgents, bandits, hoodlums and ethnic militia in parts of the country ultimately hurt everyone in every part of the country. He, therefore, stressed the need for urgent and concerted peacebuilding measures that look beyond parochial benefits and prioritize national interest.
“Every person of influence in Nigeria should, at this time, work towards dissuading violence and galvanizing all persons within their sphere of influence for the peace of the country. he said.
By Abel Ejikeme