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Dialogue with IPOB, Yoruba nation agitators, others, IHRC tells FG

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
22 September 2022   |   10:30 am
The International Human Right Commission, IHRC, has urged the federal government to engage Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Yoruba nation agitators and bandits in dialogue for peace to reign in the country.

(FILES) Supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) (Photo by STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP)

The International Human Right Commission, IHRC, has urged the federal government to engage Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Yoruba nation agitators and bandits in dialogue for peace to reign in the country.

The organisation attributed kidnapping, banditry and killings, among other forms of insecurity in the country to bad economy, which, it said, called for serious concern.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on the occasion of 2022 International Peace Day observed every September 21, Ambassador at Large and Head of Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria, Dr Duru Hezekiah, observed that acts of violence and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, religion are increasingly alarming globally and present a risk to humanity.

According to him, the government must tackle the root causes of insecurity in the country by addressing other sociological factors like poverty, unemployment and lack of adequate education.

He said: “This platform is an avenue that would enable us to dialogue with the government. We need to understand why people are carrying arms, and it is because the economy is bad. Our youth must drop their guns and come for dialogue. We, at the organisation, don’t believe in protest or crisis. We believe in negotiations and dialogue. So our youths, whether from the north, east or west, must dialogue to find solutions to the insecurity. Most of the people who do these killings are not educated and have no jobs.

“The insecurity issue in Nigeria is like talking about sickness, we need to get to the root of that sickness. There is a root cause of this banditry. What do they really want? What is their motive? The truth is motives differ. If you come to the southeast, we have the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and we know what they want even though what we think they want is beyond what we are seeing now. In the southeast, there is no business on Monday but yet people don’t go to work on Monday. That means there is something fundamental that we need to know.

“I believe that my coming on board as diplomatic head of IHRC will give us an avenue and ample opportunity to reach out to those carrying guns to see how they can drop their guns. Lets us reason together and engage the government. we can even form the east. By the time we get it right, our people will come back and invest. With this platform we have today, Nigeria is going to be a better place.

Hezekiah also expressed concern over the exodus of Nigerian youths to oversee countries, stating that a state of emergency needs to be declared to tackle the menace.

“Racism is everywhere, most especially we Africans and Nigerians. The rate of racism against Africans and Nigerians calls for urgent attention. In fact, there should be a state of emergency.

“A lot of Nigerians are migrating to the west and other parts of the world due to bad economy and insecurity. When our people leave the country to find greener pastures elsewhere, the people in the host countries would start treating us as beggars. Youths are moving because the economy is bad. There is a need for us to come together and develop our country. When those who abroad see an improvement in economy and security, they would surely come back”, he stated.

Earlier in his presentation, the Head of IHRC African Diplomatic Missions, Dr Friday Sanni, linked the recent attack on prisons across the country to congestion.

He stressed the need for Nigeria’s justice system to embrace non-custodial measures which include suspended sentences, community service, and fines, among others.

“The non-custodial sentencing introduced by the former Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Ishaq Bello, is no longer being respected that is why the prison that has facilities for 50 inmates is now accommodating 500 people. This is also why our prisons have become vulnerable to attacks. If we have a justice system that is proactive, all the violence in the country shall become history”, Sanni stated.

He added that the organisation would be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties to ensure that the 2023 elections are conducted in a peaceful environment.

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