Stakeholders have identified absence of justice and equity as major causes of the persistent ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
They made the assertion at a town hall meeting to celebrate the 2021 World Dialogue Day, also known as ‘World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development’, with the theme ‘National Integration and the Imperative of Dialogue
The meeting was organised by an NGO the ‘Network and Advocacy Group of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation’ in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation aimed at advocating for justice and equity, as well as promoting conflict management, peace and national integration.
They identified the absence of justice and equity in the present political dispensation, and the widespread sense of exclusion, among the factors fuelling the ongoing ethno-religious tension in the country.
Fr George Ehsani, the Executive Director, Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, said the importance of dialogue for Nigerians cannot be overemphasized.
“It provides an opportunity for citizens to deepen their understanding of the importance of dialogue as an ongoing engagement in a culturally, religiously and politically diverse society such as our own, and at such a crisis moment as we are presently going through,” he said.
Ehsani also said that there was the need to listen to each other and to genuinely seek to understand each other’s feelings and perspectives.
He added that where there were serious differences of opinion, to respect the right of the other person or group to express such opinions would go a long way in resolving differences.
Other panelists at the meeting include Dr. Goke Adegoroye, Uju Obuekwe and Hauwa Abbas in their separate contributions, expressed serious concern over the manner in which Nigeria was divided, adding that it’s a sign of the country descending into anarchy.
They expressed the view that diversities can be better managed for the benefit of all, rather than being seen as the cause of so much tension, division and violence in the land.
They called on the government to quickly change its present grandstanding posture and listen to the complaints about the demands of the people.
The stakeholders further called on all Nigerians to always choose the path of dialogue when misunderstanding arises, so as to avoid violent escalation of such misunderstandings.
They emphasised the critical role the religious, traditional and community leaders can and should always play in the enormous task of promoting peaceful coexistence and national integration.