Okorocha, Ikpeazu pledges peaceful co-existence, non-violence in S/East
Govs Rochas Okorocha, Okezie Ikpeazu of Imo and Abia, on Monday pledged to ensure peaceful co-existence and non-violence in the South-East geo-political zone.
The governors spoke in Owerri at a workshop on: “Conflict Prevention, Peaceful Co-existence, Tolerance and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the South-East”.
Okorocha explained that the efforts of the state government to ensure peaceful co-existence in the state necessitated his creation of the Imo State Peace Advocate Corps.
Represented by his Special Adviser and Director-General of the Corps, Mr Peter Ohagwa, Okorocha said herdsmen/host communities conflicts were among the greatest threats to peaceful co-existence in the state.
The governor, however, said the state was carrying out sensitisation between livestock farmers and their host communities on the need for tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
He said he had directed the corps to conduct aggressive campaign on tolerance between the cattle rearers and the host communities in all the nooks and crannies of Imo.
“It is high time we started the sensitisation to prevent whatever may occur during the movement of cattle rearers.
“We will kick-off this community sensitisation programme on Thursday in all the three zones in the state – Okigwe, Owerri and Orlu zones.
“Each of the zones has a Zonal Commander and about 300 Peace Corps members in each of the zones who can detect threats in the various autonomous communities.”
The governor also regretted the recent activities of the Niger Delta Avengers on oil facilities in the state, saying that efforts were being made to halt the incident.
He tasked the traditional rulers as the custodians of peace, culture and tradition, to ensure peaceful co-existence and non-violence in their domains.
Declaring the workshop open, Ikpeazu said that his administration was desirous and committed to the principles of peaceful co-existence, tolerance and alternative dispute resolution in the zone and beyond.
“The Multi-Door Court Law, which became operational in the state in 2014, is part of the commitments and instruments for alternative dispute resolution,” he said.
Ikpeazu, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Ude Chukwu, recalled that prior to 1967 and 1976, the states in the zone co-existed as Eastern Region and East Central State, respectively.
“We must as brothers endeavour at all times to avoid murderous competitions but explore modest ways of addressing our common agitations and necessities through a diversity of peaceful methods.
“The challenge before us is to strive to evolve a just arrangement for peaceful co-existence and integrated development of our communities and people in the South-East zone.
“The principle of tolerance, conflict resolution, peaceful co-existence and solidarity reminds us that we have responsibility for the welfare and rights of others,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was attended by first class traditional rulers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.