The Foundation for Peace and Non-Violence in Nigeria (FOFPEN) has advocated for dialogue as a means to end the menace of banditry in the North Western part of the country.
The President of FOFPEN, Mr Onengiya Erekosima, made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting, titled “The armed herdsmen debacle: Peace and reconciliation- an alternative solution,” on Monday in Kaduna.
The meeting also had in attendance stakeholders from the Northern Youth for Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, Sultan Bello Mosque Foundation, and a renowned Muslim cleric, Sheik Abubakar Gumi.
Speaking at the event, Erekosima expressed concern that the insecurity and terrorism situation in the country had left many people dead, including military and civilians.
He said the emergence of banditry, abduction of students, raid on villages and killings, maiming and kidnapping of citizens had worsened the security situation in the country.
“The issue of the lingering armed herdsmen crisis with communities and other emerging threats is clear indication that the Government has been overwhelmed by the situation.
“This is even as the Nigerian military has been overstretched to a breaking point in containing all these insecurity issues.”
He said Military confrontation alone would not resolve the crisis, saying “if we count our loses, we would know that something is wrong with our approach and there is the need to change our approach”.
“We of the Foundation for Peace and Non-Violence in Nigeria, believe that the solution to the present insecurity requires dialogue, understanding and civil approach.
“It is in this wise that we support every voice calling for the use of dialogue to resolve the present insecurity challenges,” he said.
The president commended Sheik Abubakar Gumi for his persistent call on the use of dialogue rather than military confrontation in handling the present situation of banditry in the country.
“Our proposal, if implemented, will not only contain violence but ensure peace, job creation and stimulate the economy as Nigeria will be seen as one of the safest countries on earth.
“The Foundation for Peace and Non-Violence in Nigeria, in addition to dialogue, is asking for the mopping up of small arms in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
“Wisdom is requisite in handling delicate matters and Nigeria’s situation is no exception,” Erekosima said.
Earlier, the convener, Gumi, said the essence of the stakeholders meeting was to seek possible ways to end the insecurity posed by emerging trends in the country.
According to him, dialogue and listening to the plights of the bandits will be a lasting solution to the menace and better the economy of Nigeria as a whole. (NAN)